September 2019 Veterans Voice Newsletter
Message Message from the Director
Message from the Director - September 2019
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is a time to share resources, programs and stories to help end the tragedy of veteran suicide.

A report released a few weeks ago reveals military suicides have reached their highest rate since record-keeping began after 9/11. NDVS is proud to partner with community leaders in Las Vegas and the Truckee Meadows areas as a part of the Mayor's Challenge to prevent veteran suicide. There have been some successes, with Nevada being the only State having a (slight) reduction in veterans suicide, but much, much work remains. I have shared this with you before, but here are some important things that you can do to help our veterans in crisis.

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'Veteran of the Month' Honorees Just Keep on Comin'
You just can't keep good men and women down, especially in Nevada - especially when they are veterans or provide help to veterans. The Silver State has a large and ever-growing number of male and female veterans who go beyond the call of duty to help others who are ever-thankful for assistance in their work and in their lives. The long-time effort to honor such individuals continues to grow under the tutelage of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS), through its dual award programs of Veteran of the Month and Veterans Supporter of the Month.  

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Honor and Remember Gold Star Families
Nevadans have been challenged to "Take the Pledge Today!" in support of Gold Star Families!
The Gold Star Luminary Initiative is asking you to mark your calendar for the last Sunday in September (September 29, 2019) and create, as well as participate, in a luminary event!
Check out all the ideas for hosting your very own event:
The initiative gives you ALL the tools - From flyers to brochures, and luminary bags:
Don't forget the power of social media! Create a hashtag on Twitter or a shareable post on Facebook to help gather support. Pin a photo of one of your beautiful luminary bags or "like" our Nevada Department of Veterans Services Facebook page. We will help you spread the word!
To formally take the pledge, go here:
Hosting a Luminary Event? Let us know! We can help! Email:
Reno's Veterans Day Parade! Sign Up Now!

Please remember that they place veteran groups first in the parade order and then place everyone else in the order that they sign up. Unfortunately, not everyone can be first in the parade order.
This year's theme commemorates the centennial of Veterans Day (formally Armistice Day, 1919-2019). They are still looking for nominations for Deputy and Grand Marshal for the parade - feel free to send a bio if you have someone you'd like to nominate to Alexis Hill on the Reno City Council Site, here:
Grants Available to Honor Every Veteran - Every Generation
If you have an idea for a ceremony or event that honors and recognizes veterans, we want to hear from you. NDVS is offering up to $2,000 to help host a ceremony or special event highlighting a generation of veterans. For example, what about hosting a USO dance party to honor Nevada's Korean War veterans? Or how about hosting a luminary event, where lights or candles are lit to honor a fallen Nevada warrior?
Every year, NDVS supports various events across Nevada, all aimed at recognizing and honoring Nevada's veterans. Just to give you an idea, last year NDVS held an all-day event at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home on Veterans Day to recognize the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. We encourage you to look at the list below and start planning your event or ceremony in 2019:
Korean War
Vietnam War
Cold War
Desert Storm
Global War on Terrorism Post 9-11
NDVS is also looking for events or ceremonies this year that honor unique veterans or military families:
Native American Veterans
LGBTQ Veterans
Women Veterans
Hispanic Veterans
African American Veterans
Gold Star Families
Drop us a line and let us know your ideas and what you have planned. Contact Josh Loftis at and let us know how we can support your event or ceremony. We look forward to hearing your ideas!
HealthHealth and Wellness
Suicide Prevention Awareness - Mayor's Challenge
In case many of you didn't know, NDVS is leading a team on a national level to fight against suicide among service members, veterans and their families. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense formed the Mayor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide.
In December of 2017, SAMHSA selected seven cities to participate, based on veteran population data, suicide prevalence rates and capacity to lead the way. The goal is to eliminate suicide by using a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. NDVS held one of the positions on the Las Vegas Mayor's Challenge Team along with a collaborative team consisting of municipal, military and other community stakeholders.
NDVS is now excited to announce the VA and SAMHSA have selected Reno/Sparks as one of the NEXT seven cities to participate in the 2nd Annual 2019 SAMHSA Mayor's Challenge.
Online Resources Offer Help 24/7
If you are facing challenges, there is a free and valuable online tool designed specifically to help. It's called, Make the Connection. It isa friendly, easy-to-use resource that puts information, even solutions right at your fingertips.
Visit or click the link to visit the website:
The online program addresses every challenge veterans, their spouse or their family members may face as they go through life. Whether it is a death in the family, transitioning from military service, dealing with challenging relationships or health issues, even spirituality, the online program navigates you to safe ground as well as offers solutions. No topic is out of bounds.

The program places emphasis on letting you know you are not alone. It is from the perspective of one veteran talking to another.
It is also designed to help clinicians' better work with the veteran community providing toolkits, materials and information. Make the Connection is a national campaign from the VA's Mental Health Services program office within the Veterans Health Administration. You can find more information and additional programs as well as campaigns from the office online by clicking here:
The videos below provide examples of the many videos available through Make the Connection.
In addition to Make the Connection, there is another online tool available anytime you need it. It is called PsychArmor and it provides resources at your fingertips, free of charge!
Some of the featured courses include Military Culture, Invisible Wounds, Caregiver Self-Care and Supporting Veterans. You can sign up for their newsletter or even participate in a live chat, right on the website.
Just visit the link below and explore all the options and resources PsychArmor provides:
Attend safeTALK Training
By the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention
safeTALK is a program designed to help you help others in crisis. It provides the tools and training to help you identify someone in crisis, as well as key information on how to best address someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
Why should I attend a safeTALK training?
In only a few hours, you will learn how to provide practical help to someone with thoughts of suicide. You can expect to leave safeTALK more willing and able to perform an important helping role for someone with thoughts of suicide.
How does safeTALK help prevent suicide?
safeTALK prepares you to be a suicide alert helper. You are aware that opportunities to help a person with thoughts of suicide are sometimes missed, dismissed and avoided. You want persons with thoughts to invite your help. You know the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe) and can activate a suicide alert. As a part of the KeepSafe step, you connect persons with suicidal thoughts to persons trained in suicide intervention. Helpers trained in suicide intervention complete the helping process or connect the person with more specialized help.
Why use safeTALK to learn to become alert?
A carefully crafted set of helping steps and the use of creative educational processes make it possible for you and up to 30 others in your community to leave safeTALK willing and able to be suicide alert helpers. safeTALK is the result of some twenty years of work on learning how to develop useful suicide prevention abilities in a short program.
What happens at safeTALK training?
Expect to be challenged. Expect to have feelings. Expect to be hopeful. See powerful reminders of why it is important to be suicide alert. See how to activate an alert. Ask questions and enter discussions. Learn clear and practical information on what to do. Practice the TALK steps. Conclude with practice in activating a suicide alert.
Why is safeTALK for everyone?
Most people with thoughts of suicide go unrecognized even though most are directly or indirectly requesting help. Without safeTALK training, these invitations to help are too rarely accepted, or even noticed. With more suicide alert helpers, more people with thoughts of suicide will get connected to the intervention help they want. Suicide alert helpers are part of a suicide-safer community.
For Nevada Veterans Advocates
If you are a Nevada Veterans Advocate and you are interested in attending safeTALK training, let us know. Email
For more information on safeTALK training or suicide prevention contact Kim Donohue at
Contacts for the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention:

Rick Egan
(702) 486-8225 - for Southern Events
Janett Massolo
(775) 687-0847 - for Northern Events
ASIST Training for Caregivers
By the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention
ASIST is designed to help all caregivers become more willing, ready and able to help persons at risk. Suicide can be prevented with the help of prepared caregivers.
Just as "CPR" skills make physical first aid possible, training in suicide intervention develops the skills used in suicide first aid. ASIST is a two-day intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help caregivers recognize risk and learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.
The workshop is for all caregivers (any person in a position of trust). This includes professionals, paraprofessionals and lay people. It is suitable for mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, teachers, counselors, youth workers, police and correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and community volunteers.
ASIST has five learning sections:
Preparing: sets the tone, norms, and expectations of the learning experience.
Connecting: sensitizes participants to their own attitudes towards suicide. It creates an understanding of the impact, which attitudes have on the intervention process.
Understanding: overviews the intervention needs of a person at risk. It focuses on providing participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize risk and develop safe plans to reduce the risk of suicide.
Assisting: presents a model for effective suicide intervention. Participants develop their skills through observation and supervised simulation experiences in large and small groups.
Networking: generates information about resources in the local community. It promotes a commitment by participants to transform local resources into helping networks.
Emphasizing structured small-group discussions and practice; the course uses a 20-page workbook and two award-winning audiovisuals. Participants receive a 152-page Suicide Intervention Handbook and a full color, tear-resistant wallet card featuring intervention, and risk review and safe plan development principles. They serve as living refreshers of the workshop learning.
ASIST is designed to help all caregivers become more ready, willing and able to help persons at risk. Prepared caregivers can help prevent suicide.
Unprepared caregivers tend to deny, avoid, even stigmatize and punish persons at risk. That is what society has traditionally done. All evidence indicates that unprepared caregivers continue this dangerous tradition. Training is required to turn denial, avoidance and stigmatization into vigilance, understanding and help.
Join the more than one million caregivers and participate in a LivingWorks ASIST workshop. You will learn to recognize and estimate risk and become more effective at helping people at risk. The benefits will live on.
To sponsor a workshop or if you have questions regarding the ASIST training, please contact the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention:
Contact Rick Egan
(702) 486-8225 - for Southern Events
Contact Janett Massolo
(775) 687-0847 - for Northern Events
Get Involved! Raise Money and Awareness to Prevent Suicide
By Staff
Grab your walking shoes and join us for the 2019 Walk in Memory Walk for Hope! In Reno, check out the movie screening of The Ripple Effect! See more information on the movie below.
The walks and the movie are sponsored by the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention. There will be walks in ten different cities: Battle Mountain, Caliente, Carson City, Silver Springs, Elko, Ely, Fallon, Henderson-Las Vegas, Mesquite, Minden, Pahrump and Winnemucca!
The walks will take place on September 14, 2019. Walk participants are asked to donate $20 per individual. Participate in a team or create your own!
The Ripple Effect movie will be shown on September 10, 2019 at Truckee Meadows Community College (7000 Dandini Blvd., Reno, NV) Room 108. A $15 entry fee will stay in the community to support suicide prevention activities such as training and outreach events! For more information on the movie, go here:
Make a difference! Get involved!
Nominations Are Open for Outstanding Caregivers! Do You Know One?
By Nevada Caregivers Coalition
Do you know a caregiver who truly is an unsung hero/heroine? The Nevada Caregiver Coalition is announcing the 14th Annual Caregiver Recognition Luncheon!
The luncheon is set for Thursday, November 14, 2019, from 11:30AM -1:30PM
at the Atlantis Hotel Casino in Reno.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories:
1.   Family Caregiver
2.   In-Home Paid Caregiver
3.   In-Facility Caregiver (including Adult Day Programs)
4.   Volunteer Hospice or Community Caregiver
5.   Caregiver for Youth with Special Needs (22 yrs or Younger)
6.   Dual Life Caregiver (Employee and Primary Caregiver)
7.   Caregiver for a Veteran

If you know an outstanding caregiver, consider nominating them so they can receive the honor they deserve during the luncheon.

The Coalition is also looking for sponsors for the event. For the sponsorship details, to register, or submit your nominations, please go to

Questions? Contact:
Ginny Saiz,, 775-826-7999
Laura Coger,, 775-762-9961  
ProgramsPrograms and Services
Homes for Our Troops Helps Disabled Veterans
By Staff
The nonprofit organization, Homes for Our Troops, builds specially adapted custom homes for the most severely injured service members who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. This assistance helps these veterans rebuild their lives.
Earlier this year, the Nevada Military Support Alliance partnered with Homes for Our Troops raising money to build a new home for Army Sergeant Adam Poppenhouse and his young family. The new home is expected to be finished this month.
Poppenhouse was injured in 2006. When he was a member of the Army's 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, his vehicle hit an improvised explosive devise (IED) in Taji, Iraq. Poppenhouse and his team were attempting to secure a crash site and rescue a downed pilot when the blast occurred.
Poppenhouse immediately lost his right leg in the blast. After nearly two years and numerous surgeries, he elected to have doctors amputate his damaged left leg to alleviate severe, continuous pain.
"The Nevada Military Support Alliance is proud and honored to once again partner with Homes For Our Troops to raise funds for the construction of a new specially-adapted custom home for Sergeant Poppenhouse, his wife Megan and their two young children. We look forward to the completion of the Las Vegas property this year and to presenting this great American and Nevada warrior and his family with the keys to their new home," said Scott Bensing, Chairman of the Nevada Military Support Alliance.
The Nevada Military Support Alliance previously partnered with Homes For Our Troops for the construction of specially-adapted custom homes in 2011 for Marine Sergeant Dylan Gray in Wellington, Nevada and in 2013 for Army Sergeant Timothy Hall in Hawthorne, Nevada.
For more information on Homes for Our Troops, visit:
NewsNews You can Use
VASNHS Going Smoke-Free Beginning October 2019
By U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System is committed to providing excellent health care for veterans. In our efforts to fully promote a healthy environment for all our veterans and employees, we will be a smoke-free campus effective Oct. 1, 2019. This is part of a nationwide campaign to make all VA facilities smoke-free.
All tobacco products to include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco as well as electronic nicotine systems such as e-cigarettes and vaping devices will no longer be allowed on the campus. In addition, the smoking shelters at the Medical Center as well as Primary Care Clinics will be closed.
VASNHS offers smoking cessation for all veterans and employees. If you would like assistance with counseling, educational tools and substitute nicotine products, please contact 702-791-9000 weekdays between 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to make an appointment with your VA provider.
VA Marks 100,000 Veterans Cured of Hepatitis C
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reached a significant milestone. The VA recently announced it had cured more than 100,000 veterans of chronic hepatitis C, virus infection (HCV), establishing the VA as a global leader in the diagnosis and treatment of HCV.
HCV infection can lead to advanced liver disease (ALD), liver cancer and early death. Curing HCV can prevent the development or progression of ALD, cutting death rates by up to 50%. Until recently, HCV treatment required medications to be taken daily by mouth and weekly by injection for up to a year, with cure rates as low as 35%. Additionally, this treatment had disabling medical and psychiatric side effects, which caused over half of patients to stop treatment prematurely.
"These efforts have been nothing short of life-saving for tens of thousands of veterans, and that's precisely why VA has made diagnosing, treating and curing hepatitis C virus infection such a priority," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
In early 2014, highly effective, less toxic, all-oral, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) became available for HCV treatment. These new drugs have fewer and less severe side effects and can be given as one pill a day for as little as eight weeks, revolutionizing HCV treatment. VA adopted use of these new medications within days of FDA approval.
Through veteran advocacy, VA leadership and the support of Congress, VA implemented an aggressive program to treat veterans with HCV who were both willing and able to be treated. This included extensive outreach to all veterans in VA known to have HCV infection and increased testing of those at highest risk for HCV. At the end of 2018, almost 85% of veterans at increased risk for HCV had been tested, compared to 50% for the general U.S. population.
At the peak of this effort to rapidly deploy DAAs, VA was starting a veteran on HCV treatment every 72 seconds on a typical work day; a rate of almost 2,000 new treatments each week. Currently, fewer than 25,000 veterans in VA care remain to be treated. Because of this historic effort, veterans cured of HCV are estimated to be 72% less likely to develop liver cancer.
For more information, visit
Veteran Memorial Location Project
Honoring Nevada's military and veterans is the focus of a new, exciting, upcoming NDVS project. We are partnering with veteran/military reporter Chuck N. Baker to locate, identify and document veteran/war memorials across the Silver State. Some of these memorials have been forgotten, neglected, or lost in history. The goal of this project is to provide the public with the locations (map with coordinates) and information (along with photos) of these memorials. We could use your help to find and identify these veterans memorials across the State. If you know of a veteran/war memorial in Nevada, let us know! Contact Chuck Baker at or let us know at .
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
Happy Birthday to the U.S. Air Force
By Chuck N Baker
The famous Wright Brothers, Wilber and Orville, are credited with inventing the airplane. While some report a European or two were the first to develop a workable flying machine, it's the brothers who are celebrated as having done so first - in 1903. It wasn't long before the U.S. military picked up on the advantages of defending the nation from the clouds, and it began purchasing and using airplanes in WWI. Fast forward to September 18, 1947, and the Army Air Force was ordered to divest itself of its sky bound responsibilities and turn over aircraft challenges to a newly formed United States Air Force. Every year since, the Air Force has honored that date with birthday events across the nation.

VJ Victory Day Over Japan!  
On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as "Victoryover Japan Day," or simply "V-J Day." The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan's formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Coming several months after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Japan's capitulation in the Pacific brought six years of hostilities to a final and highly anticipated close.
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CalendarMark Your Calendar
Mark Your Calendar - September 2019
 Click here for some events happening in September!
Nevada Department of Veterans Services