Nevada Department of Veterans Services Newsletter                       August 2016 
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Reaching Nevada veterans across the state is near impossible without the help of the world wide web. As a significant tool, relays critical updates, important outreach details, and vital support with crucial links to resources. It  is the platform that offers an estimated 250,000 veterans, their family members, and active military an information lifeline.

After nearly a year in development, the NDVS website 2.0 conversion offers more 'real-time' access to assistance than ever before. Take advantage of this resource. Get familiar with it and participate in the active features it offers, including:

Simply go to the Home page and click the Ask a VSO button. Veterans Service Officers are here to help. To contact a VSO, fill out the confidential form. Your question will be answered by a NDVS Accredited VSO.

To find VSO Locations across the Silver state, hit the Veterans Service Officer button found next to the Ask A VSO button.

NV VetNet - Sign Up NOW
With input from veterans across the state, NDVS is taking NV VetNet  to the next virtual level. After months of reimaging and populating, we are 'live.'

Next-level efforts focus on added functionality, fresh and refreshed content, and a revised 2.0 NV VetNet (Formerly GreenZone).  NV VetNet encourages Veterans, Family/Friends, Service Providers, and Community Supporters to actively post and participate in sharing information and reaching out to the wider community.

For those individuals or organizations already signed up with the online community, formerly known as GreenZone Network, the data has automatically been transferred. However, it's a good idea to review or update content.

Click here to be redirected to the NV VetNet link to register in the category matching your personal or organization designation of Veteran, Family Member, Service Provider, or Veteran Supporter.
“I was thinking about her and her life today — she truly used her art to teach, to comfort, to witness. There’s a hole in the soul of the universe…” Marilee Swirczek

These are words that our beloved wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, teacher and friend wrote upon the death of Maya Angelou. These words resonate in our hearts today as we mourn the loss of our beautiful Marilee. Marilee Swirczek was born November 23, 1947 in Sharon, Pennsylvania to Alice and Peter Rocco.

S he grew up in Pennsylvania, received her Master of Education degree and began teaching. She served on the Carson City Board of Supervisors from 1987-1990. She became a professor at Western Nevada College (WNC) in 1990. Her accomplishments include: Lone Mountain Writers (creative writing group) and as founder of "Always Lost: A Meditation on War," a national touring art and humanities exhibit on the loss of war. 

Photo: Ms. Swirczek is flanked by Amy Roby, Former Program Manager for  "Always Lost" and Kevin Burns, Coordinator for the Veterans Center at WNC.   Click for the rest of the story.
U.S. Marine Veteran Bruno Moya leads 1,500 student veterans at the University of Nevada Las Vegas as president of the Rebels Veterans Organization. But working toward his Masters Degree in Psychology, following a Bachelors degree in Social Work, Moya focuses best on one Las Vegas vet at a time.   Moya was honored by Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison (pictured with the Moya family) and NDVS Deputy Director Kathleen Dussault July 12  in Las Vegas. July's Nevada Veteran of the Month also volunteers at the UNLV Vet Center and in the PAVE program (Peer Advising for Veterans Education).

Moya believes there is great value in working closely with returning veterans who seek guidance in their choice of studies, while navigating a complex civilian world.   "We work with vets to link them up with available resources and information outside of the University," said Moya. "The issues can range from needing a month's rent covered, paperwork issues, legal assistance, benefit packages for their education, and helping them manage extenuating circumstances.

"One vet was having a tough time transitioning," he recalled. "He was getting divorced and failing his classes. I helped him write a letter to his instructors."   The veteran salvaged his classes and got himself back on track. "I facilitate to get veterans out of a crisis," he added, "and help them graduate."  

The Texas native, who has called Las Vegas home since age six, shipped out with the U.S. Marine Corps 15 days after graduation from Clark High School. Assigned to a reserve unit in Las Vegas, Fox Co. 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines, his battalion was activated in the weeks following 9-11. Deployed in Kuwait in 2003 and part of the Iraq invasion, he also served three years as a Marine Combat Instructor.  

His veterans community service activities and public policy passion lead to an invitation to President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address. He also served as chairman to Senator Dean Heller's Veterans Advisory Committee in 2015.  

While there are many community needs for a dedicated social worker, Bruno believes that veterans will always be a part of his public service focus.
Jessica Landram is unbelievably busy.  She is going to school to finish her Master's Degree in social work.  She holds down a part time job.  And if that wasn't enough, five days a week she works at the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, in Las Vegas.  Landram is a VISTA Member.       

If you are not familiar with the AmeriCorpsVISTA program, you should be.  Americans all across the country volunteer for this federal program, under Corporation of National and Community Service (CNS).  Think of it as a domestic Peace Corps.    

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services is now employing four exceptional AmeriCorps/VISTA men and women, and will soon be adding a fifth.  AmeriCorps VISTA is one iteration of AmeriCorps. In September, with the addition of at least 15 AmeriCorps State-National Volunteers (people who interact directly with those in need), NDVS will be one of only a few organizations nationally to run both programs simultaneously. AmeriCorpsVISTA members receive a stipend monthly for their service and earn an educational award or additional year-end stipend, so money certainly isn't the allure.  Why does Landram and others volunteer?   

"I was looking for an opportunity to better serve my community and be involved in the Las Vegas area in a more meaningful capacity," she says.   

Working with the veteran population is another perk, particularly for those with a family who have served in the military.  One of the most rewarding aspects about being a volunteer is, "being involved with a population that is not only in need but is very appreciative of the help," says Landram, who is in the middle of her year-long commitment.   "As well as working with a great team."     

Landram has already performed stellar work with the various programs within NDVS, but states her biggest accomplishment to-date is becoming a Nevada Veterans Advocate.  With Nevada's veteran population estimated to be 250,000, and more arriving all the time, the efforts of Landram and all other VISTA/State-National members are welcomed indeed.      
                  -- Blake Boles, NDVS PIO, Southern Nevada

ED. NOTE: This is the first of a series of NDVS AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer profiles planned for future newsletters. Americans volunteer for AmeriCorpsVISTA program, a federal program, under the umbrella of Corporation of National and Community Service (CNS).  Volunteers come from all walks of life to serve the underprivileged, build capacity, and foster goodwill for the organizations they represent. AmeriCorpsVISTA is one component of AmeriCorps' National Service and serves as capacity builders. AmeriCorps volunteers provide direct service support and receive a stipend monthly for their service and earn an educational award (used for tuition assistance for two terms) or an additional year-end stipend.  

Initiative Supports Vets, Caregivers in Care Facilities Across Nevada

NDVS is expanding its reach to community partners who provide care and services to our veterans.  A new initiative was launched, with a multi-year plan to locate, support, and recognize veterans that may not be aware of the programs and services that NDVS has to offer, and perhaps VA benefits they may be eligible for which to apply. 

This initiative is called "Veterans In Care" or "VIC".  The initial reach has been to 417 licensed skilled nursing and residential care/assisted living facilities who may have veterans in residence.  NDVS' preliminary data has located 726 veterans statewide residing in 52 reporting facilities. 

Of those 726, only 102 are noted to be receiving medical care from the two VA hospitals, and only 125 have been reported to be receiving the "aid and attendance" benefit from the VA.

As part of our wellness support, NDVS will be visiting the reporting facilities to officially recognize those veterans as "Nevada's Heroes", and to offer benefit education and future training on military culture to the provider industry.   

Watch for each  month's updates as we discover and recognize our many veterans who so proudly served our country. 

Gelinger Presents Before American Legion's National Convention

NSVH Administrator, Linda Gelinger, recently presented  at the National Convention for the American Legion held in Las Vegas on July 16th, 2016, at the request of  National Executive Committeeman, Ron Michalski.  She gave an overview of the Nevada State Veterans Home and the many engaging programs and activities that are offered at the Home.  

Home Renovations Designed to Enhance Residents' Experience

The NSVH continues to rank in the top tier of the Pinnacle Customer Experience feedback program.   Many new renovations have begun at the Home, and numerous program expansions are underway to enrich the lives of the Veterans, Spouses and families under Linda's leadership.  Plans are underway for the annual "Veterans Olympics" that are being held at the Home in August.

                  -- Wendy Simons, Deputy Director of Health and Wellness

Read the latest Veterans Spirit by clicking on the image above to 'meet' the newest residents, learn about special events set for this quarter, enjoy photos, meet staff and volunteers, and read Chaplain Bob Nycek's column.
Join the NSVH Residents and Staff, Director Kat Miller, Deputy Director of Wellness Wendy Simons, and Deputy Director of Programs & Services Kathleen Dussault for the Home's 14th Anniversary. Click the image above to expand.
Members of NDVS reached out late-July to staff of Nevada's Aging and Disability Services Division to share knowledge of veteran culture, care needs, and the complexities of the accredited claims process.

"We recognize that Aging and Disability Resources Center (ADRC) clients are oftentimes our clients as well," explained Veterans Advocacy and Support Team (VAST) Program Director, Steve Sitton. "To explore the unique needs of veterans and the impact on families makes sense in improving the quality and depth of care these special needs veterans demonstrate. Whether in our aging vet population, those with combat-related disabilities or those asking for life skills assistance, this information is vital for veterans and their family members."

To further reach veterans in rural and frontier regions, VAST Veteran Service Officers are in the field meeting veterans with ROVER, a statewide outreach effort (see schedule and appointment procedure, below). 

Presenters of the three-day workshop series, held in Reno, (l to r): Seth Flatley, Accredited Veterans Service Officer; Connie Johnson, NDVS research analyst; VAST Director Sitton; and Penny Babe, Accredited Veterans Service Officer. Participating in the workshop was Pamela Roberts, VAST Administrative Assistant.

Plans are underway to replicate the workshop for aging and disability professionals in the Las Vegas area.
The Women's Veterans Informer, August 2016, is available and posted on the NDVS website.
Below is a FAQ story on the Women Veterans Call Center: how to use it, what it offers. 
ROVER VSO Outreach Locations Across  Nevada in July

Central Region
AUSTIN, every even-numbered month on the 3rd Wednesday
GARDNERVILLE, monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month 
HAWTHORNE, monthly on the 1st Thursday of the month
SILVER SPRINGS, monthly on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.  This also includes Yerington, Dayton, Mason, Weed Heights, Fernley.

To make a VSO appointment for any of the above locations in Central Region, call 775-321-4880.  Personnel can give specific information on Austin and also the rest of these locations for these appointments, and the Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who will serve you.  

Northern Region
BATTLE MOUNTAIN, monthly on the 2nd Friday of the month
ELY, monthly on the 1st Friday of the month
W. WENDOVER, monthly on the 3rd Friday of the month
WINNEMUCCA, monthly on the 2nd Tuesday of the month
All of these locations are through Interactive Video (IAV) at the Great Basin Colleges. 

To make a VSO appointment for any of the above locations in the Northern Region, call 775-777-1000.  Personnel can give specific information on the locations for these appointments and the Veterans Service Office (VSO) who will serve you.  

Southern Region
BEATTY, monthly on the 2nd Thursday of the month
LAUGHLIN, monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month
MESQUITE, monthly on the 1st Tuesday and 3rd Thursday of the month
PAHRUMP, monthly on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday every week of the month
TONOPAH, monthly on the 3rd Thursday of the month

To make a VSO appointment for any of the location listed in the Southern Region, call 702-224-6025. Personnel will give you specific information on the locations for these appointments and the Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who will serve you.

The proud 99th Air Base Wing bid farewell to its outgoing commander, and extended a hearty welcome to its new commander in a change-of-command ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base July 15. 

Colonel Richard H. Boutwell had led 'The 99' since June, 2014, having come straight from his two- year stint at the Pentagon.  He was effusive in his praise of the men and women who had served under him during his tenure, and was grateful, he said, "for all their incredible effort." 

The Presiding Officer of the ceremony, Major General Glen D. VanHerck, likewise heaped praise on the outgoing commander, and spent considerable time recalling Col. Boutwell's accomplishments.  He also warned the incoming commander that he had some incredibly big shoes to fill.     

Taking over for Col. Boutwell is Col. Paul J. Murray.  Murray, who for a time was in charge of all Air Force Combat Controllers in Iraq and has logged over 580 combat hours in an F-16, was visibly excited, bouncing up and down on his heels as he began to speak. 

A touching moment was made of a rather rote part of change-of-command ceremonies: during one part of the incumbent's speech, airmen will usually bring over bouquets to his or her family members.  Col. Murray stopped his speech, and hand delivered the bouquets himself.  This took some time, as over 10 members of his family -- including his 92-year old grandmother -- attended.
                    -- Blake Boles, NDVS PIO, Southern Nevada
The towns of Laughlin, NV and Bullhead City, AZ are separated by a vein of the Colorado River, which descends from Lake Mohave from the north.  Its refreshing waters shimmer like a turquoise dagger through the heart of the surrounding arid land.  Despite such a stunning, dramatic boundary, both towns on either side could be considered one borough.  This is why: on June 29, several top-ranking officials from the Veterans Affairs Hospital in North Las Vegas hosted a town hall meeting in Bullhead City focused on the Laughlin community. 

Billed as an opportunity to ask several questions, the tightly controlled setting soon turned into a free-wheeling, wide-ranging discussion between administrators, doctors, and the few, disgruntled residents.  VA Hospital Director Peggy Kearns and her colleagues deftly answered questions in the face of fierce denunciation centered on several key issues.  Of particular concern is Laughlin doesn't have a VA doctor for its VA Clinic, a fact that Director Kearns acknowledged. 

"It's very difficult to get qualified staff to move down here," Kearns admitted.  "If you guys have any ideas on how to help us do that, please let me know." 

Accusations ranged from the VA looking to close the Laughlin Clinic (they aren't), to the Choice Program  described as "a nightmare" (to which many agreed), to the claim that the VA is "killing veterans" by not referring them to other facilities.   There were calls to fire all of Congress and start over.      

Anthony Roeback of the Veterans Benefits Administration disputed much of the characterization of the VA's efforts. 

"We are doing a great job," he said, as the locals allowed themselves to slowly nod, eventually to be won over.  "We are at functional zero for appointments over 120 days.  Is it perfect?  No.  But we are doing amazing things with what we have."      

Other topics centered on the VA's efforts to increase telehealth to rural communities, promoting their Veterans Traveling Program, and their battle to stem an opiate addiction epidemic.  Not every problem was resolved, but many of the issues fueling resentment in the local veteran community were heard, validated, and addressed.  For the residents of Laughlin and Bullhead City, it's a start.    
                  -- Blake Boles, NDVS PIO, Southern Nevada
The Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance (OMLA) provides pro bono (free) legal assistance and representation to active duty, reserve and National Guard service members in a wide area of civil law matters. The OMLA also currently provides assistance to veterans with wills and powers of attorney.

The OMLA is a comprehensive, statewide program combining the joint efforts of legal aid organizations, private sponsors and the State Bar of Nevada to address the need for affordable legal representation in our military communities.

In order to receive legal assistance from this program, active military and reserve service members should seek referral from their respective Judge Advocate General. Veterans should seek referral from their respective Veterans Services Office. Click here for the statewide listing.

                              OMLA workshops scheduled through 2016
Pahrump                               July 30                          10-4                Veteran's Service Office

Carson City                           August 20                    10-4                Carson City Sheriff's Office

Las Vegas                             August 27                      10-4                American Legion

Hawthorne                            September 10             10-3                Hawthorne Library

Henderson                            September 24               10-4                American Legion 

Mesquite                               October 08                  10-2                Veteran's Center

Humboldt                              October 15                   10-4               National Guard Armory

Douglas County                     November 5               10-4               Gardnerville Community Center

Yerington                               December 3               10-4               Yerington Public Library  

The Warrior of the Canyon event, Aug. 27, includes a 5.5-mile walk open to all veterans, active duty military, and their families. The 13-mile  run and cycle events are open only to veterans to the top of the summit.  Awards for the first, second and third place finishes in the run and cycle group will be presented.            
The start of the event is at the School House in the city of Lamoille at 07:30 and finishes at the top of Lamoille canyon. Rest rooms and water will be free along the 3 routes all the way to the top. (5500 feet up to the top at 8800 feet).

The  School house area will be site of a noon bar-b-cue following the sports event. Tethered hot air balloon rides and games with prizes for the kids, and fire trucks and  SWAT vehicles will be part of the festivities.

Event sponsors are: Clif, Great Basin College Veterans Resource Center, VFW Post 2350, NDVS, Northeastern Nevada Veterans Resource Group (NNVRG), General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) - Lamoille Women's Club, Performance Athletic Club, Smithworks Engraving and Fabrication, Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival, American Legion Post 32, Great Basin Elks Lodge 1472, Elko Lions Club 2753, Greater Elko Transit, Elko County Sheriff, Nevada Highway Patrol, City of Elko Fire Department, Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Team Rubicon, and T-Rix Bikes.

Warrior of the Canyon has its own Facebook event page. Go to:

Use NDVS Facebook to Share Your Services, Programs, Legislative Developments, Special Events 

More is better, and never has the adage been more true than providing updates, information, links and support for veterans, active military, and their families. Facebook provides the platform for sharing dates of local and regional events, breaking legislative news from the State and Washington, veterans organization programs, need-to-know benefits and claims items and postings from veterans throughout Nevada.

In order for Facebook to reach a greater audience, we ask you to 'LIKE' the NDVS Facebook page and share what you see, hear, and learn with your Nevada veteran family.


  3           Henderson Resource and Career Fair @ 9am-12pm
             Nevada State College, 1125 Nevada State Drive, Henderson, NV   89002  
           Nellis AFB Employment Seminar @ 11am-12pm
             Nellis Airman & Family Readiness Center Building, 
             4311 N. Washington Blvd. Nellis AFB, NV 89191
4            Veterans Transition Resource Center Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting,
             12 - 4pm, 2550 Nature Park Drive, Suite 200
             Rally Point Six Grand Opening, 12 - 2pm, Las Vegas (final address TBD) 
4-5        Hot August Nights VAST Outreach - Reno ( Numerous Locations)
             Cootie Picnic - Reno VA Medical Center 11am-12:30pm
           975 Kirman Ave, Reno, NV 89502
6            US Vets - Veteran Achievement and Partner Recognition Ceremony
             11am-1pm, Texas Station, Dallas Ballroom, 2101 Texas Star Lane, N Las Vegas
10         Nevada State Veterans Home 14th Anniversary Celebration,
             Boulder City,  5 - 6 pm, 100 Veterans Memorial Drive, Boulder City, NV
11         Veteran Recognition (VIC) Event  - Lake Mead Health & Rehab, 10 :15-11:15am,
             1180 Lake Mead Pkwy Trail, Henderson, NV 89015 
           Veteran Recognition (VIC) Event - Prestige Assisted Living at Mira Loma , 2-4pm,
             2520 Wigwam Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89074

12         Reno-Sparks Congressional Town Hall Meeting  9:30am-12:30pm,                                                        Sparks City Council Chambers, 431 Prater Way, Sparks, NV 89432            

             Veteran Recognition (VIC) Event - C arson Valley Senior Living Facility, 11am-noon
            1189 Kimmerling Rd, Gardnerville, NV 89460  
             Veteran Recognition (VIC) Event - Brookdale Senior Living, 2-4pm
            1565-A Virginia Ranch Rd, Gardnerville, NV 89410            
17         NEW VA Dental Clinic Grand Opening (Reno-Sparks) 
19         Veteran Recognition (VIC) Event - Brookdale Senior Living, 1:30-3:30pm,           
             1565-A Virginia Ranch Rd, Gardnerville, NV 89410
27         Warrior of the Canyon, Lamoille, NV
27-28     Volunteer Safety Training Weekend at NV Northern Railway,
              1100 Ave. A, Ely, NV
Aug 27-Sept 5      Elko County Fair & Horse Races (Veteran Service Officer onsite to answer                                         questions), 13 Fairgrounds Rd. Elko, NV
31          Cosmopolitan Veterans & Military Families Career Fair, 10am - 1pm
             5170 W. Badura Ave.  Henderson, NV
2-6       Numaga Days Powwow. Hungry Valley Indian Reservation 
9           Homeless Veteran River Walk Event, Truckee River, Reno
14-18     Paralympics - Military Sports Camp hosted by the City of Reno  (multiple locations)
23         Stand Down - Reno, HCHV Outreach Center, 350 Capitol Hill
29         Veterans Guest House - "Boots Meet Fashion" Champagne Luncheon &
             Fashion Show, 11-1:30pm, Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino
3           Wellness Recovery Plan , VAMC Northeast Primary Care Clinic, Las Vegas
4            Pathways to Recovery,  Las Vegas VAMC Northwest Primary Care Clinic
5           Anger Management Group  10-11:30am,  Las Vegas VA Medical Center -
             Women's Health Center
6           Support and Family Education,  Las Vegas VAMC Northwest Primary Care Clinic 
8           Al Porta Memorial Golf Toumey to support Reno's, Veterans Guest House,                                          Silver Oak Golf Course   
Veteran Supporter of the Month Guidelines The Veteran Supporter of the Month (VSM) award recognizes both active organizations and non-veteran Nevada community members that provide exceptional support to military stationed in Nevada, Nevada veterans, and their families. (The first VSM honor was given to the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial Foundation - see in this NDVS newsletter.) The program is administered by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. Read the VSM Guidelines VSM Guidelines here.

Veteran of the Month Guidelines and Nomination Forms The Veteran of the Month  (VOM) award recognizes Nevada veterans who contribute their time and energy to support veterans, their communities and/or the military.   Submissions will be reviewed and chosen by the members of the Veterans Services Commission (VSC) at its quarterly meetings. Click here to read more.