Official Newsletter of the Nevada Department of Veteran Services      Dec. 2015
Kathleen Dussault, Deputy Director for Benefits
RADM (Retired) Kathleen Dussault is the new NDVS Deputy Director of Benefits. Ms. Dussault (pronounced "Doo-So") succeeds Willette Gerald, who is retiring from a long and successful career supporting the people of the great State of Nevada. 
"Concerned that it would be nearly impossible to locate a professional with the skill set and dedication Willette demonstrated, I think all within the NDVS and throughout Nevada will find that Ms. Dussault brings the right combination of talent and experience to our team," said NDVS Director Kat Miller.
Ms. Dussault, a career naval officer who has successfully led large military and civilian organizations, has served as an Executive Fellow for the Institute for Defense and Business, a member of the Board of Directors for the Military Officers Association of America, Senior Vice President for Corporate Services, United Services Automobile Association (USAA), the Director, Logistics Programs and Corporate Operations, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Commander, Joint Contracting Command Iraq/Afghanistan, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Acquisition and Logistics Management.
The Las Vegas native holds a Masters of Science degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C. in National Resource Management; a Masters of Science degree from Saint Mary's College, Moraga, California in Contracts and Procurement Management, and Bachelors Degree from the University of Virginia in American Government.  She is also is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business' Senior Executive Program.
Veterans Home Administrator Selected
Linda Gelinger has been appointed Administrator of the Nevada State Veterans Home by NDVS Director Miller. The appointment was effective December 14th.
For the past 6 weeks, Ms. Gelinger has been serving as Interim Administrator, and during that time she has demonstrated sincere commitment, initiative and passion for the success of Nevada's  
 Veterans Home, staff, and residents. 
"We are privileged to welcome Linda as the new Administrator to the Nevada State Veterans Home," said Director Miller. "She has done a terrific job as the interim administrator and  I am thrilled that she will become a permanent part of the team."
Ms. Gelinger has more than 25 years of successful experience as a licensed Administrator in Southern Nevada in the private sector and  currently serves as a member of the Board of Examiners for Long Term Care Administrators. She has had several family members serve in the military here and overseas.    

Nevadans Delivers Wreaths Across America

Last Saturday's Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Southern Nevada 
 Veterans Memorial Cemetery was a great success. More than 2,500 wreaths
 honored veteran graves, a 63 percent increase of donated wreaths in 2014, and
 the most wreaths ever received at the Las Vegas ceremony in one year. 
Nevada Lt. Governor Adam Laxalt was keynote speaker before 800 family,
friends, and veteran supporters. "That's four times the number we had attend
 just two years ago," SNVMC Superintendent Chris Naylor added.
At the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, every one
of the 5,700 wreaths covered every grave and columbarium, distributed
by 700 volunteers, cadets, family and veteran supports.
 Director Miller, who opened the Fernley ceremony Dec. 12 under a clear and cold sky, said, "Let me end with a quote from Mr. Pierre Claeyssens. Pierre was a child
in Belgium when US Forces rescued him and his countrymen from the German occupation of World War I. For the remainder of his life, he unceasingly
expressed his profound gratitude to the Americans and veterans.
"Pierre said, "To be killed in war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is
not the worst that can be forgotten is the worst."
"Please look at the name on the headstones as you lay your wreaths today
and say, 'Thank you. You are not forgotten'."

                It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!
        Volunteers Giving Overseas Troops A Bountiful Christmas
Veterans Services Commissioner Sally Wiley, left, and other volunteers this month packed forty Christmas Troop Care Packages for a Nevada Army National Guard Military Police Unit serving in Afghanistan. They asked all concerned to "Please keep the troops in your prayers." Wiley is a member of the State's Veterans Services Commission and a Gold Star Mother who regularly packs and sends packages to troops serving overseas. The items were donated by service organizations, church groups, and non-profit committees.
Department Veterans Services Starts Christmas Tradition
Holiday traditions abound in Nevada, including those in which nature often calls the shots. For example, sometimes it's a white Christmas, sometimes it's not. But man-made traditions don't depend on the weatherman. Rather they reflect the creativity and thoughtfulness of the men and women who participate and who continue without hesitation to make things happen. Jana McElhaney, the Event Coordinator for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, has taken charge of the department's First Annual "Christmas Cards for Veterans" project in conjunction with participating schools in select counties. Cards designed by students will be collected and delivered to servicemen and women at nursing home facilities in Northern Nevada, and to the Nevada State Nursing Home in Boulder City. Click here for the rest of the story.
VFW Post Sugarcoats Its Fundraising and Then Some
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 60 is in the midst of its annual See's Candy Fundraiser, and a spokesman said "It's unbelievable how well it has been going." Sales are conducted at the post home and at two casinos, the latter having been organized by Cher Wilson. The candy is available for sale at the post home 24/7. The address is 1510 Bruce Woodbury Drive, Laughlin, Nevada. Buyers have their choice of peanut brittle, lollipops and a variety of candy bars. But it's not all a sweet affair - the post also offers sugar free chocolate bars, Willy Wonka not withstanding. For more information, call (702) 299-1510. Click here for the rest of the story.
Not Quite a Haberdashery
Candy is for eating, but hats are for wearing! Members Kelly Hotchkiss and Norm Koan have established a fundraising hat showcase covering (pun intended) all branches of service. They said they are also working on making a Post 60 hat available. Funds raised go to local Laughlin charities. Hats off (!) to the pair for
 their creative efforts.
Music in the Air
Post 60 sponsors athletic and other school functions, but for the past two years members have also recognized the Laughlin High School arts program under the tutelage of Mrs. Andrews. She conducts the band and choir. At a recent High School Music Festival, both groups received Excellent/Superior ratings. The post, in partnership with VFW Post 243, presented $100 checks to Victoria Wasmund, a senior in the music curriculum and a 2015 delegate to the VFW Girls State program. The funds will go to support various musical activities
 and awards at the school.
High-Level Learning Experience for Veterans
A new scholarship program for veterans and their spouses has been announced by WGU Nevada. The school's Nevada Salute to Veterans Scholarship is valued at up to $2,500 per student and will be applied at the rate of $625 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms. The school will award at least five of the scholarships to new students throughout the State, and applications are being accepted now through January 31, 2016 at Additional scholarships are available for active-duty personnel and their families at For more information, call (877) 214-7005.
Pick Any Five, The Rating is Celestial!
The Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City has earned a Five-Star rating in overall and quality measures. It's the highest rating given by the U.S. Nursing Home Compare agency, an arm of U.S. Medicare. Governor Brian Sandoval said, "This is important recognition at the federal level confirms the strength of the Home's dedicated commitment by staff and management to quality care for our
veterans. As Nevada strives to deliver its promise of the most veteran-friendly State to America's veterans and their families, the commitment to veterans'
health is crucial and lifelong."
Upgrades and Repairs for Posts and Homes: American Legion to Receive Home Depot Grants
Building Improvement projects at American Legion Posts and necessary home repairs for veterans in need can apply for grants from the Home Depot Foundation. The company is dedicating no less than $1 million for projects throughout the nation. In addition to the grants, the firm provides Legion posts with funds and volunteers to assist in such endeavors as weatherizing windows, insulating attics, interior and exterior painting, installing ceiling tiles, replacing fans and flooring. Click here for the rest of the story.
A Note From Necole Stevens, Women's Veterans Program
Hello, I am Necole Stevens, your Women Veterans Coordinator for the State of Nevada's Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). Our women's newsletter has information about events, job opportunities, and so much more. If you would like to share any of the information
with fellow veterans, please do so.
If you need to file a claim regarding your benefits or veteran services, please call the Department of Veterans Services at (702) 224-6025 to make an appointment. We can arrange for you to meet with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who can help with any claims, questions or concerns you may have regarding your benefits. Click here for the rest of the story.
Bits & Pieces & Dates & Honors Employment
Each month, the Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS) reviews data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide an overview of veteran and non-veteran employment statistics. Veteran unemployment has remained lower than non-veteran unemployment for 24 consecutive months, its lowest point since November, 2007.  Assistant Secretary of VETS Mike Michaud  is proud to lead the agency at a time when employment for veterans
continues to improve.   View the full report...  

Jobs Well Done
Army National Guard Pvt. Pale M. Weishar Jr. has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.  He is the son of Leslie Weishar of Las Vegas, and a graduate of
Southeast Career Technical Academy.  Army National Guard Pvt. Chandler M. Nault has also graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson.  He is the son of Jason D. Nault of Michigan, and step-son of Hilda M. McCullen of Las Vegas.  Air Force Airman Na'il A. Muhammad graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. He is the grandson of Dona Rodriguez of Las Vegas...
Also graduating from basic military training at Lackland is Andre L. Stewart and Mace M. Dawes. Stewart is the son of Larry Gilbert of Henderson, and grandson of Mary Gilbert of Henderson. Dawes is the son of Ryan M. Dawes of Las Vegas...
And on the distaff side Army National Guard Pvt. Jocelyn Uribe has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson. She is the daughter of Maria Moreno of North Las Vegas, and a graduate of Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas.
Mark Your Calendars  
  • The local chapter of the Blinded Veterans Association's next meeting is scheduled for January 13, 2016, at American Legion Post 8 at 9:30 a.m. For more information go to
  • Ribbon cutting ceremony for the Southern Nevada Fisher House is February 11, 2016 on the grounds of the VA medical facility at 6900 N. Pecos Road in North Las Vegas.
  • Fridays in Boulder City are Red Shirt days in honor of veterans and troops. Residents are encouraged to wear red shirts. Need one? They can be purchased at the city's American Legion hall, (702) 293-6374. Proceeds go to Legion scholarships, packages to send to troops and placement of signs honoring BC veterans.
UPS Says After Military, Consider Franchising
According to a spokesman for retailer The UPS Store, nearly nine in 10 veterans and active duty service men and women expect to have a second career after leaving the military. With a strong desire to be their own boss, veterans are interested in applying the management skills they learned in the military toward owning a business, according to an on-line survey conducted by the company. Of those surveyed, 63 percent who envisioned a second career as a small business owner considered owning a franchise. Click here for the rest of the story.

VA Expands Access to Healthcare Under Veterans Choice
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made a number of changes it said will make participation in its Veterans Choice Program more convenient for those who need to use it. The move, which streamlines eligibility requirements, follows feedback from individual veterans as well as from organizations that work on their behalf. VA Secretary Bob McDonald said "As we implement the ... program, we are learning from our stakeholders what works and what needs to be refined. It is our goal to do all that we can to remove barriers that separate veterans from the care they deserve." The VA reports that more than 400,000 medical appointments have been scheduled since the Choice program went into effect November 5, 2014. Under the updated eligibility requirements, if a veteran is enrolled in the VA health care system and meets at least one of five stated parameters, that's all it takes. Details of the new program can be found at Veterans can also call (866) 606-8198 to confirm eligibility and to schedule appointments. 

It's Not Star Wars, But It Could Be Better!
Eligible active duty officers and enlisted members interested in astronaut duty are encouraged to submit application packages to NASA via the USAJobs Website until mid-February. (Interested Airmen must also submit a separate application package to the Air Force Astronaut Nomination Board using criteria and instructions spelled out on the myPers Website.) Applicants must be United States citizens, and hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution in Engineering, Mathematics, Biological Science or Physical Science. The application deadline is Feb. 29, 2016. Complete procedures and package requirements are available on the myPers Website.