October 2019 Veterans Voice Newsletter
Message Message from the Director
Message from the Director - October 2019
This month we are excited to share some new developments that may be of interest to you and your family!

Click here to read more
Nevada's Gold Star Families Foundation
Steps Up to Challenge
The Gold Star Luminary Initiative issued a challenge through the Governor's Office for Nevada to host a formal Luminary event on Gold Star Family Day. It was a challenge that did not go unmet. Nevada's Gold Star Families Foundation stepped forward and accepted it.

As a result, the Foundation partnered with the Nevada Department of Veterans Services to host the first-ever, Gold Star Luminary event in front of the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, located on the grounds of the new Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks.

Gold Star Family Day is a national day of recognition held on the third Sunday of September each year. This year, the recognition fell on September 29 th. It recognizes the tremendous burden Gold Star Families bear due to the loss of a loved during service in the U.S. military. Lighting a luminary lets these families know they are recognized, honored and not alone.

This ceremony began at 6:00 p.m., underneath the setting sun. Gold Star Family members and others lit and then placed battery-operated tea candle inside individual luminary bags that had been placed in front of the memorial. The glowing luminary bags provided a soft light against the black marble of the memorial.

Gold Star Mother's Day was designated by a joint Congressional resolution in 1936. In recent years, it has evolved to be known as Gold Star Family Day. Each year since, the day has been observed by presidential proclamation.

In addition to hosting this event, the Foundation is also behind the initiative earlier this year that brought the Nevada's first Gold Star Memorial Monument to the grounds of the new veterans' home in Sparks. The Foundation is also working to bring another Gold Star Memorial to southern Nevada.
Linda Dickinson - Veteran of the Month, September 2019
In a ceremony inside Carson City's Old Assembly Chambers, Linda Dickinson was honored as Veteran of the Month during a special ceremony on September 6, 2019.

Governor Steve Sisolak and NDVS Director Kat Miller presented Dickinson with a certificate. Nevada Veterans Services Commission Chairman Bill Baumann pinned her lapel with a custom Veteran of the Month pin.

Click here to read more
VFW Post 36 Is Veteran Supporter of the Month - September 2019
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cpl Matthew A. Commons Memorial Post 36 and its auxiliary were named Veteran Supporter of the Month in September. The group includes veterans as well as their spouses and family members. Members get involved and lend a helping hand wherever they are needed.

One day they're volunteering at the Veterans Home in Boulder City. Later in the day, they're helping others at the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in North Las Vegas. The next morning it's back to Boulder City to help out at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

A select number of Post 36 veterans make up an Honor Guard that officiates when needed at cemetery burials. While the Post Color Guard performs flag presentations at veterans' events, members also provide presentations at other community events.

Click here to read more
Spotlight Recognizing Women Veterans - Kelley Guidry
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affair' "I Am Not Invisible Campaign" shines a spotlight on women veterans to show the diversity of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This campaigns aims to increase awareness and dialog about women veterans and the myriad levels of expertise possessed by these women warriors.

In the spirit of this campaign, NDVS will begin highlighting amazing women veterans who are living in our state. This month the spotlight shines on Kelley Guidry. 

Click here to read more
Surprise Honor for Surviving Widow of WWII POW
By Joshua Loftis
Caroline Briggs currently lives at the Highland Manor Assisted Living Facility in Fallon, Nevada. NDVS Veteran Service Officer, Gary Utterback had the honor and privilege of making her acquaintance during a visit he made to the Facility to assist her in filing a claim to the VA.

Caroline's late husband, Eugene Briggs, was in the Army Air Corps during WWII and served as a B-29 Gunner. Unfortunately, on a mission in April 1944, Eugene was shot down. Eugene would spend the rest of the war incarcerated in Germany, at which time he was repatriated and returned home.

Eugene left the Army after WWI but, when the Korean War started, "He didn't want to be left out of the fight" Caroline recalled, and joined the Air Force. After 30 years, Eugene retired as a Chief Master Sergeant and passed away in 2014.

NDVS VSO Gary Utterback has visited Caroline on several occasions over the last few months, as he continues to work with her on a Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC) claim, he wanted to do something special for her. So, on his latest visit, Gary arrived in full uniform and presented her with a coin to honor her and her husband.
We thank Eugene for his service to this nation and Caroline, for her support of one of America's finest.

If you'd like to learn more about Dependent Indemnity Compensation Claims, visit:
HealthHealth and Wellness
Suicide Prevention Overview from NDVS Suicide Prevention Coordinator
I wanted to introduce myself and share important information about efforts underway to prevent veteran suicide. My name is Kim Donohue and I serve as the NDVS Suicide & Homelessness Prevention Program Manager. I also serve on the teams of the Las Vegas and Truckee Meadows Mayor's Challenge to prevent suicide of veterans, military   members or their families.  These teams are comprised of state, federal, military and community agencies to fight against suicide at every level! Below are some highlights.
Northern Nevada State Veterans Home Hosts Special Open House
The community will have a unique opportunity to see the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home during a special open house event on October 3, 2019.

This will be the first time the public will be able to see the 96-bed full skilled nursing care facility now that it is fully furnished, complete with artwork from Nevada artists!
The day will start at 10:00 a.m. with an opening ceremony featuring Governor Steve Sisolak and other dignitaries. The community tours will begin at 11:00 a.m. and run throughout the day until 4:00 p.m.

The design of the Home is like no other. Each resident has their own private room, with its own entry. The dining areas are shared, giving residents the opportunity to mix and mingle. Speaking of dining, the home features an award-winning executive chef Greg Parsley. Parsley recently received the Perry Foundation's prestigious Endeavor Award for Innovation in Dining. The award recognizes a Skilled Nursing Facility or Assisted Living Community for embracing a person-centered approach to dining excellence while maintaining standards to ensure resident health and wellness. See below for more details.

In addition to the state-of-the-art skilled care, this facility also contains areas uniquely designed for the community. You will see a wide variety of events in the Town Hall portion of the building, where there is a Coffee Bistro and a Sports Bar.
The new home is in Sparks, Nevada at 36 Battle Born Way.
Click here to RSVP:
Northern Nevada State Veterans Home
Executive Chef Receives Prestigious Award
Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (NNSVH) Executive Chef, Greg Parsley, recently received The Perry Foundation's Endeavor Award for Innovation in Dining. The award recognizes a Skilled Nursing Facility or Assisted Living Community for embracing a person-centered approach to dining excellence while maintaining standards to ensure resident health and wellness.

Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) Director Kat Miller said, "The talents of Parsley, combined with a new design concept at the home have brought about a unique dining experience for residents, family and community supporters of the home. The food service goes well above and beyond the requirements for menu planning, dietary management, as well as meeting federal and state health requirements."

Click here to read more
Exposure ED App - Information on Presumptive Illnesses at Your Fingertips
The VA has a terrific tool that can help you learn almost instantly about presumptive illnesses. Exposure ED is a free app you can download that uses your dates of service, branch of service, location of where you served to give you key information on environmental exposures and more.

Health care providers both in and outside of VA can use VA's Exposure Ed app to help Veterans concerned about environmental exposures and their health. Providers can look up information by exposure, conflict, date, location, and health effects; they can find local services and benefits information; and they can print information from the app. Learn more about the app at 
#ARTUOK Art and Resource Fair Brings Awareness to Suicide Prevention
The first ever #ARTUOK Art and Resource Fair took place at the Historic Fifth Street School on September 11, 2019.

The event was the result of a task given to the Office and Community Services (OCS), Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Engagement (NRCE) team for the purpose to promote the Mayor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF).

Click here to read more
ProgramsPrograms and Services
Military Spouses Can Now be Reimbursed Licensure Fees
The U.S. Navy recently became the final service branch to introduce a program to reimburse military spouses up to $500 to cover re-licensure costs associated with moving to a new duty station. Now spouses of military members in all branches may be eligible for the reimbursement. The program is even retroactive all the way back to 2017.

The program is a response to a pilot program introduced in Congress' Defense Authorization Act of 2018. The pilot program will continue through the end of 2022.

To be eligible, spouses must continue working in the same profession as the previous state, and submit qualifying costs receipts, along with copies of their previous certifications, copies of the new recertification documents, and a copy of the permanent change of duty station orders within 24 months from when the orders were received.

While the 2020 version of the bill has a provision to increase the reimbursement up to $1,000 and extend the program to 2024, critics would like the see the program instated immediately and permanently.

Since 2012, Nevada has provided licensure reciprocity, allowing military spouses recently moved to Nevada to obtain expedited licensure in a number of fields "As long as the requirements" of the state the spouse is coming from are "substantially equivalent" to Nevada's requirements. This new program would help offset the costs associated with that re-licensing for those spouses.

Free New and Improved Nevada Veterans Advocate Workshop
We heard you!
Based on the feedback from previous attendees, for the first-time ever, you can now become a Nevada Veterans Advocate (NVA) by attending the upcoming NVA workshop in Henderson, Nevada.

This workshop is different from previous ones offered by NDVS. This workshop will offer all 20 modules during the two-day workshop. That means you can receive your NVA certificate following the two-day workshop, provided you attend all the sessions and provided you do the work!

The workshop is scheduled for the weekend of November 2-3, 2019. It will be held in the Cancun Ballroom inside the Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Seating is limited so save yours by registering here:
Resources Provided by Veterans Villages
In Las Vegas, Veterans Villages are a lot like Starbucks. Every time you look, seems there is a new one, popping up all over town. Recently, city officials helped Director Arnold Stalk open the fourth Veterans Village, to provide emergency, transitional and permanent housing residence for veterans.

The on-site services include: 24/7 crisis intervention center, medical and mental health services, job referral and training. Also included at the locations are nutritional services from Three Square Regional Food Bank and other contributory accommodations aimed at the elimination of homelessness and poverty in southern Nevada. Veterans Village is a collaborative between the city and SHARE Family Housing Corporation with headquarters located in the Travelodge building.

Click here to read more
North Las Vegas Continues to Celebrate Veterans
Geographically speaking, the city of North Las Vegas is much smaller than Las Vegas, its big brother to the south. But when it comes to honoring veterans and other deserving groups, it takes a back seat to no one. For the past five years, the city has produced the annual Armed Forces, Military Veterans & First Responders Appreciation Day. It's a celebration of those who reside not only in North Las Vegas, but of all individuals who provide services to the entire region. And the organizers make it abundantly clear that any and all who want to come and have a wonderful day of fun are welcome. Their presence alone is a way of honoring  those who serve the public.

Click here to read more
NewsNews You can Use
Veterans Day 2019
Mark you calendar for Veterans Day 2019! This year, Veterans Day, November 11, 2019, falls on a Monday.

We would love to hear from YOU on your plans to recognize and honor the day. If the public can attend, tell us what your veteran service organization, civic group, city, or town plans to do on Veterans Day! We'd like to share it with others so they can join in the celebration, recognition and honor of the men and women who have served in the U.S Armed Forces! 

Click here to read more
Army Association Provides Support For National Security
As the name implies, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is made up of Army personnel and Army veterans. But unlike some military and veterans organizations, it is open to anyone who supports the history and mission of America's Army. The association promotes itself as a private, non-profit educational organization that supports all aspects of America's Army - active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retirees, veterans, cadets, family members, government civilians and concerned citizens.

In Southern Nevada, the chapter president is Ken Salazar, a retired Sgt. 1st Class. "The organization is open to anyone," Salazar explained, "who supports the Army's objectives and a strong, national defense." The local chapter is named after explorer John C. Fremont, who famously explored the West and has several cities and streets named after him. "One of the main reasons we decided to go with the name John C. Fremont is because he has a tremendous history to our pioneering days in America, helping to grow the nation into what it is today."

Click here to read more
FEDVIP Open Enrollment for Dental and Vision Insurance Starts Soon
The annual open enrollment for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) begins Nov. 11 and runs through Dec. 9, 2019.

Open season (or open enrollment) is the time each year when you can make changes to your FEDVIP coverage for the following year.

FEDVIP open enrollment runs every year from the Monday of the second full week in November to the Monday of the second full week in December.

The FEDVIP program offers vision insurance to military dependents, retirees and their families, as well as dental insurance for retirees and their families.

Retirees Could Receive Tricare Refund Check
Military retirees who paid annual  Tricare Prime enrollment fees in 2018 or 2019 could soon see a refund check in the mail, thanks to a new change to how the system calculates their annual out-of-pocket maximum payment.

The annual maximum out-of-pocket payment, or "catastrophic cap," for any retiree family with a service member who joined the military before Jan. 1, 2018, is set at $3,000. For those who joined after Jan. 1, 2018, the annual retiree cap is about $3,600. Those users pay about $600 per year for plan enrollment, while future retirees will pay close to $1,000.

Read more here:
Occupational Licensing Under Review to Make Employment Easier
for Military Spouses
Increasing employment opportunities for Nevada's veterans, service members and spouses remain a focus of the Nevada Department of Veterans Service (NDVS).

Recently, NDVS participated in a meeting of the Occupational Licensing Policy and Practice Learning Consortium. 

This group is reviewing state policies surrounding occupational licenses to determine whether there are barriers and how to address them for military spouses and veterans entering the workforce. The group is reviewing policy options, sharing experiences, and considering next steps in this review.

Click here to read more
Become a Patriot Employer!
Depending on your skill set, landing a good-paying job can be a challenge, particularly for military members transitioning from service to civilian life. That's in part what the Patriot Employer Program seeks to address.
The Patriot Employer Program provides employers with the tools and knowledge to hire and retain veterans. Just as important, it also demonstrates to Nevada businesses the benefits of utilizing men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.
The benefit of hiring veterans goes far beyond tax breaks and incentives. Anyone who has served in the military is familiar with discipline and teamwork. They have respect for policies and procedures and they know the importance of overcoming adversity to complete the mission.
Most former military are comfortable with technology and have been in positions where they have had to learn new skills or adapt quickly. They also come with a set of values that include integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness that would make any business or company proud. They know what it means to put in a "good, honest day of work."
The Patriot Employer Program provides businesses with a toolkit. Employers also receive knowledge through an online course. Upon completion of the course, that business is eligible to receive a decal and certificate, signed by the Governor, and presented in a ceremony, and then proudly displayed.
For more information on the Patriot Employer Program click here:
RememberAlways Remember
Hoist the Colors On Official Navy Birthday  
It's a safe bet that entertainers Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Van Morrison as well as many other blues singers never served in the United States Navy. And it's pretty certain that no American sailor ever received a medal or a gold record for making a blues recording. But when it comes to the Navy, those who serve have the blues every day - Navy blue, that is.

Remembering Operation Enduring Freedom  
We all can recall where we were on September 11, 2001 when the Terrorist organization, Al-Queda, coordinated several attacks on U.S. soil.
What we might not realize is that only a short month later the United States responded, by initiating Operation Enduring Freedom.

Click here to read more
CalendarMark Your Calendar
Mark Your Calendar - October 2019
 Click here for some events happening in October! 
Nevada Department of Veterans Services