A Program of the Community Service Council
September 2017 
Warrior Partnerships of Eastern Oklahoma Newsletter
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Oklahoma Veteran Connections Update

The Community Service Council hosted its second community strategy session for the Oklahoma Veteran Connections. More than 40 people attended, representing 25 agencies. UniteUs Account Manager Brian Longo demonstrated the user interface for wrap-around service providers. The Community Service Council's (CSC) Veterans Division Director Rachel Runfola and CSC's Data and Information Division Director Emma Swepston also provided insight on the community operating system, currently implemented in more than 15 communities across the nation. 

During the session, a brief recap of the system's functionality was presented, as well as a description of the Coordination Center, feedback from focus groups, details on the registration process, training dates and an indication of participating agencies. CSC has plans for a Go-Live date for Oklahoma Veteran Connections in late October. 

 Peter Luitwieler, Program Manager
 Warrior Partnerships of Eastern Oklahoma
 Community Service Council
Honoring 100 for the 100th: Jeremy Nikel

Jeremy Nikel is a native of Oklahoma and a two-time graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and was commissioned a Naval Officer in 1993. Jeremy subsequently served as a Naval Aviator, deploying twice and serving as the NATO Helicopter Element Coordinator during the Kosovo War. Jeremy earned his Master of Social Work degree in 2011. He currently works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs and is a National Consultant for the VA in Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy.

Jeremy is a strong advocate for veterans. He was a founding board member of the non-profit veteran organization Coffee Bunker and served as Vice President and President from 2010-2016. He remains active in an advisory role with the Community Service Council and other non-profit organizations in the Tulsa community. Jeremy is frequently called upon for his expertise by universities, businesses, and civic organizations, and has presented at several conferences and symposiums, including the Zarrow Mental Health symposium and NASW state conference.

Jeremy is humbled to be named one of the 100 for the 100th and accepts on behalf of all who are working to help veterans reintegrate with their families and communities. As a veteran who experienced a wide range of challenges when transitioning from active duty, being recognized by his pre- and post-service alma mater feels like a long awaited welcome home.
Veteran Affairs of Eastern Oklahoma Hosts Mental Health Summit in Tulsa

Approximately 100 people attended the Mental Health Summit sponsored by the Veteran Affairs of Eastern Oklahoma. Harold Kudler, Chief Consultant for Mental Health Services (VA Central Office), provided the morning kick-off. The meeting covered a wide variety of critical topics such as Military Cultural Competence, Navigating Access to Care, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Moral Injury, Suicide  Prevention and Compassion Fatigue. There were excellent presentations, interesting questions, dialogues and solid collaboration all day. The meeting concluded with discussion on plans to host  another Mental Health Summit in 2018. Thank you to Dr. River Smith for planning the Mental Health Summit, to Mazzio's for catering free lunch and to Hardesty Library for providing facilities and parking. 
Broken Arrow Acclaimed as a Purple Heart City: Letter from Mitch Reed, Senior Vice Commander

On August 8, 2017, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma became the first Oklahoma PURPLE HEART city east of Stillwater, and I was honored to help make it happen. I would like to offer my special thanks to Broken Arrow's City Manager, City Council, and city staff for their assistance in carrying out this cause.
A crowd of over 225 people attended the event on this beautiful August evening. Twenty dignitaries honored the stage. We were blessed to have former Voice contestants Alaska and Madi sing the National Anthem and then to close the show with "GOD BLESS AMERICA"! The VFW Post of Broken Arrow proudly decorated the park with an American flag for every state and a flag for every branch of the Service.
The National Purple Heart Truck Run which travels 8700 miles across the country from east to west made a stop through Broken Arrow during this event as an added bonus. The truck was traveling from Lawton through Broken Arrow on the last 700 miles of its six week run. Nicholas Thom, who lost both legs in a controlled IED explosion while defending this great nation, drove the truck as the winning recipient last year. His brother Alex Thom was the co-driver. Nicholas and Alex are two of the three sons of a thirty year Marine Corp. father.
Nicholas and Alex Thom gave a demonstration and happily allowed attendees to explore and to autograph the truck. The winner of next year's truck is a deserving and honorable veteran from Fayetteville, Arkansas.
On August 9, 2017, in honor of the National Purple Heart Truck, a sendoff ceremony was held at Matthews Ford as the truck headed off to Missouri. Fifty people attended the ceremony. Both ceremonies were proudly sponsored by Daylight Donuts, Patriot Guard Riders and the Broken Arrow Elks Club.
Always honored to serve veterans.
Mitch Reed
Senior Vice Commander
Purple Heart of Oklahoma

2017 Tulsa Stand Down: September 16

Each year, several community partners and members of the Tulsa area community plan a Stand Down to serve the needs of veterans at-risk or experiencing homelessness in our community. Your support is essential to ensure homelessness among veterans is rare, brief and non-recurring.  The date is fast approaching for the 2017 Tulsa Stand Down. This year the Tulsa community plans to serve 350 veterans by providing resources as well as essential supplies. Please spread the word to any Veterans who may benefit. The Stand Down will be September 16, 2017 from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Downtown Tulsa.

Thank you to all who have already supported this year's Stand Down. Unfortunately, we have just received word that we will not be receiving a federal grant of $7,000 that has traditionally provided the majority of funding for the event. Because of this loss, the support of all in the community is needed now more than ever. Please make your tax deductible donation to support the Stand Down online at  www.okvets.org/donate.html  (note Stand Down in the purpose line) or mail your check to Oklahoma Veterans Project, PO Box 140104, Broken Arrow, OK 74014 (Please note "Stand Down 2017" in memo line).

The original Stand Down was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operation. Please help to make this year's Stand Down in Tulsa a retreat for veterans who are in need in our community.
Veterans Pension Benefit 

There may be some senior veterans and spouses of veterans in your state that are missing out on this little-known veterans pension benefit called  veteranaid.org, 
the leading free resource for information on this particular benefit. The Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans and their spouses pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. 

Additional Oklahoma resources can also be found at veteranaid.org
Upcoming WPEO Newsletter Article on Veteran/Service Member Discounts 
We are asking our community to send Pete Luitwieler any current year-round discounts for veterans and service members at retail establishments in Oklahoma. We will publish an initial list in October and then keep updating it. Send information to pluitwieler@csctulsa.org.

Examples are:

· IHOP - 20%
· You Move Me - (moving company) determined on a case-by-case basis 
· Other Restaurants
· Some Hotels
· Some theaters

Please help us build this list and keep it current. Thank you. 

Other News:
Data provides insight into Veteran homelessness; VA physicians skilled in all catheterization care

Tulsa Vet Center to Host Open House & Benefit Day
Peter Luitwieler, Program Manager
Warrio r Partnerships of Eastern Oklahoma
Connecting Veterans
Community Service Council
16 E. 16th St.,  Tulsa, OK 74119

Links to non-Federal and Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by the Community Service Council or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. The Community Service Council is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.