Category Archives: FOV

Instant Replay

I was asked recently if it was hard to keep up with a blog…my answer was no, not if you only write one post a year ūüė¶ ¬†Oh my goodness I’ve been slacking. I’m going to post highlights and a couple newsy pieces from the past year and call it good.

1. Cancun, Mexico

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2. Phase 1 of the RAND study on Military Caregivers was released http://elizabethdolefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/RAND-RR-244-Embargoed-Full-Report.pdf

3. Bike Camp in Colorado

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4. In May 2013, Sean traveled to England with other members of the Blinded Veterans Association as part of Project Gemini for an educational exchange to share knowledge, insights, and friendship with their British comrades. Project Gemini is a joint effort of Blind Veterans UK of London, England, and the BVA. Melissa tagged along and spent the week touring London and Edinburgh, Scotland with her good friend Lou.

http://www.bva.org/news/?p=506

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5. In June Sean became the Commander of VFW Post 17.

6. Horses for Heroes Challenge Aspen C.A.M.O.

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7. Operation Opening Doors home remodel was completed in August.  The main floor is completely handicap-accessible with an enlarged bathroom (including walk-in shower) and new kitchen.

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Governor and Mrs. Daugaard attended our open house

Governor and Mrs. Daugaard attended our open house

8. Melissa attended The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit¬†in DC to watch her dear friend and mentor (and boss) speak about Families on the Frontlines. ¬†Watch it here:¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMvmYGCE2s0

Brannan Vines, Senator Elizabeth Dole, and Melissa

Brannan Vines, Senator Elizabeth Dole, and Melissa

9. Melissa had the opportunity to speak before several groups this year including the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary, SD RehabACTion State Conference, the Sioux Falls VA Family Caregivers Month Event, and a Veterans Day presentation at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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10. Sean went on his annual David Feherty IED pheasant hunt with Sons of Southfork.

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11. Melissa attended the 2013 National Summit at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving with friends and coworkers Steffanie and Brannan.

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12. Sean’s tandem bike *finally* arrived!! ¬†Now if we only had decent weather outside so he could ride.

Medical retirement update: ¬†In January 2013 we were informed that Sean’s records had not yet been received at Ft. McCoy (shipped from Ft. Riley in June 2012). ¬†The records were located in February 2013 and sent to Ft. Carson. ¬†The army required Sean to undergo multiple physical and mental health examinations (because all those he had done previously had expired). ¬†The final evaluation was completed in May 2013. ¬†Records were sent to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) in June. ¬†In December 2013 we received what should be the final stack of paperwork to review and sign. ¬†Fingers crossed he should be medically retired by the end of January! ¬†(Yes, I’m counting my chickens…)


Time Off?

I am more than a little insulted by the comment I’ve heard more than once in the past two months, “Are you enjoying your time off?” ¬†Seriously? ¬†Is that what you think I am doing?

I’m a full-time caregiver. ¬†I resigned my position at school because my husband needed my support at home. ¬† We were fortunate that he could come to work with me and offer his services as a volunteer so that I could keep an eye on him and not leave him home alone. ¬†It was a quick fix, and while he still volunteers when he is able, taking him to work with me was not a long term solution.

Yes, I’m at home. ¬†But guess what? ¬†I am working. ¬†Not only am I providing 24 hour support for my husband, I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Family Of a Vet, an AMAZING non-profit organization that is working tirelessly for veterans and familes. ¬†FOV currently has almost 250 Grassroots Volunteers.¬† Through our website, facebook page, and social media we reach tens of thousands of people each month! ¬†I am on call around the clock to provide support and resources for our members.¬†The past two months have been filled with late FOV nights, and busy days. ¬†Here is a run-down of what I do:

  • advocate for veterans and families
  • locate and provide resources
  • research
  • moderate group rooms online
  • offer ongoing support to our members online and through email and phone calls
  • manage the¬†“virtual” volunteer database
  • coordinate and host the weekly Caregiver’s Edition of our Life After Combat Blog Talk Radio Show
  • coordinate with staff on projects including our blogs, fundraising, website, networking
  • use social media to¬†raise awareness of veterans issues

I may not be working in the conventional sense, but I’m making a difference in the lives of veterans and families. ¬†I am providing the support I wish I’d had six years ago when we started this crazy roller coaster life of uncertainty.

You may think I’m just goofing off, but actually facebook is my office. Family Of a Vet is a non-profit run by veterans and family members who *GET IT* and are trying to reach out to others who are struggling like us to help and offer support and education.

Shared by Family Of a Vet, Inc., a national non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families learn how to cope with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury) and life after combat through real-world, plain language education and resources for heroes, families, and communities.
 
If you know a veteran or loved one that we can help, please encourage them to visit us:
 
On Blog Talk Radio – www.blogtalkradio.com/familyofavet

The Love Letter Campaign

 

Please share and help us tell the Love Stories of heroes and families (like us!) who are building lives together with the visible and invisible injuries of war in their midst!

Today, on Veteran’s Day (and ending on Valentine’s Day),¬†Family of a Vet is¬†launching The Love Letter Campaign… a campaign to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they’ve faced together, and why their love endures). It’s not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It’s about telling the “rest” of our stories… stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat.

Here’s the main page for the campaign: http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html¬†where you can read more about the project and submit your own letter.¬† Please share your story with Family of a Vet and share this post to help us spread the word
My letter to Sean is here Being Loved By You.


Family of a Vet

FamilyOfaVet.com РPTSD, TBI, & Life After Combat 

Promotional Video for FOV.

**CAUTION: This video contains graphic combat-related images. While it is intended to give people some small understanding of what a year in combat is like, the images may be difficult for some Veterans, etc., to view. If you would like to skip the combat images, go to 3:39 **

FamilyOfaVet.com (Family Of a Vet, Inc.) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping heroes and those who love them learn more about coping with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury) and life after combat.

Family Of a Vet was created by veterans and families FOR veterans and families!

To learn more about FamilyOfaVet.com, visit us at:

Our Main Website –
http://www.familyofavet.com

On Facebook –
http://www.facebook.com/lifeaftercombat

On Twitter –
http://www.twitter.com/familyofavet

At our Blog –
http://blog.familyofavet.com

On BlogTalk Radio –
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/familyofavet


Family of a Vet

I have joined the Grassroots Team of Family of a Vet!  This incredible group was started four years ago by the wife of a wounded veteran who was frustrated by the lack of practical information on  TBI, PTSD, and other issues affecting military and veteran families.  The website now has 100s of pages of information and the team is working to distribute information around the nation.
Since I am new to the organization, I can by no means do it justice by my description.  Please check out the links below and take some time to explore all the information.
Earlier this summer I worked on the PTSD and TBI Education packet linked below.  I had the opportunity participate in a mock-up of the new VA Caregiver app being developed for the iPhone and iPad.  I am currently researching topics to write new articles.
The support and friendship at Family of a Vet is amazing!¬† I feel I have a whole new circle of friends who really “get it” and understand where we are in our lives because they have been there.
FamilyOfaVet.com
FamilyOfaVet.com

Awesome handout explaining TBI and PTSD and background on FOV

Free Packets available from Family of a Vet:

Ready-to-use PTSD and TBI information for FRGs

Ready-to-use packet: Combat PTSD and the Legal System

Ready-to-use PTSD and TBI Education Packet for Parents and Teachers