Nevada Department of Veterans Services Newsletter September 2017 
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By Terri Hendry
(Sparks, NV) – The heavy equipment is now busy moving earth at the site of the new Northern Nevada State Veterans Home at 2 Kietzke Lane in Sparks, Nevada. The 96-bed skilled-nursing facility is slated for a ribbon cutting in December of 2018.

The new facility will fill a much needed gap in skilled-nursing care for veterans in northern Nevada. Right now the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City is the lone facility of its kind in the Silver State. Unfortunately, it is at capacity and until the new home is built, northern Nevada veterans are being placed in nursing homes under contract with the Veterans Administration which means sometimes they are placed in homes located out-of-state, including California, Utah and Idaho. "This takes them away from their family, loved ones and community at a time they need them the most," said Wendy Simons, Deputy Director of Wellness for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

By Terri Hendry
(Washington, D.C.) – Nevada Senator Dean Heller is giving VA Secretary David Shulkin an earful. He's urging Shulkin to fulfill the VA's commitment to provide matching funds for the new Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks.

The Skilled-Care facility to provide care for northern Nevada veterans who want to remain close their family, friends and neighbors. The 102,000 square-foot facility will include 96 beds for veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents. It will house a physical therapy center, dining hall, chapel, activity center and more. A ribbon cutting is expected in December of 2018.

Heller notes the new facility is poised to have a large impact on the nearly 80,000 veterans currently living in northern Nevada. Right now, the only veterans' home in the state is located in Boulder City, which is nearly 500 miles away from northern Nevada and it is at maximum capacity.

Excerpts from the Washington Post, and Stars and Stripes
(Washington, D.C.) – On August 12, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a $3.9 billion dollar funding deal for the Department of Veterans Affairs. It will shore up the nearly bankrupt Veterans Choice Program and allow the VA to open 28 new clinics and implement a new hiring program.

The bill is a compromise, created and supported by both Democrats and Republicans. It authorizes $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek health care outside of the VA. It will also invest $1.8 billion into hiring health care providers and leasing new clinics.

By Terri Hendry
( Washington, D.C.) – Veterans groups and advocates are thrilled the new "Forever" GI Bill is now law. The bipartisan legislation greatly expands education benefits for eligible veterans and enhances the post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Among other things, it does away with a 15-year deadline for veterans to use education money and it allows all Purple Heart recipients to receive full benefits.

Previously, veterans had to use their Post 9/11 G.I. Bill within 15 years of the last 90-day period. That requirement is going away. This portion of the law will apply to anyone who left the military after January 1, 2013. It will also apply to spouses who are receiving education benefits through the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship for family members of service members who have been killed in the line of duty since September 10, 2001.

In a Town Hall meeting in Minden, Nevada on August 29, 2017, some older veterans asked Congressman Mark Amodei to look into expanding the benefit even more so older veterans could take advantage and go back to school. The bill is named after Harry Colmery, the main framer of the original G.I .Bill of Rights in 1944. The legislation was co-sponsored by Nevada Senator Dean Heller and includes three of his provisions that will benefit Nevada’s veteran and military communities.
By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) - Veterans in Care (VIC) is the only program of its kind in the nation. It's helping identify veterans who are not in the VA system, connecting them to the benefits they've earned and providing better care through specialized training for caregivers. What's more, it provides an opportunity to recognize, honor and thank aging veterans before they're gone. Since its inception in the Spring of 2016, VIC has honored and identified 1,200 veterans, including 400 WWII vets. One lady vet identified was 107-years-young!

By Terri Hendry
(Carson City, NV) When the 2017 Nevada Legislature was in session, Major Kevin Burns, United States Marine Corps, Retired, kicked it into high gear. As one of the founders of the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC), he lobbied lawmakers and testified on behalf of legislation benefiting veterans. He also worked to keep the veterans' community informed on bills and votes impacting them. But Burns' passion for helping veterans extends beyond the Nevada State Legislative Building. He's the coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center at Western Nevada College, which he helped establish in January 2013. He also helped implement the Veterans Integration Program at the Warm Springs Correctional Center.   

For his work and dedication to improving the lives of Nevada's veterans, Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Department of Veterans Services are pleased to announce Burns received the "Veteran of the Month" award and recognition on Monday, August 21, 2017.

The special ceremony for Burns recognizes his continuing contributions to his fellow veterans and the community. In the 79 th Legislative Session, Burns served as Chairman for the UVLC testifying on more than 32 bills. Some of his accomplishments include getting veterans' support for full funding of the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home, tuition waivers for veterans, and veteran suicide awareness training requirements. In the session prior, Burns served as Vice-Chair for the UVLC in the 78 th Legislative Session.

In addition to serving as coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center at Western Nevada College, Burns is also the Faculty Adviser for the Student Veterans Club. His stated mission is to assist veterans and their families in the transition to the civilian world and the world of higher education. He has emphasized to his student veterans the importance of getting involved in the community. He regularly provides counseling to active duty military and National Guard members about educational opportunities when they are separating from service.

Burns' Veterans Integration Program at Warm Springs was launched in January 2016. The program allows inmates to work towards an Associate of General Education while incarcerated. To help the inmates pay for the courses, Burns assisted in organizing a Memorial Day Barbeque in May 2016 raising nearly $4,500, supporting courses for 15 veterans.

Burns is a member of the Carson City American Legion Capitol Post 4 and the Marine Corps League 630 Silver State Detachment in Carson City. Through those service organizations, he annually participates in the Nevada Day Parade, Memorial Day events and Veterans Day activities. He is also a supporter of endeavors such as the Suicide Awareness March as well as the American Legion High School Oratorical contest.
The Veteran of the Month is sponsored through the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. The awards are part of the Governor's commitment to make Nevada the "friendliest State in the nation" to its military community and veterans. 
By Terri Hendry
(Carson City, NV) The Douglas County non-profit, Welcome All Veterans Everywhere (WAVE) is a veterans' outreach program. It provides a one-stop-shop point of contact for any issue affecting a veteran or their family. WAVE helps veterans receive all the benefits they deserve from the VA, Douglas County, State and federal governments. WAVE also transports veterans to appointments at the Reno VA hospital eye center, and provides local transportation to the VA clinic, grocery store, and food closet. Additionally, members help veterans find apartments and help move veterans to their new quarters. One unique aspect about the organization is once a veteran's needs are assessed and verified, assistance is immediate.

Because of its dedication and commitment to serve Nevada veterans, Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Department of Veterans Services and are pleased to announce WAVE received the "Veteran of the Month" award and recognition on Monday, August 21, 2017.

The WAVE Committee meets on the second Monday of every month at 1 p.m. at the Douglas County Community Center, located at 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, NV. 89410. If you're hungry, the committee members invite you to lunch prior, but say you have to arrive by 11:30 a.m. because the cafeteria fills up quickly! 

The Veteran Supporter of the Month award is sponsored through the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. The awards are part of the Governor's commitment to make Nevada the "friendliest State in the nation" to its military community and veterans. 
By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) - The American Legion's largest annual meeting is its national convention. This year, the 99th national convention took place in Reno, Nevada from August 18-24 th . In addition to the attendees, the event attracted national attention and special appearances from President Donald Trump and VA Secretary David Shulkin. Both spoke to the crowd on topics important to both veterans and military members alike. After his speech, the President signed into law a bill aiding veterans seeking help for disabilities. Essentially it streamlines the process in appealing a claim for disability benefits. (Read more about the new law by clicking here:

By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) – The Veterans Guest House in Reno provides a temporary "home" to military members, veterans and their families at a time they need it most; when a loved one is sick and needs care. The non-profit provides a safe, clean place to stay overnight when a veteran, military member or immediate family member is undergoing treatment at a medical facility in the Reno-Sparks area. 

According to the Guest House, the typical guest resides at least 35 miles away. They can be in the military or a veteran, a family member of a veteran who is hospitalized or an immediate family member of veteran receiving medical care. The Guest House will soon be able to serve even more families.

By Chuck N. Baker
(North Las Vegas, NV) - Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth did not serve in the military. But they loved America and they admired the sacrifices made by the men and women who served in the nation’s armed forces. More than just admiration, they knew that the freedom experienced by individuals all over the country was due to the fact that enlistees and draftees were willing to risk it all to keep freedom alive. From New York to California, from Boston to Boulder City, veterans deserved the benefits that they earned. 

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs continues year after year to offer new benefits to returning soldiers. However, there was one area not scheduled to be addressed by the federal government. When returning warriors needed to be checked into a Department of Defense or a VA medical facility for an extended period, their families often did not have the finances required to travel to distant cities to visit them. And there was the issue of large hotel bills in order for the families to be close to their family members. So Zachary and his wife went out and did something about it.

In 1991 they opened a home for such families at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. What began as one facility has grown exponentially nationwide. Today thousands of families are well aware of the program, because they or other relatives of theirs have stayed at a Fisher House. Through a foundation that was established, families with military relations at select medical facilities can check into a Fisher House at no charge whatsoever. They live in private guest suites that are professionally decorated and furnished. Such amenities as common kitchens, spacious dining rooms, computer access and more are also provided. 

In Southern Nevada, a Fisher House is located on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs clinic, at Pecos Road and Interstate 215. The facility is so inviting, writers such as myself sometimes think we’d prefer to move into one of the spacious rooms rather than return to our homes! 

Nevada’s Fisher House is under the care of Manager Cadie Franco. She said that if families meet the required qualifications, those who are able to stay at the facility include immediate family — parents, children, sisters, brothers — and even care givers. “Whoever their primary support person is,” said Franco. While full blown meals are not traditionally available, the Southern Nevada location makes partial exceptions. “Because of our (remote) location there are not a lot of services nearby. So we do try to keep basic food supplies on hand,” Franco said. Food is often donated, and groceries are purchased with donated funds. Community groups sometimes come in and prepare meals for residents, including contingents from Nellis Air Force Base, Shadow Hills Church, Wells Fargo bank and others. 

Building the Fisher House was not an easy task. Many veterans groups worked with the VA to raise funds and convince the Fisher Foundation that the Las Vegas area needed such a building. Before the current VA clinic was built, the largest qualified feeder medical facility would have been the O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis. That hospital has families of its patients staying at Fisher House, along with families of relatives at the VA clinic. Franco said one of the groups that was instrumental in bringing the facility to the Silver State was the Nevada Military Support Alliance. “They went to work raising the money necessary to have the (Fisher) trust foundation build the house here,” she noted. “They reached their goal and got to the top of the list, and the house was built,” she added. 

The facility is operated by Franco and three other full-time employees, along with volunteers. Anyone who would like to volunteer can call Franco at (702) 224-6789. Volunteers receive training at the VA clinic, and provide a variety of services. Franco said they might be asked to give tours, or sometimes bake treats for residents in the modern kitchen, or perform other tasks. Monetary donations are also appreciated.

To get a first-hand look at the facility, the community is invited to an annual Open House each September. This year it’s on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a free BBQ and entertainment. Today the Fisher Foundation is operated by members of Zachary and Elizabeth’s family, who carry on the patriotic tradition of the founders. To quote the late patriarch, helping service members and their families is what drives the charitable mission. He said the work and services provided is “Dedicated to our greatest national treasure … our military service men women and their loved ones.”

When veterans and active duty military personnel need help, it’s very common for other veterans and service people to step up to lend their collective hands. Providing assistance to their fellow brothers and sisters is ingrained in the hearts and minds of America’s military culture. And while it’s not totally out of the ordinary for non-military men and women to step in and supply aid and comfort, there are some who have gone to great lengths to do so. While Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher have long since departed this world, their legacy of help and assistance continues to provide dividends for thousands of veterans — and of additional importance — their families. 
By Chuck N. Baker
(Las Vegas, Nevada) - In a vintage episode of the television series,“The Twilight Zone,”a combat soldier returns home and finds he has the mental ability to conjure up all kinds of military vehicles and armaments from different wars, out of thin air. In his case, bringing forth Jeeps and tanks eventually turned sinister, ending in a bad result. Today if you see a convoy of military vehicles from different wars heading down a Nevada highway, chances are it is the collection of the Southern Nevada Military Vehicles Association and unlike that eerie television episode, its members are friendly.

The Association vehicles include a number of WWII vehicles and others from the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. From a tank moving tractor and its low-boy trailer, to Jeeps, Army mules, motorcycles, and mess trailers used to take food out to the troops. if it moves, it’s eligible.

By Bobi Pike Oates
(Las Vegas, NV) – The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation has a new ambassador in the Las Vegas area. She is Senior Master Sergeant Bobi Pike Oates, USAF, retired.

In her new role, Oates wants to increase outreach and spread the word about the Memorial and its mission. She also wants to ensure the Memorial stays open as funding problems continue to plague the nation's only Women's Memorial honoring military women in all branches of service. 

By Terri Hendry
(Elko, NV) – You may want to mark your calendar and then, watch this space! Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11 this year. As always, there are many activities and events across the state and nation to mark the occasion. If you know of an event, let us know so we can spread the word and place the event on our website!

By Terri Hendry
(Minden, NV) – Grab your rod and reel and get ready for a day of fun while helping out the non-profit, Welcome All Veterans Everywhere (WAVE).

WAVE is hosting a Fishing Derby on Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Topaz Lake. (Look for the WAVE check-in information tent!)

By Armed Forces and Military Veterans Appreciation Inc. 
(Las Vegas, NV) – Preparations are underway for the 3 rd annual Nellis/Creech and Military Veterans Appreciation Day. This year the big event in North Las Vegas is set for September 9 th at Craig Regional Park from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The event recognizes the sacrifices and dedication of the men and women who serve our country. It will pay tribute to all active and retired military personnel, first responders and their immediate families. As part of its “Thank You Celebration,” a free lunch will be provided to all attendees. All guests must bring their valid first responder identification, military identification or veteran’s card.

By Terri Hendry
(Las Vegas, NV) – You don't have to be a marathoner to run this race and show your support for America's service members. The 3 rd Annual "Challenge a Troop" 5K/1M Benefiting the USO, race is set for September 30 at Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. The race itself starts at 9:00 a.m.

Organizers of the event say you can run, walk, or even skip through the custom built course. There will be food, games, a vendor fair, complimentary post-race mimosa, beer garden, and live entertainment. All racers will also receive a finishing medal and free USO 5K t-shirt.

By Cathy Yates
(Reno, Las Vegas, NV) – The volunteers with the Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA) program are passionate about helping veterans. They've not only completed a 20-hour online course and received certification, but many have been saying they wanted to do more! NDVS wants those NVA's to know, we heard you! So NDVS is now involving NVA's in community events to provide veteran outreach. We invite you to become an NVA and join in the fun.

By Cathy Yates
(Las Vegas, NV) – Three AmeriCorps members. Each served Nevada's veterans in different ways. All made a difference.

Marianne Revay helped incarcerated veterans at the Nevada Department of Corrections at High Desert Prison. She assisted in connecting them to benefits and receiving additional education to help them transition once they served their time. She also helped with many NDVS outreach events.

By Terri Hendry
(Carson City, NV) – This month there will be a new resource for veterans and their families to receive news and information. Sierra Nevada Media is launching a new magazine, "Veterans & Valor." It will be included as an "insert" in several newspapers including; the "Nevada Appeal," the "Record-Courier," and the Lahontan Valley News."

The "Veterans & Valor" editor is highly respected, recently retired news reporter Steve Ranson. Ranson who also retired from a career in the U.S. Army as a Lt. Colonel has a lot of ideas up his sleeve for the new magazine .  
( – Female Marines were given the opportunity and now is reporting 300 of these women are taking on the challenge. The online military magazine is reporting there are 278 female Marines now filling combat positions. There are positions formerly reserved for men. Additionally 40 female recruits are under contract for these jobs according the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps speaking to reporters in early August.

By Terri Hendry
(Reno, NV) – Go fetch your calendar for this one! It’s the Rotary Club of Reno Centennial Sunset's "Dogs of Rotary" event coming up September 30 th . The fun event has a serious, heartwarming cause. It provides service dogs to veterans.

The event is a lot of fun and the participants behind it bring wit and humor to the cause. For example, are you a lead dog? Maybe you're a big dog! Or bet you're good dog! Those are some of the levels for sponsorships.

By Terri Hendry
(Gardnerville, NV) – NDVS would not normally share information about animals up for adoption, but this is an unusual case. Kodac is a qualified PTSD service dog and is available for adoption by a qualified veteran. You must demonstrate proof from the VA or other medical physician you would be eligible for a PTSD service dog in order to adopt him. We're told he would be especially good for a female veteran who is a survivor of military sexual trauma as he provides comfort and a feeling of safety.

Kodac is a male Pitbull/Mastiff mix, 4-years-old, housebroken, neutered, great with kids, and great with friendly dogs. He is not so good with cats, but he does get along with small dogs.

He likes to swim and play. He would need a fenced in yard. He is affectionate and would need a lifelong companion who would need and could use his special gifts and training.

Please call Ted at 775-392-0354 or email him at for more information. 
If you’re a Gulf War veteran or have a loved one who served in that conflict, you are 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.
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:
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 
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.
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