Nevada Department of Veterans Services Newsletter November 2017 
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A Special Message from Director Miller
By Katherine N. Miller
On October 1 st , the unthinkable happened in our state, our community, our backyard. A gunman opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd of people who were simply enjoying a music festival in Las Vegas. In many ways, Las Vegas is like the rest of Nevada. It is a tight-knit community that immediately came together to help the victims and praise the first responders, including our police, fire, and the army of tireless health care professionals who all stepped up and came forward. We owe them a debt of gratitude and can't thank them enough.

This senseless violence impacted our family, friends, neighbors as well as military members and veterans alike. This NDVS Newsletter demonstrates this broad impact. Our hearts go out to those who lost a loved one or to those who are still struggling to recover.

So many veteran organizations stepped up to help the Las Vegas community in its long journey toward healing. I won't be able to name every organization or every person who leaned forward in this time of need as some continue to come forward, but there are a few that come to mind.

In addition to all the first responders, EMT's, nurses and doctors, the Southern Nevada VA Health Care Team opened their doors to provide everything from urgent, emergency care to mental health support.

Area blood banks made it easy to give to the victims. They set up online booking appointments to give blood:
There were those who volunteered to serve as drop-off points for food and personal hygiene items:

·        Peridot Sweets 
·        Forgotten Not Gone Headquarters
·        22 Warriors Foundation

Additionally, there were veteran service organizations that offered volunteers:

·        UNLV Rebel Vets
·        22 Warriors Foundation
·        Iraqi Afghanistan Veterans of America
·        Merging Vets and Players
·        Veterans Military Families Democratic Caucus
·        Nevada Veterans Association

While many ask "why" someone would do such a horrible thing, we have come away from this tragedy with some answers. We know we stand together and through this unity, we will find strength and recovery. We also know evil will never prevail. May we forever show Nevada resiliency and remain #VegasStrong.   
Good-Bye to a Fallen Nevada Hero
By Chuck N. Baker   
(Las Vegas and Boulder City, NV) - October 20, 2017, a typical Friday in southern Nevada where residents went to work, children attended school and slot machines provided their familiar sounds inside the city's famous casinos. But there were three separate places where the day was anything but typical. The usual hustle and bustle of Vegas gave way to a quiet, even somber mood as the community came together to say good-bye to Charleston Hartfield, a veteran, military member and public servant.

The National Guardsman and Las Vegas Metro Police Officer was off-duty, attending a country music festival off the Vegas strip when a gunman opened fire October first, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. Witnesses say the moment the bullets started flying, Hartfield sprang into action doing what he has always done; he began protecting others. Unfortunately, he was hit by the rain of bullets, cutting short his life.

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Location #1: The Las Vegas Strip is part of the economic lifeblood of the State so it is always vibrant, ever moving. But on this day a long portion of the street stood eerily empty. By mid-morning Las Vegas Boulevard began filling with dozens of police, fire, military and other "official" vehicles. The cars, limousines, vans and police motorcycles began moving in a southerly direction carrying Hartfield's flag draped coffin. They drove past souvenir shops, eateries, hotels and gambling establishments. At one point, the motorcade passed the Mandalay Bay Resort, the location where the gunman was perched from the 32nd floor. On the sidewalks along the Strip below, individuals and families watched and grieved.

Location #2: Central Christian Church in Henderson was the scene where hundreds of residents and tourists attended a memorial service for Hartfield. The official procession turned off Las Vegas Boulevard and onto the I-215 Beltway heading toward the church. Once there, family members and others began filling the building. At the ceremony, there was an outpouring of respectful accolades in a room that was otherwise silent. The contrast of emotions was palpable. The church was filled with as much love, as it was with sadness.

Location #3: The Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City was where dozens of locals stood outside the gates. They bowed their heads, placed their hands over their hearts, waved American flags and paid silent respect as the motorcade drove past them and onto the cemetery grounds. There, large contingents of the public, friends of the Hartfields, uniformed law enforcement officers, active-duty Army soldiers, National Guardsmen and at least one Air Force officer stood waiting for the procession to arrive. Many had been waiting several hours for the memorial ceremony to begin. No one complained and voices were kept low. When the police vehicle carrying the coffin entered the grounds, the silence became even more pronounced. Some wiped tears from their eyes.

Hartfield was a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, and of the Nevada National Guard. As a young teenager he left a rough California neighborhood and joined the Army. Later he would marry his high school sweetheart. He also became a Las Vegas police officer. At the cemetery, any anger, disbelief or frustration was never voiced. Instead, there was an outpouring of support to honor and pay homage to Hartfield and the fallen. Earlier news reports quoted Brig. Gen. Zachary Dozier describing Hartfield’s loss as “a kick in the stomach to the Nevada National Guard.” The general granted Hatfield a posthumous promotion to first sergeant.

As the casket was lifted off the police vehicle, six members of the Metropolitan Police and two Army Guardsmen carried it and placed it atop the open grave. Watching over the activities were four horses mounted by police officers. A fifth riderless black horse joined the group in a show of respect, with a police officer walking alongside.

The music fit the occasion with the Las Vegas Firefighters Drum and Bugle Corps at one point, marching in the background playing a funeral dirge. A military officer played “Taps,” and later, bagpipe musicians played “Amazing Grace.”

Many police and military officers spoke, as each one draped several American flags over the coffin. The flags were then ceremoniously folded in military tradition and offered to Hartfield’s widow. Several of the flag bearers offered private comments to the family as they handed the flags to them.

Many family members were in attendance, including Hatfield’s wife Veronica and two children, 9-year-old Savannah and 15-year-old Ayzayah. Although my own emotions were welling up, I managed to briefly speak to Ayzayah, offering my condolences and inquiring if he planned to join the police force or the Army. “I’m going to join the military,” he answered, and thanked me for being there. I also spoke to Veronica and told her as a veteran myself I wanted to offer my condolences to her veteran husband, “from one veteran to another.” She smiled and thanked me. The shooting had traumatized the community, and impacted the entire nation. Yet I was impressed that somehow through the pain and sorrow the entire family managed to appear calm, thanking those who approached them to offer their best wishes, hugs and prayers.

After the ceremony I asked an Army Sgt. Iniguez his thoughts on the ceremony. He replied, “It was horrifically beautiful.” I took his comment to mean the events of the day were respectful and appropriate, even beautiful in their own way, but the event that cut short so many lives, was horrific. Later I spoke with National Guardsman Sgt. Marco Martinez. He said he was extremely pleased noting, "All branches of the service came out to show their support." The day apparently brought one of the largest audiences in memory to attend a burial at the veterans cemetery. Kevin Janicke, a cemetery groundsman said, “It’s the biggest I have ever seen here. It was very moving.”
Five Veterans Who Saved Lives in Vegas "War Zone"
(Las Vegas, NV) – First responders described the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting as a "war zone." However, as bullets sprayed without mercy into the crowd attending a music festival, U.S. veterans sprang into action. Five veterans in particular went above and beyond. shares their stories.

Southern Nevada State Veterans Home Lends Support
By Terri Hendry
(Boulder City, NV) – The shooting has touched everyone in Las Vegas and the surrounding communities. In an effort to lend a positive note during a challenging time, staff and residents at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home hosted a BBQ October 11th to thank first responders and help those directly impacted. 

The Boulder City Police and Boulder City Fire Departments were invited to join and eat free of charge as a way of saying, "thanks." Staff and visitors who wanted to donate to the victims paid $5.00 for a BBQ plate. By the end of lunch, they had raised $750 for the GoFundMe account, set up for the shooting victims. The Home also placed a donation box at the front desk to keep the donations coming. A few days later, Executive Assistant Kristy Waggerman said they raised an additional $215 dollars.

Home Administrator Linda Gelinger said, "It's been a tough time. But I'm proud of our residents and staff who are standing together showing their support for the community and each other. In these times, even small gestures of kindness toward each other go a long way. We will all get through this, together."

If you wish to make a donation to the GoFundMe account set up by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak click here:  
How Will You Spend Veterans Day?
By Terri Hendry
(Statewide, NV) – Flags, parades, along with good food and good company, will most likely play big roles in Veterans Day events across the state. Along with a day off, it's important to remember the history and significance behind Veterans Day. It originated as "Armistice Day" on November 11, 1919, marking the first anniversary to the end of an exhaustive and bloody World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance and November 11 th become a national holiday in 1938. The day is set aside as a way for us to thank and honor the men and women who protect us and keep us free.

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In Las Vegas , the Veterans Action Group is putting together the big parade, promoted as the biggest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi. 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 09:45 a.m. with staging starting much earlier at 7:00 a.m. Go here for more information:

In Boulder City , there will be a Veterans Day Ceremony at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home beginning at 1:30 p.m. on November 11 th .

In Pahrump, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10054 will hold its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 11:00 a.m. sharp on Veterans Day, November 11 th . The ceremony will be held at the Post 10054 located at South Homestead Road. After the ceremony, the Silver Tappers will perform their flag dance, the Post meeting will begin at noon and there will be a flag retirement with the Boys Scouts at 3:00 p.m. You're advised to check the menu as lunches will be served that day. There will also be karaoke at 5:00 p.m. that afternoon. For more information contact Tom Vic, Post Commander at 775-727-6072 or email him at .

In Reno , NDVS Director Kat Miller will serve as Grand Marshal in the 2017 City of Reno Veterans Day Parade on November 11 th . Since she will be riding in the lead car, she had a choice of a Corvette or military Jeep. Which one did she choose? Let's just say "bright red" is not her color! Brigadier General Zachary Doser will serve alongside her as Deputy Grand Marshal.

Director Kat Miller said, "It is a privilege and an honor to be selected as this year's Grand Marshal," adding, "I encourage everyone to bring their family and friends to show their support and pay honor to the men and women who have or are currently serving our country."

The parade will be held (rain or shine) following the Opening Ceremony at the Virginia Street Bridge at Virginia Street and 1 st Street. The ceremony begins at 11:11 a.m., symbolizing the 11 th hour, of the 11 th day, of the 11 th month. The opening ceremony concludes with a fly-by and the ceremonial wreath toss into the Truckee River at approximately 11:20 a.m.

The parade route has participants heading north on Virginia Street from Liberty to 5 th Street. Viewing is alongside the streets of the route. The parade ends roughly between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Also in Reno , the Veterans Guest House will honor November 11 th 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., November 11 th .

The City of Elko is another rural Nevada community that honors Veterans Day, November 11 th , in a big way. The Annual Elko County Veterans Day Parade will be led by distinguished Elko dignitaries as well as Elko County veterans, law enforcement and others. This year the focus will be honoring women veterans. The parade is held in downtown Elko beginning at 11:00 a.m. It starts at the Crystal Theater. Go here for more information:

In Pahrump, a November 11 th Veterans Day event will be held at the Veterans' Memorial from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

In Henderson , the Veterans Day events will be held earlier than the traditional day, Saturday, November 4th at 10:00 a.m. in the Amphitheater, adjacent to the Henderson Veterans Memorial wall at City Hall. They expect a big crowd again this year. Go here for more information:

In Mesquite, a Veterans Day celebration will be held earlier than the traditional holiday. The event will be held Saturday, November 4th at Veterans Park beginning at 8:00 a.m. For more information go here:

In Moapa Valley , there is a November 11 th 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 4th and 5th 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 10th and 11th. 
We Are Committed to Restoring Our Green Grass at
Southern NV Veterans Cemetery
Chris Naylor, Cemetery Superintendent
(Boulder City, NV) – We know Veterans Day is among the busiest at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery (SNVMC) in Boulder City. Unfortunately, this year, our normally green, plush, healthy grass is facing a challenge. In some places, it's brown and has been invaded by non-native grasses.

We just finished a Raise and Realignment Restoration Project at the cemetery. Soon after completion last summer, employees began to notice issues that turned out to be an aggressive fungus in some areas destroying the newly installed sod. What's more, non-native strains of grass were introduced to our cemetery grounds during this process. 

We are working aggressively to address these issues. We've been told the fungus is difficult to eradicate and may take some time to fully destroy. However, we're committed to restoring our grounds with green grass once again. We appreciate your patience.
A First for Nye County
By Terri Hendry
(Pahrump, NV) – Nye County is marking a unique honor. It is now the first county in Nevada to be recognized as a Purple Heart County. Both Nye and the City of Pahrump received the Purple Heart designation following a township board meeting October 17th in front of approximately 60 residents attending the ceremony.

Pahrump joins a handful of other Nevada cities to receive this honor. The first city in Nevada to be recognized was Henderson. Other Nevada Purple Heart cities include Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Mesquite, Carson City and last summer, Reno. 

What does it take to become a Purple Heart City or County? John E. Bircher III, Public Relations Director for the Military Order of the Purple Heart explained the guidelines in an article written two years ago. He wrote, "The Purple Heart designation is an expression of gratitude to the sons and daughters of that community who gave their lives or were wounded in combat defending the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Any city, county, state sports team or any other entity can become a Purple Heart entity."

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In that same article Bircher explained the process of becoming a Purple Heart City. He wrote it involves the Mayor or City Council presenting a proclamation to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in a ceremony. The local chapter arranges for as many Purple Heart recipients and other supporters to attend the ceremony as possible. The Military Order then provides the city with a plaque commemorating the occasion, a Purple Heart flag the city can fly, especially on National Purple Heart Day, August 7 th and "proud supporter" pins for everyone attending the ceremony.
According the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Henderson became the first city in Nevada to become a Purple Heart City in January of 2014. In 2016, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Mesquite received the honor. This year, Carson City and the State of Nevada joined the list. The designation is part of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Purple Trail Program. Learn more by going here:
Older Veterans Recognized and Honored
By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) – Army veteran Richard Pagano began tearing up after receiving Certificates of Recognition from the Governor and Nevada's Congressional delegation. A presenter then pinned a one-of-a-kind "Nevada Heroes" pin onto his lapel, saluting him before he sat down and his emotions overwhelmed him. He turned to a gentleman sitting next to him saying, "I didn't know that was going to happen," wiping his eyes while trying to hide his quivering smile.

Pagano was one of 23 veterans recognized in a special ceremony at the Sky Peaks Retirement Center in Reno. Around 50 people attended the October 20 th event. The recognition is part of the "Veterans in Care" program designed to recognize these veterans, many of whom are World War II or Korean War veterans, now elderly. The program also helps connect these veterans to benefits they may not know about or have overlooked.

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Wendy Simons, NDVS Deputy Director of Health and Wellness said, "Many of these veterans are not in the VA system because they've never accessed it." She explained, "Many served honorably, some long ago, and when they got out, they put their military service out of their mind." She added, "Can you imagine spending down your life savings if you don't have to because you have benefits you're not taking advantage of or even aware about?" 

Veterans from all branches of U.S. military service, except for Merchant Marines, were represented at the ceremony; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. There was friendly joking and gentle jabbing about which branch is superior. The laughter was also mixed with strong emotion as some fondly remembered their service and the pride of being recognized so many years later. WWII Army veteran Lucy Vickery choked up when retired Colonel, now NDVS Director Kat Miller thanked Vickery for paving the way for women, like herself. The tears quickly turned to laughter after Vickery told Miller she served as an accountant in Finance and Miller joked, "I knew I wanted to talk with you. You know my check is still messed up." Miller and Vickery ended the banter by saluting each other through smiles.

In the last fiscal year alone, from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, the VIC ceremonies have been performed at 80 Nevada skilled-care or assisted living faculties. To date 1,470 veterans have been honored and recognized through the program. Also to date, NDVS has identified more than 500 WWII veterans that were not on VA rolls. As this program moves forward, the outreach will soon extend to housebound veterans. 
A magical Day at the Veterans Guest House
If you don't recognize the man in the suit, you may need to become more familiar with Las Vegas royalty! Retired magician Lance Burton stopped by the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home this week. He performed more than 15,000 shows in Vegas before 5-million fans before retiring from his 31-year career in 2010. We were honored to have him and his lovely assistants visit us!
Why You Should Join Our Team
By Matt Taylor & Cathy Yates, NDVS Outreach Directors   
Over the past month our outreach team has been to several community and social events throughout the Silver State. Our mission is to make sure veterans know NDVS is a resource and assist in connecting them and their families to benefits, resources and programs earned through military service.

Over the past several months, our trained volunteers have been joining us in this effort. These volunteers have been certified to become a Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA). 
Click the link to learn how to become certified NVA. We could really use more volunteers, especially in southern Nevada!

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Our NVA's in northern Nevada are already joining forces while our NVA's in southern Nevada are just now gearing up to join us for outreach efforts. Some of the highlights over the past month include:

Northern Nevada
NVA Marie Babb; Dogs of Rotary, Reno
NVA's Larry Osborne, Jim Caughron; Aviation Roundup, Minden
NVA's Seth Welman, Ryan Percivalle; Pumpkin Palooza, Sparks
NVA's Seth Welman, Alan Callanan, Marie Babb; La Ka La Bee Pow Wow, Carson City

Southern Nevada
NVAs Keith Goudy, Leigh Kost, Frank Mahoney; USO 3rd Annual Challenge a Troop 5K1M Military Family Day, North Las Vegas
Veterans Olympics, Southern Nevada State Veterans Home, Boulder City
Senior Resource Day, Hawthorne Convention Center, Hawthorne
Veterans Stand Down, Pahrump
NVAs Romy Schnitzer-Cook & Lennora Valles; Gay Pride Festival, Las Vegas

In November we have a number of events you might be interested in joining us, but first, become certified as an NVA! You don't want to miss what's ahead:

Northern Nevada
Veterans Appreciation Breakfast, Sun Valley—Nov. 4
Women Veterans Town Hall and Networking, Reno—Nov. 7
LBGTQ Outreach, in front of VA Pharmacy, Reno—Nov. 9
Veterans Day Parade, Virginia/1 st Streets, Reno—Nov. 11

Southern Nevada
26 th Annual Southern Paiute Veterans Powwow, Moapa Travel Plaza—Nov. 4
Las Vegas Regional Justice Center Chili Cook-Off, LV Regional Justice Ctr.—Nov. 8
3 rd Annual Las Vegas VAMC Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ, LV. VAMC—Nov. 10
Aviation Nation 2017, Nellis AFB—Nov. 10
Veterans Day, Southern Nevada State Veterans Home, Boulder City—Nov. 11
Pahrump Social Powwow, Petrack Park, Pahrump—Nov. 19

With more than 80,000 veterans in Northern Nevada and nearly 300,000 statewide, it is vital we have NVAs across the state to increase the number of veterans we reach. We really appreciate our wonderful NVA volunteers who give their time to provide veterans and their families with information on benefit and services available to them. 
Becoming a Nevada Veterans Advocate
By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) – About 100 people gathered into a large room inside the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on a Saturday morning. They came with the hope of making a difference. They came because they want to be certified, as a Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA). Hospice caregiver Tamie Keller explained, "I work with veterans or their spouses all the time who probably have benefits they should be getting, but they just aren't aware or even know about them."

The free, two day workshop is hosted by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). Director Kat Miller explained to the group that even if she had a hundred Veteran Service Officers working to connect veterans to benefits, it still would not be enough. She said, "Imagine, with all of you helping and assisting in places we could only dream of reaching. That is why NVA's are so important!"

The course provides 10 hours of a 20 hour online course required for NVA certification. Ray White, with the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center said his goal was to eventually become a Veteran Service Officer (VSO). He said, "I want to get all the training I can and this is free." He explained he works with veterans every day in his job and this will help him better assist those he works with.

Rick and Roberta Begley said they heard about the course at a recent event in Reno's Idlewild Park, "Dogs of Rotary." NDVS was there conducting outreach for the event. Rick Begley said, "The gal explained what the course was about so my wife and I thought, we want to help out, so we're here to learn."

The next free workshop will be held in Las Vegas in the spring of 2018. The date and location will be announced soon. In the meantime, you can take the online course to become certified by simply starting here:
Croft Receives Veteran of the Month while
Horton Named
Veteran Supporter of the Month
(Reno, NV) – Dallas Croft, a United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant with a 29-year Air Force career is this month's Veteran of the Month while Carson City resident Brenda Horton is 
also being honored. She was named Veteran Supporter of the Month.
The two received the awards and recognition in a special ceremony on October 21,
at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.  
The Veteran and Veteran Supporter of the month recognize Nevada's men, women or organizations that have gone above and beyond in volunteer work supporting veterans and the military. The award from Governor Brian Sandoval is an opportunity to shine a light on the work and service veterans and others continue to do for our nation.  

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Croft has a long list of volunteer work that supports both the military and the community. It includes a wide range of activities from working with leadership at Nellis Air Force Base resulting in the installation of two Purple Heart parking signs. He's also involved in various fundraising efforts through the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Croft provides counseling to younger Airmen and supports Senior Staff Officers. He is also active in the local school system. He spent more than 60 hours assisting in the Las Vegas region's first robotics competition. Additionally, he supports ROTC activities. You will find him helping at the Heritage Day Parade and assisting with activities at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home on Memorial Day.
Horton is well known in the veterans' community. She has served in leadership roles in the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fleet Reserves Association, Branch 137 in Carson City.
The Auxiliary supports veterans in numerous ways from providing baskets containing house-hold items to formerly homeless vets. The Auxiliary also provides lap blankets to active-duty military moms with newborns and to guests staying at the Veterans House.
Horton is also very active in the Adopt-a-Vet Dental Program. It provides free dental services to eligible veterans in need of dental care.
If you know of a veteran who is deserving of this honor, please submit your nomination by going here:

Go here for nominations for Veteran Supporter of the Month:
Swapping Toys for Smiles!
Chuck N. Baker
(Las Vegas) - Bartering is an age-old system where individuals make a trade for goods or services without exchanging money. But a Las Vegas non-profit is adding a twist to this. It's offering a toy in exchange for an emotion; a simple, heartfelt smile. 

The idea for Toys4Smiles dates back to 2005. Director Rex Doty says it first began to take shape after watching a television show, “Three Wishes.” It was hosted by Christian vocalist Amy Grant. The episode featured a couple who made toys to give to kids and Grant asked viewers for their help. The program made such an impact, Doty didn't hesitate. He said, "With tears on my cheeks, I went to their website and sent them an email to see if I could help make toys for needy kids." They accepted his offer.

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Doty's work with "The Happy Factory" took a turn following a recommendation by a fellow Faith Lutheran Church volunteer, Lynn Davis. By the following year in 2006, Doty and his friends began making toys to distribute locally in Southern Nevada. The new enterprise, Toys4Smiles, was born.

The toys are distributed to both nursing and assisted living homes, grandparents and parents. They then pass them on to their grandchildren and children. On a more direct basis, Doty says he works with local police departments giving them toys to pass on to children within the Clark County School District. He adds, “The police give out the toys, and the children realize police officers are their friends. In some cases, the toys are the first new toys the children have ever received."

As an Air Force veteran, Doty says he often gives toys to veterans organizations, but is planning to expand. He would like to reach out to more veterans groups and active military families. He says, “We give out toys at Nellis Air Force Base to kids whose dads are deployed overseas. It helps make them feel somebody (outside their family) cares about them.” In addition to Nellis, his volunteers go to Creech Air Base, the Army Reserve, and the Marine Depot about 15 times a year. He explains, "We give to every kid that needs a smile. We don’t ask why or where, we just give them away.” 

The toys are cars and trucks of different shapes. They are made of scrap hardwood donated by various businesses. When the economic downturn hit Nevada several years ago, many of the firms donating wood went away. Currently, he receives much of the wood from Titan Stairs in Nevada and Ganahl Lumber in Orange County, California. The manufacturing process involves a multi-step process that requires some skill and commitment. It begins by drawing an outline on the wood, drilling holes for windows, shaping, smoothing and cutting on a bandsaw, sanding rough edges, adding wheels and axels, coating with light oil to bring out the wood grain and then packing and delivering. Whew!

“Our mission is to provide a toy to children of all ages in need of a smile, while providing a sense of purpose, caring and community to our volunteers,” Doty adds, “These toys are not simply playthings, but tools that help unlock a child’s ability to think, be creative and cope with the world around them.” Doty and his wife Mary have four adult children, 13 grandchildren, one great grandson and two foster grandchildren. 

If you're interested in learning more about the program or becoming involved, you may reach Doty at (702) 232-8191 or email; . Last month Doty held an Open House Celebration. He said, "It was more than a party. It celebrated giving away 300,000 toys thus far." Doty added, "All the kids aside, that accomplishment alone makes me smile." 
The Art of War Combines Art, Military, Healing
By Chuck N. Baker
(Las Vegas, NV) - When Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War” in 514 B.C., he most decidedly had a vision of using "art" or its techniques to subdue an enemy without a great deal of physical force. Force or not, military conflicts have surely shaped, and continue to shape, cultures around the world. Art too can be a powerful influence. Now, the Corner Gallery in Las Vegas has married military and art to create a unique exhibit that utilizes the artistic skills of former warriors. 

Chris Frausto owns and operates the Corner Gallery. She produced a show at her facility featuring works created by an Army veteran of the Afghanistan War, Mannie Rubio. Initially, it was going to be a very limited showing but when Frausto first saw his work, she was impressed for several reasons. “He does the most fantastic and amazing art,” she said. “He is very active on Facebook. His work is two-dimensional on canvas,” She explained, "His art tends to be colorful and very well executed," adding, “His time in the military is influential in his work.” 

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Once word got out about the exhibition, called “Healing Through the Arts,” it opened doors for Frausto to recruit other artists who are ex-military. She reports some of them are combat veterans who returned to the United States with issues stemming from war that are often calmed by using their creativity on canvas. Along with those works scheduled for display, Frausto has recruited a local published author who is also a clinical psychologist. “She works with veterans diagnosed with combat-related PTSD and she’ll be hosting a panel to discuss art and its relationship to wellness,” Frausto said, “And she’ll be bringing other experts and veterans to the event.” 

The Corner Gallery exists as a venue for local artists to display their work. “We do a lot of outreach within the community and with non-profits, and we have a lot of events within the gallery," Frausto explained, "Every month I have a theme, and I look for local artists to hang according to my theme.”

The gallery is located upstairs inside the Arts Factory at 107 E. Charleston Blvd., on the second floor. She laughs when explaining her gallery is “in the corner.” Prior to becoming a Las Vegas gallery owner she worked regularly painting outdoor scenes with watercolors. 

New artists often have a chance at showing their work at Frausto's place. “Whenever anybody comes into the gallery I try to ask them if they are an artist. And I would say over 50 percent will be very shy about it, and say ‘no, not really.' When I ask to see their work it ends up many of them are worthy of hanging on the wall. So that’s sort of my mission with the gallery, is to encourage artists to continue with their art career and to give them an opportunity to show their work. So I do not have time to create art in the traditional way, but I consider myself creating art through others,” she said.

Rubio said much of his work is surreal, and he primarily works in oils. He has been painting for about five years, but has been drawing since he was two years old. When he was discharged from the military he used his benefits under the G.I. Bill to take lessons at an art school, and later attended art classes at a junior college. He served in combat in the 82nd Airborne in Baghdad. At the gallery, he said his work will directly reflect and convey emotions and feelings. 

When asked his thoughts on other veterans trying to make a living as artists, he offered advice. “You really got to work it,” he said. “It’s not just the art, it is the networking, I think that’s the most important. You gotta get out there.” 
Guitars for Vets Helps With PTSD
By Terri Hendry
(Gardnerville and Reno, NV) - A new program is expanding into northern Nevada. It's called Guitars for Vets and the website describes it this way; "Thousands of our war veterans are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But many are finding hope in an unlikely place; behind the wood and strings of an acoustic guitar. The healing power of music helps soldiers' cope. That's why we provide veterans with guitars and forum to learn how to play."

Gary Swift is the chapter coordinator for the Gardnerville Chapter of Guitars for Vets and Tim Berry is establishing a new Reno Chapter. Berry explains they work with VA social workers/therapists who refer veterans to the program as part of their rehabilitation plan as a form of recreation therapy. 

Veterans who are referred, take 10 weeks of lessons and at the end of those lessons receive a free guitar! Berry says there are 60 chapters in 30 states and the Gardnerville chapter is the first one in Nevada. It became official in January 2017. 

Check out this YouTube video:

For more information Swift can be reached at
And Berry at
New Department of Defense Guidelines on Sexual Orientation
By Rob Williams, Program Manager Unique Veteran Populations
(Statewide) - There are new Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines on sexual orientation, however, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and questioning (LGBTQ) veterans may not be aware these changes may benefit them. If they were discharged with a less-than-honorable discharge based on their sexual orientation, they may be eligible for a discharge upgrade.

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Since 2011, the DoD policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and preceding policies regarding sexual orientation, have been repealed. This means some veterans may be missing out on benefits, resources and programs earned through their military service. Nevada lawmakers sought to fill the information gap through SB 148. The unanimously passed measure directs the Nevada Department of Veterans Services to reach out to this unique veteran population to inform and educate them about the DoD changes that could impact them by improving their quality of life, correcting the record and restoring honor.

Today, any veteran with a less-than-honorable discharge based on sexual orientation may request a discharge upgrade provided there are no other "aggravating factors," including misconduct. Eligible veterans may also request a characterization upgrade, change of narrative in reason for discharge, change of separation (SPD) code and change of reentry/reenlistment code to all reflect an honorable discharge.

Many of these veterans may be missing out on benefits earned including receiving VA loans (to buy a home), the GI Bill (to pay for education), VA medical care, military burial and more. These discharge upgrades may also allow them to re-enlist in the military or serve in the reserves.

The VA and NDVS will be holding a free event for these veterans on November 9, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. inside the Reno VA Hospital (975 Kirman Avenue), in the Pharmacy sitting room. This event will assist these veterans in getting a military records review and filing for an upgrade. No appointment is necessary.

For more information contact NDVS Unique Veterans Population Program Manager, Rob Williams at 775-378-2959 or email him at
Northern Nevada Veterans Coalition is asking for your help with
Wreaths Across America

By Tom Draughton/Northern NV Veterans Coalition
(Fernley, NV) - The Wreaths Across America Ceremony is held at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley on the third Saturday of December. This year the ceremony will be held December 16 at 9:00 AM.

The Northern Nevada Veterans Coalition is asking for donations in order to place a "living" wreath on every gravesite at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery. For the past three years, that goal has been reached. This year the hope is to repeat that accomplishment; however, there are now more than 8,000 veterans interred at the Fernley cemetery.

These living wreaths are delivered in ice by volunteer truck drivers who deliver them two days prior to the service. There are more than 750 locations throughout the United States that participate in this ceremony every year, simultaneously at 12:00 PM, Eastern Time.

You can order a wreath by going to NNVC.ORG and clicking on the Wreaths Across America for the PDF Form or you can mail your donation to:

Nevada Veterans Coalition
P.O. Box 415
Fernley, NV 89408

Every penny received goes toward the purchase of a wreath. The price is $15 per wreath, and for every two wreaths purchased, the NVC receives one additional wreath, free of charge. For more information contact Tom Draughon at 775-835-3479 or email at  
Free Gift for Gulf War Veterans
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 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.
Buy a Veterans License Plate, Benefit Veterans
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:
Office of Military Legal Assistance

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 and visit 
November 7 th -  Women Veterans Town Hall and Networking Event
                           Reno VA, 975 Kirman Avenue, Reno
                           Town Hall- 10:00 AM – Noon
                           Networking- Noon – 2:00 PM
                           In the Tahoe Room
                           For more information call Francie Mahoney at 775-785-7225
November 9 th - LGBTQ Veterans Outreach/Are You Eligible for a
Discharge Upgrade?
·        New Sexual Orientation Guidelines from the
                                Department of Defense.
·        If you received a less than honorable discharge due to sexual orientation, this may impact you!
                           Reno VA, 975 Kirman Avenue, Reno
                           In front of the Pharmacy sitting area
                           9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
                           For more information contact Rob Williams at 7750378-2959 or
                           Email at 
Veteran Service Officers

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