Nevada Department of Veterans Services Newsletter January  2017 
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By Blake Boles 

(Las Vegas, NV)-- During a touching ceremony in the foyer of the Grant Sawyer Building, students from the Cynthia Mann Music Studio played holiday songs and patriotic melodies as the Nevada Department of Veterans Services honored Vietnam veteran and longtime advocate, Marty Barrett, as Nevada's "Veteran of the Month" for December.

The "Veteran of the Month" recognizes veterans who provide exceptional support to the veterans' community, Nevada veterans, their families as well as military personnel stationed in Nevada.

This program, along with the recently installed "Veteran Supporter of the Month," shines a bright light on individuals who help veterans with no expectation of recognition or award. The "Veteran of the Month/Veteran Supporter of the Month" awards and ceremonies are a part of Governor Brian Sandoval's pledge to make Nevada "the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation."  

Click here to read more

By Blake Boles

Carson City, NV -- During a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion, the Northern Nevada Patriot Guard Riders were honored as Nevada's "Veteran Supporter of the Month" for December.  The "Veteran Supporter of the Month" recognizes both active organizations and non-veteran Nevada community members that provide exceptional support to military members stationed in Nevada, Nevada veterans, and their families. 

This program expands the Nevada Veteran of the Month Award (VOM) by shining a bright light on individuals who, while not serving in uniform, help veterans with no expectation of recognition or award.  It also serves to recognize the contributions of organizations who donate their time and energy to improve the life of our veterans.   The "Veteran of the Month/Veteran Supporter of the Month" awards and ceremonies are a part of Governor Brian Sandoval's pledge to make Nevada "the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation."       

NDVS Director Kat Miller said, “So many find the continual presence of the Northern Nevada Patriot Guard Riders at these services to be of comfort.” She added, “The Patriot Guard Riders ensure all of our fallen veterans, including those who are estranged or without family or living relatives, are honored in a way that is deserving. The Patriot Guard Riders make sure no veteran is ever ‘forgotten.”    

The ceremony was open to the public and free to attend, as are many events hosted by NDVS.

For more information on outreach efforts and available programs for veterans, visit http://www.veterans.nv.gov/, or call (702) 486-3830. 

By Terri Hendry

(Reno, NV) – The New Year will bring a new focus on Native American Veterans in Nevada. In January 2017, the Governor is expected to issue a proclamation outlining his commitment to Nevada Native American veterans. The idea is to make 2017 known as the "Year of Native American Veteran in Nevada."
 
Many may not realize Native Americans have one of the highest levels of participation of military service per capita of any ethnic group. But sadly, Native American veterans apply for and receive far fewer veterans' benefits than other ethnic groups. This underscores a great need to develop outreach and closer relationships between the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, Nevada leaders and the 27 tribes throughout the state.
 
As part of the 2017 designation and special focus, you will see several events, collaborations, recognitions and outreach over  during the course of the year. T he Governor, the Director and Deputy Directors of NDVS, and other state leaders will attend important veteran’s events throughout the state to honor the service of Nevada’s Native American Veterans. 

These events c ould include the Te-Moak Tribes of Western Shoshone Annual Veterans Day Celebration in Elko, the Moapa Paiute Veterans Day Pow Wow, the Shoshone Paiute Tribe’s Veterans Day Pow Wow in Owyhee, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe’s Snow Mountain Memorial Weekend Pow Wow, the Reno Indian Colony’s Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony, and the Pyramid Lake Veterans & Warriors Organizations Annual Memorial Day Services in Wadsworth and Nixon.

Additionally, outreach will include training and certifying tribal community members as "Nevada Veterans' Advocates."  These trained advocates will assist veterans and their families in connecting Native American veterans to needed services and benefits they have earned and deserve.

For more information, including how you can get involved, contact Terri Hendry, NDVS Public Information Officer at 775-525-4674 or hendryt@veterans.nv.gov .
By Blake Boles 

(Las Vegas, NV) -- On January 7th, in the auditorium at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas, all proposed veteran legislation will be read aloud to the public by members of the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC). The Summit will run from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., but networking starts at 8:30 a.m.  

The event will allow you to become familiar with legislation being proposed in the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session. Each BDR --or Bill Draft Request-- will be read, and briefly explained.

The UVLC, with support from the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, will do the same for veterans in Carson City in another Summit that will occur inside the Old Assembly Chambers on January 28th also from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. The aim is to bring about awareness of the legislative process, and increase involvement of concerned veterans and citizens. 
 
NDVS Director Kat Miller emphasizes the importance of public involvement in the legislative process. She said, “Every year, right before the Nevada Legislature convenes, our Legislative Summit provides a venue for veterans and political figures to come together. The Summit provides a productive, meaningful platform where thoughts, ideas and concerns are shared.” Miller added, “The Legislative Summit is important because it facilitates an open exchange of ideas. Creating or even shaping new legislation is one way to improve the lives of veterans and their families throughout Nevada.” 

Click here to read more.
By Blake Boles 

(Boulder City, NV) -- Despite a brisk, chilly wind that froze many to the bone, the chapel at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery was standing room only as administrators, dignitaries, veterans and volunteers christened this Wreaths Across America day with a special wreath laying ceremony, honoring all branches of the military, and all those designated as POW and MIA.

The December 17th ceremony was done in coordination with hundreds of others in cemeteries across the nation. It paid respect to the fallen by placing a wreath at their tombstones while reciting the service member's name, ensuring that no veteran is forgotten. 

Chris Naylor, honored those who had turned this once sparsely attended event into the large ceremony that it has become. "When we started three years ago, we had maybe thirty people attending this event," said Naylor. He added, "But due to the efforts of the thirty or so veteran service organizations, that number is now 500."

After the ceremony, volunteers laid 7,500 wreaths upon the graves of service members. That being said, there's always room for more.

Naylor said, "We have 29,000 graves at the cemetery in Boulder City." He explained the Boulder City Cemetery is the second busiest State Veterans' Cemetery in the nation. Naylor said, "So we have a long way to go, but your efforts today bring honor and remembrance to those who served." 

(Right Photo used by permission from Ron Skolvy)
By Connie Johnson

(Yerington, NV)--Wendy Simons, Deputy Director of Health and Wellness for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, in partnership with South Lyon Medical Center in Yerington, held a special reception honoring "Veterans in Care" (VIC) on December 8, 2016.

In addition to veterans living in the long term care wing of the hospital, staff members and family members with military service were honored. Administrator, Toni Inserra and Cathy Wilson,  Director of Ancillary Services, provided decorations and refreshments for everyone in attendance.

The Scottish American Military Society Post 1864 posted colors to kick off the event.
By Blake Boles

Las Vegas, NV -- On December 17th, Michael Scheidle was wearing several hats as he sat in the second row of the chapel. The Wreaths Across America ceremony would be conducted by the Civil Air Patrol, of which Scheidle is a volunteer.

He was also representing as an AmeriCorps State Member attached to the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. And as a patriotic American looking to join the Air Force in the near future, he was keenly aware of the significance of this ceremony, as wreaths were to be placed upon thousands of graves of departed service members.

We asked him what this day, and the spirit of service, means to him.  Scheidle said, "December 17th was a special day for those who dedicate time to 'remember, honor, teach.'" The 20-year-old from Las Vegas added, "We always take time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice." He also said, "We remember those who have perished protecting our way of life. We always take the time to honor the fallen. We also of course, honor those of us who are in uniform, still present with us here, serving. And we lastly teach future generations, our children the value of freedom," he said.
 
Scheidle said, "I have been in volunteer service for almost all my life. I was a Cub Scout then Boy Scout, now I serve the USAF as a civilian. "Wreaths Across America," to me is just another way of honoring those that this young 20 year old looks up to; those in uniform. I look up to firefighters, and our officers in blue as well, but I value service-members too. All public service lives up to the USAF Core Value of "Service before self", and that is what "Wreaths Across America" means to me; thinking of my role models before myself and taking a few hours out of one day to go down to Boulder every year to honor those who've perished," he said. 

Click here to read more.
Do you want to serve the heroes that have faithfully served us? Then join us as an AmeriCorps Member with the Nevada Department of Veterans Services!

Nevada has almost 230,000 veterans living within its borders, and their number is growing every day. Our goal is to make sure they know about all the benefits that they have earned, and are able to take advantage of them. Many have severe life barriers, and don't even know they're eligible for assistance.

In short, your work with us can potentially save lives! 
 
AmeriCorps VISTA: As an Outreach Coordinator, you will be working on building capacity for many of our programs to assist student veterans, women veterans, the aged, destitute, and other special populations. This can be challenging, and we are looking for some bright, squared-away individuals to make a difference in their lives. You might also be assisting with social media, special events, newsletters, and marketing.

Positions are currently available in Elko, Las Vegas and Reno.  
 
AmeriCorps State: Primarily, you will reach out to various communities across Nevada to build Veteran Community Collaboratives (VCC's), which are integral to educating and disseminating valuable information to all of Nevada's veterans, wherever they may reside.

Positions are potentially available across the state.  
 
For more information about training, benefits and service, click on  https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/join-americorps
or contact Blake Boles at 702-486-3828.

Thank you for your interest in serving Nevada's Heroes. We look forward to hearing from you!
Any veteran or his or her spouse, parent or child can purchase a veteran license plate. The applicant certifies that he or she qualifies by signing the Veteran License Plate Application (SP 33).

The initial cost for veteran 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 fee are used to support outreach programs and services for veterans and their families administered by Nevada Department of Veterans Services

Availability 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. See How Do I Get These Plates?

Veteran Unit Decal Plates : The DMV is authorized to offer veterans plates with extra space for unit logos. Army Airborne and Navy Seabees are available as well as Air Force and Army logos on National Guard Plates.

Motorcycle plates for Army Airborne and Navy Seabees are not in stock and must be custom-ordered.

Visit the Nevada DMV website to learn more. 
(Record Courier, Minden, Gardnerville, Carson Valley, NV)-- World War II veterans, Pearl Harbor survivors, service members, and family members gathered at Hospital Point on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to honor and commemorate the Nevada-class battleship USS Nevada (BB 36) on December 8, 2016.  
 
During the ceremony, retired Adm. Samuel Cox, director of Navy History and Heritage Command, spoke about the history of Nevada and the tribulation its crew endured 75 years ago. 
 
Cox said, “The Navy today says our core values are honor, courage, and commitment.” He added,“We stress core attributes like integrity, initiative, and toughness. Well, 75 years ago, yesterday, the crew of the Nevada showed the Navy and the world the true meaning of what those words really mean.” 
 
Click here to read more.
By Blake Boles 

(Las Vegas, NV) -- Many college students across the United States have finished the arduous process of becoming graduates, with many universities recently bestowing degrees at the conclusion of the Fall semester.

Most follow the stereotypical calling of names to the tune of 'Pomp and Circumstance'. But on December 16, 2016, members of UNLV's Rebel Vet organization treated their student veterans to a life experience, as their military service was honored alongside their academic achievements. It was the seventh such graduation ceremony held for UNLV's graduating veterans. 

Director of the Military & Veteran Services Center at UNLV, Army veteran Ross Bryant, was gushing over the efforts of his school to support veterans.

Bryant told a story demonstrating this support. He said,  "We had a guy that was deployed in 2003 to the Middle East, as an air traffic controller." Bryant went on to say, "Before he left, he had a 3.4 GPA, and was able to take classes full time while being active duty." Unfortunately, when the veteran returned, he was told he had failed all of his classes and owed the University $6,000. 

But due to the efforts and understanding of UNLV leadership, that student veteran's fees were waived and his failing grades were reclassified as "withdrawals."  Bryant said, ""The University ate the costs and that's the kind of support UNLV has for our student veteran population."

Bryant also stressed the importance of mentors in their Rebel Vet organization, the TRiO Student Support Services Initiative, and the PAVE Program, which matches incoming veterans with student-veteran mentors who have already gone through the transition process at UNLV.

All these initiatives, along with hardworking staff members, ensure student veterans are set up for academic success. 

Click here to read more.
Reno, NV (News 4 & Fox 11) — Every couple months, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport fills with people to welcome home Nevada's veterans.

Honor Flight Nevada offers veterans free trips to Washington D.C. to see the memorials erected in their honor. 
 
"They are the heart of America, they really are, " said Ken Koeppe who has been on five honor flights. He said, "The last one I was able to make it about halfway through before I broke out in tears." 
 
Koeppe said the trips are always emotional for the veterans, and in many cases, they are life changing experiences. But not all Nevada veterans are able to make the flight. 
 
Click here to read more.
Reno, NV (Associated Press) -- A Nevada Army veteran who died without knowing he won the nation's highest medal of bravery received the honor he's been owed for nearly 140 years in a ceremony on Monday. 
 
Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei held an event at his Reno office to present a new Medal of Honor to Jerry Reynolds, the 82-year-old grandson and closest surviving relative of the late Private Robert Smith. 
 
Click here to read more.

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.

  JANUARY ROVER DATES
Jan 3
Mesquite

Jan 5 
Hawthorne

Jan 6 
Ely & Elko IAV

Jan 10
Silver Springs

Jan 12
Beatty


Jan 13
Battle Mountain

Jan 19
Tonopah & Mesquite

Jan 20
Winnemucca

Jan 24
Gardnerville and Laughlin

Pahrump every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
( Except Jan 2nd)
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By NV AG Office

(Carson City, NV)--The Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA) provides 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 also currently provides assistance to veterans with wills and powers of attorney.

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.

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. Click here for the statewide listing.

2017 Dates are coming soon!
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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