Nevada Department of Veterans Services Newsletter October 2017 
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A Special Message from NDVS Director Katherine N. Miller

Suicide Prevention has long been a concern for Nevada's veteran community and for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). However, even with all the efforts made over the past five years, Nevada’s veteran suicide rate remains higher than the national veteran suicide rate. A recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report revealed 127 veterans in Nevada died by suicide in 2014. More here: http://fxn.ws/2jPlink   

During the lead-up to this year's Legislative session, veterans across Nevada rated the action to prevent veteran suicide as their #1 priority. Consequently, legislation was passed that mandates suicide prevention/awareness training for those who most commonly might come in contact with at-risk veterans (medical professionals, first responders, veteran service officers, etc.) 

While policy is an important part of addressing this issue, policy alone cannot prevent suicide. As a recent signatory to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pledge reaffirming our department's commitment to preventing veteran suicide, NDVS will continue to work with the VA and other partners to end the tragedy of veteran suicide. 

Chuck N. Baker
(Statewide) - Nationally, statewide and locally veteran communities continue sounding the alarm; the veteran suicide rate remains a significant problem. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs reveals the western United States, particularly the rural areas, have the highest rates of suicide in the nation. What's more, the latest VA data from September continues to show Nevada, along with New Mexico, Utah and Montana, leading the west with this dubious distinction.

They are many players, including the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) (See above article) working to stem the tide. The information provided can be used as a resource and there are ways for you to get involved in efforts to reverse this trend.

On the national level, The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) has a Suicide Prevention Team headed by Program Officer Charles Eggleston. In a recent issue of the organization’s magazine, Eggleston reports “The math is staggering…22 veteran suicides a day, 8,030 veterans killing themselves per year (with only 22 States reporting).” In fact, he writes no one knows the actual number.

By Terri Hendry
(Carson City, NV) – Lawmakers serving in Nevada's 78th Legislative Session passed a new law requiring the Director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) to annually prepare a report providing analysis of the funding of programs and services for Nevada's veterans. This report includes:
-The amounts and sources of money received by NDVS for the provision of programs and services for veterans in Nevada;
-A comprehensive overview of the NDVS budget;
-The expenditures made from the Gift Account for the Veterans Home in Northern
Nevada and the Gift Account for veterans established.
(Pursuant to NRS 417.145 and NRS 417.115)
 
By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) – The Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) is pleased to announce the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is extending its approval of a Transportation Grant designed to be used in highly rural areas. This marks the fourth year in a row NDVS has applied for and received this grant approval.  

By Terri Hendry
(Statewide) – The Nevada Department of Veterans Services is now reaching out to veterans with unique needs and challenges. Included in this group are Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces but may have received a less-than-honorable discharge due to their sexual orientation.

By Terri Hendry
(Reno & Fernley, NV) –The remains of 27 veterans finally received the military burial and honor they were promised through their service in the U.S. Armed Forces. The remains of many of these veterans had been sitting on a mortuary shelf, unclaimed since the 1980's. The veterans were brought home by volunteers with the Northern Nevada Veterans Coalition working through the "Missing in America Project."

"We did not know you, but you are one of us. We remember," said NVDS Director Kat Miller as she told the crowd who had gathered at the Nevada State Veterans Memorial Cemetery for the September 22nd ceremony.

By Bobi Oates
(Boulder City, NV) – It's taken nearly two years but this memorial has been finally installed at the location we fought so hard to get. Now, a dedication ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 1000 hours (10:00 a.m.) at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

We would be honored if you would join us for this special occasion. The dedication ceremony will begin inside the chapel at Veterans Memorial Cemetery. It will then move outside to conclude with Military Honors and the unveiling of the memorial itself.

Chuck N. Baker
(Las Vegas & Reno) - September 15th marked a significant anniversary. It is the national day set aside to remember and honor those who fought for our country but are still... not home.

The National League of POW/MIA Families is among the groups dedicated and committed to finding these soldiers, or their remains, and bringing them back to their loved ones.
The National League of POW/MIA Families is located in Falls Church, Virginia. It has one goal; to obtain the fullest possible accounting for those still missing, and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died while serving during the Vietnam War. The group works with another lesser-known organization, this one an arm of the federal government — the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Its' mission is also to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing American personnel from all past conflicts to families and the nation.

By Josh Loftis
(Carson City, NV) - This month (September, 2017) The Veterans Services Commission elected Scott Wesley Wilcox for Veteran of the Month, and the UNR Veterans Alumni Chapter for Veteran Supporter of the Month. 

Both were honored in a ceremony, September 25, 2017, at the Governor’s Mansion. 
Among those in attendance were; Governor Brian Sandoval, Katherine Miller – Director, Nevada Department of Veterans Services, and numerous representatives from our congressional leadership. 

By Terri Hendry
(Boulder City, NV) – The Nevada State Veterans Home (NSVH) is again being recognized for providing quality care. This week NSVH received the HealthInsight Quality Award marking a fifth year in a row the Veterans Home has receive this recognition from the non-profit, community-based health care collaborative, HealthInsight.

According to HealthInsight, only five Nevada nursing homes received the award this year. It recognizes nursing homes for excelling in a number of quality care measures. In order to meet the criteria for the Quality Award, a nursing home has to rank in the top 25 percent of performers in the nation, based on MDS 3.0 Quality Measures from Nursing Home Compare, a facility must have a three or above star rating from CMS. The NSVH maintains a five star rating, the highest rating possible. Additionally, a facility must demonstrate a successfully implemented quality improvement program in their facilities.

Chuck N. Baker
(Boulder City) - The Homestead Assisted Living facility in Boulder City is one of many skilled care facilities getting a special visit from the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). Key members of staff were there to recognize, honor and remember residents for service to their country.

Wendy Simons, NDVS Deputy Director of Health and Wellness, explained the visit is a program, "Veterans in Care," also called "VIC." She said, “It’s an initiative developed last year to conduct veteran outreach to skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities all across the state,” adding, “We connect these veterans to benefits, but we also feel it’s important to recognize and honor those we know as ‘hidden heroes."

By Terri Hendry
(North Las Vegas, NV) - The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System wants to provide veterans with consistent and accurate information so they get the best care possible. Beginning in October, the VA will begin hosting a veterans' "Orientation Class" twice a month at the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas. The events are to ensure you're better informed and educated about local VA services.

By Terri Hendry
(Statewide) – The National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI) is offering a free, 6-session program for family, friends and significant others of military service members and veterans. The class helps families understand what the service member or veteran is experiencing related to trauma, combat stress, civilian life transition, PTSD and other mental health conditions. 

By Terri Hendry
(Carson City, Nevada) - The announcement in Carson Now reads; "Attention family members of any disabled American Veteran in the Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville, Dayton, Topaz, Lake Tahoe, Yerington or anywhere south of Washoe Valley; We are starting an Auxiliary for DAV Chapter 7 in Carson City." Read the article here: http://bit.ly/2jIgPmk

By John Dickenson, VVA Chapter 989, Chair, Board of Directors
(Reno, NV) – The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 989 needs your help. The VVA has kicked off its 2017 Nevada Veteran Scholarships Fund Drive! The money raised will go towards college scholarships to veterans returning to college.

In the past 4 years, we have provided 21 scholarships totaling more than $21,000 to UNR (University of Nevada, Reno), TMCC (Truckee Meadows Community College), WNC (Western Nevada College, Carson City), and SNC (Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village).

By Terri Hendry
(Reno, Nevada) – The Veterans Guest House celebrated its expansion with a ground breaking ceremony on September 7, 2017. The non-profit provides military service members, veterans and their families with temporary overnight accommodations while receiving treatment at a medical facility, including the VA in the Reno/Sparks area.

The expansion will allow the Veterans Guest House to nearly double its size from its current 17 beds to 33 beds.

By Cathy Yates and Matt Taylor, NDVS Outreach Team
(Statewide) - NDVS is ramping up outreach to veterans to let them know our team is a resource and is here to help veterans and their family connect to benefits earned. The Outreach Team is attending new community events all across the state, including ones aimed at connecting to unique veteran populations, such as LGBTQ, Native American and women veterans.

NDVS is also utilizing its certified Nevada Veterans Advocates (NVA's) in these outreach efforts by encouraging and allowing NVA's to attend events and community activities with our team. If you would like to become an NVA click the link to join us for a FREE training workshop on October 21-22nd at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. http://bit.ly/2wkHNSE Scholarships are available for those who are eligible. This workshop is for northern Nevada residents. Another FREE NVA workshop will be held in Las Vegas in the spring of 2018.

By Robin Mason, Nevada Veterans Advocate Coordinator
(Reno, NV) - The Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) will be conducting a "FREE" Nevada Veterans Advocacy (NVA) and Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Workshop.

It will be held on October 21 and 22, 2017 at Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) in Reno, inside the Nevada Rooms on the Lower Level. A free continental breakfast and afternoon snacks will be offered each day.

The workshop is focused on training, introduction and updating NVAs & VSOs with information on veteran's benefits such as Aid & Attendance, Pensions, Debt Waivers, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and more! It will set you on your path towards becoming a certified NVA! The training consists of 10, one-hour classes over the two (2) day period.

For more information on the NVA & VSO Workshop : www.veterans.nv.gov  or contact the NVA Program Coordinator at 775-321-4708.
 
Lodging
Rooms can be reserved at The Grand Sierra Resort & Casino at 1-800-501-2651 | 775-789-2000.
 
Event Scholarships
NDVS will be offering 10 Scholarships to the conference if you meet the following criteria:
·         Must  reside 75 miles outside the Reno/Sparks area;
·         Must  be registered as a NVA Student on NVeLearn;
·        Scholarship  will only  cover mileage or travel and room. Meals  will not  be provided on the scholarship.

We are also encouraging participants from northern Nevada as there will be another FREE NVA workshop in Las Vegas in the spring of 2018

Contact the NVA Coordinator for applying for the scholarship consideration at  nvacoord@veterans.nv.gov
By Terri Hendry
(Elko, NV) – Mark your calendar and then watch this space! Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11 this year. NDVS wants to be a resource for you so you know what activities and events are planned for Veterans Day.

Here's what we have so far.
I
n Las Vegas, the Veterans Action Group is organizing for the big parade. It starts at 4 th and Gass Streets and ends at 4 th and Ogden South. It's sponsored by the VFW Post 1753 and the City of Las Vegas. Exhibits and entertainment are planned after the parade at the Fremont Street Experience.
The event begins at 10:00 a.m. with staging starting much earlier at 7:00 a.m.

Click below for more information and to register or participate in the parade.

The City of Reno is also host to a Veterans Day parade. It starts at 6 th Street and heads south on Virginia Street. The City of Reno sponsors it. It starts at 11:11 a.m. rain or shine! This year's parade will be a countdown to mark Reno's 150th birthday on May 9, 2018. Click below for updates and additional information: http://www.reno.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/20813/

Also in Reno, the Veterans Guest House will honor the occasion with day-long events. At 9:00 a.m. there will be an Orange Balloon Release in honor of those who have or are dealing with Agent Orange health related issues. The non-profit will participate in the Reno's Veterans Day Parade from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The Veterans Guest House will also host an Open House from Noon until 4:00 p.m. 

In Virginia City, a Veterans’ Day Parade is planned along the main street from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.    

The City of Elko is another rural Nevada community that honors Veterans Day every year in a big way. Organizing is underway for the 12 th Annual Elko County Veterans Day Parade. In years past, the parade has been led by distinguished grand marshals, Elko dignitaries as well as Elko County veterans, law enforcement and others.


The parade is held in downtown Elko. The event includes a special recognition to those no longer with us. It also includes a flag-folding ceremony with a special wreath being placed on the City's war memorial.

In Pahrump there will be a Veterans Day event at the Veterans' Memorial from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

In Henderson, the Veterans Day planning is underway. Last year, there was a tremendous turnout for events held in the Amphitheater, adjacent to the Henderson Veterans Memorial wall at City Hall. They expect a big crowd again this year.

In Mesquite, a Veterans Memorial Service will be held from 7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at Veterans' Park. Later in the day, the Mesquite Veterans' Day Parade runs from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. along Mesquite Blvd.

In Moapa Valley, there is a Veterans' Day Picnic in Overton Park from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Nevada's Native Americans will be hosting two Powwows. The 26 th Annual Southern Paiute Veterans Powwow will be held November 4-5 near the Moapa Travel Plaza at the Moapa River Paiute Indian Reservation on I-15, Exit 75, Valley of Fire. The second powwow is the Veterans Day Powwow on the Duck Valley Reservation in Owyhee on November 10-11.

Again, if you know of a Veterans Day event, share it with us so we can help spread the word. Just email hendryt@veterans.nv.gov or call 775-771-2800 with date, time, location and contact information on a Veterans Day event the public would be invited to share. 
If you’re a Gulf War veteran or have a loved one who served in that conflict, you're eligible for a FREE commemorative gift, thanks to “Remember My Service Productions.”

The organization is providing FREE coffee table books, “25th Anniversary, The Liberation of Kuwait.” The books are beautifully produced with stunning photography. They are valued at $49.99 but will be provided FREE by calling 1-775-525-4674 or by emailing  hendryt@veterans.nv.gov to make arrangements to pick up your copy. 

The  Liberation of Kuwait  is a landmark first-edition book published in 2016 by “Remember My Service Productions.” This historical commemorative was created on behalf of the Nation of Kuwait to honor those veterans serving during Operation Desert Storm.
By Terri Hendry
The State of Nevada offers a very unique way for you to show the world you're a veteran, proud of your country and your duty. At the same time, your display will also be helping other veterans across the Silver State. Veteran license plates are available through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and with each purchase, the money goes towards veterans outreach programs all aimed at connecting veterans to benefits, services and programs to which they are entitled and have earned.

Any veteran, his or her spouse, parent or child can purchase a veteran license plate. The initial cost for veterans plates with a standard number is $61 plus a Prison Industry fee of 50 cents per plate. The annual renewal fee is $30. The initial cost for personalized versions is $97 plus a Prison Industry fee of 50 cents per plate. The annual renewal is $50. Twenty-five dollars of the initial fee and $20 of the annual renewal are used to support outreach programs and services for veterans and their families administered by Nevada Department of Veterans Services. 

Plates with standard numbers are in stock at DMV Full Service Offices. You can order personalized versions by mail, fax, or in person at a DMV Full Service Office too. There are Veteran Unit Decal Plates available as well. The DMV is authorized to offer veterans plates with extra space for unit logos. Army Airborne and Navy Seabees are available. So are Air Force and Army logos on National Guard Plates.

Motorcycle plates for Army Airborne and Navy Seabees are available! Unfortunately, they are not kept in stock so you will have to custom-order yours.  

Visit the Nevada DMV by clicking her e:  http://dmvnv.com/platesveterans.htm
The Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance @EASE program is hosting free, collaborative workshops with Nevada Legal Services dedicated to drafting wills and powers of attorney for Nevada veterans. The @EASE program is the nation’s first attorney general-led, public-private partnership offering our military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. The @EASE program has won the Department of Defense Best Practices Award for best legislation and statewide pro bono services. 

Workshops will take place at least once per month throughout the State of Nevada. The workshops are free and open to all Nevada veterans and immediate family members. Representatives from the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, U.S. Veteran Affairs and other veteran organizations regularly attend to answer and address veteran questions concerning disability, pensions, employment and many other areas. For more information on upcoming workshops, please email Hcooney@ag.nv.gov and visit nvagomla.nv.gov. 
By Ryan McDonald, Outreach Coordinator AG's Office
(Carson City, NV) – We wanted to welcome all veterans to utilize the Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA) in providing pro bono (free) legal assistance and representation to active duty, reserve and National Guard service members in a wide area of civil law matters. 

The OMLA is a comprehensive, statewide program combining the joint efforts of legal aid organizations, private sponsors and the State Bar of Nevada to address the need for affordable legal representation in our military communities.

The OMLA also currently provides assistance to veterans with wills and powers of attorney. In many cases, the OMLA services can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. 

In order to receive legal assistance from this program, active military and reserve service members should seek referral from their respective Judge Advocate General.

Veterans should seek referral from their respective Veterans Services Office.

By Terri Hendry
(Las Vegas, NV) – The unemployment numbers in Nevada remain low and steady. In fact, according to the July 2017 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they're now showing the Silver State with a slight 2.7 percent increase in non-farming payroll. While those numbers seem encouraging, tell that to someone who is still struggling to find a good paying job.

The numbers don't always tell the complete picture. Depending on their skill set, landing that good paying job can be a challenge, particularly for military members transitioning from service to civilian. That's in part what the Patriot Employer Program seeks to address.

NDVS Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are available to assist any veteran, family member of a veteran, or Nevada resident on active duty. 
NDVS offers free assistance with filing claims for service-connected disabilities, non-service-connected pension, and other benefits afforded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
There are three locations; 

Reno, 775-321-4880; Las Vegas, 702-224-6025; and Elko, 775-777-1000.
Assistance includes aid in the filing of claims, support during the appeals process, representation at local hearings, and guidance with requests for discharge upgrades. To schedule a claims appointment at one of our offices, call the number of the office closest to you.
In addition to in-office appointments, NDVS offers Rural Outreach events in the following areas:

NORTH -- Austin, Gardnerville, Hawthorne, Silver Springs, Battle Mountain, Ely, West Wendover and Winnemucca

SOUTH -- Beatty, Laughlin, Mesquite, Pahrump and Tonopah
For more information on our Rural Outreach, or to schedule an appointment during one of our Rural Outreach events, please call one of the numbers listed above to contact a VSO in your region.
 ROVER DATES
Contact the Veterans Assistance and Support Team (VAST) office closest to you (Listings above) to see when we will be in your area!
Pahrump every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
VAMC Reno every Wednesday and Thursday
We are constantly adding new events to our calendar, in our on-going mission to support the veteran community in Nevada. Click here to check out our VetNet calendar
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