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January 19th marks the 5th National Day of Service, a day that affords all Americans the opportunity to give back to their fellow citizens, their communities, and their country. But don’t let the name fool you; it’s not about a day. It’s about making an ongoing commitment to service that carries through 2013. It’s about helping to clean up after Hurricane Sandy, mentoring at-risk youths, building homes, helping soldiers transition back to civilian life, assisting Veterans and their families meet their special challenges. In other words, it’s about putting your unique talents to work, serving where you feel you can do the most good. You may think you’re doing it for the benefit of others, but in the end, the rewards will be yours.

Companies also have the opportunity to give back, and that should be an integral part of their corporate culture. At Military Connection, we are proud of the relationship we have with the numerous non-profits we work with, helping them to get the word out about the wonderful work they do, and assisting them however we can.

We would also like to welcome you to a new area of our newsletter. "News bytes" will featuring some interesting news impacting those who serve. Please let us know if you like this area. You can email us info@militaryconnection.com

Warm regards,

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com


Tell Us Your Passion

Writers Circle

Writers’ Circle

Do you have something you’re passionate about, or want to let others know about your program or how you are making a difference? If you love to write, we invite you to participate in the MilitaryConnection.com Writers’ Circle. The Writers’ Circle features guest writers who want to share their thoughts, deeds and ideas with our audience. To be included, your article must be 300-600 words of original content, not copy written, and non-political. We will put articles in the Writers’ Circle on our web site, as well as featuring some of them in upcoming newsletters. For admission consideration, email your article to info@militaryconnection.com.


Pack Your Bags

AFVC

Special Discounts for Military and Veterans

Announcing Armed Forces Vacation Club’s New Year Blowout Sale! For a limited time only, ALL 7 Night Space-A Vacation Rentals worldwide are just $299†*! That’s right, sleep 2-8 for a week in a beautiful resort condo for just $299†*! Book by January 22, 2013 at 5PM ET to take advantage of this amazing deal.

AFVC is a FREE membership club which provides Space-A access to thousands of resort vacation rentals in over 100 countries around the world. Membership is open to active duty, guard, reserve, veteran and retired members of the Armed Forces. While you’re browsing the Blowout sale don’t forget to sign-up to get notifications of future sales and other special offers delivered right to your inbox.


Apply for a Home Now

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat For Humanity & CalVet Make Homeownership Affordable

Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys, the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate for North Los Angeles County, is building homes for veterans in in collaboration CalVet. We will be building a 12-home community in Sylmar and a 87-home community in Santa Clarita. These are affordable homes for low to very-low income veterans, their families and families of the fallen. The Sylmar homes are already under construction and the Santa Clarita homes will start construction in the spring. Move-in to these homes will be 18-24 months from now. Sylmar very low-income veterans making $45000 and above will pay as little as $1250 a month including mortgage, tax, HOA, insurance and water. SCV low-income veterans making $52000 and above will pay as little as $1700 a month including mortgage, tax, HOA, insurance and water. We are excepting applications NOW, veterans should call (818-884-8808) or go to HumanityCA.org to apply.


Life Science Workshop and Expo

Diversity Alliance

First Time on the West Coast!

Diversity Alliance for Science, Inc.,a non-profit organization that supports, develops & connects women/minority/veteran/GBLT suppliers in the Life Science industry, is presenting their first West Coast event. Keynote sponsored by our friends at Amgen, “Life Sciences in the WEST is Diversity at its BEST” will take place on Friday, February 15th at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel. There is limited seating available for the Expo, Workshop and Networking Reception that brings together diversity suppliers in the Life Science industry with the Pharmaceutical, Bio-Tech, Healthcare Companies, that understand the importance of doing business with diverse firms who mirror their customer base. For further information, visit them on the web or contact Dee Knopp at 661-993-9390.


Attention: Guard and Reserve Employees

ESGR

Nominate Your Supportive Employer by January 21st

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Each year, up to 15 of the nation’s most supportive employers are selected as recipients and honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest award presented to civilian employers for support of their employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. Nominations may be submitted by Guardsmen, Reservists, or family members acting on their behalf, at www.FreedomAward.mil. But hurry, nominations close January 21, 2013.


Volunteer Your Time

National Day Of Service

Be Part of the Solution

Join the Los Angeles Veterans Groups and Coalition at their National Day of Service event “Helping the Homeless”. Taking place on Saturday, January 19th, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the event will provide resources for homeless services, food, housing, health care, and other vital services. Thank you to the sponsors, the Volunteers of America, Operation Hope, Vet Hunters, LA Veterans Coalition, USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, Pathways to Home, LA County Health/Mental Health Services, Two guys Grillin’ Celebrity Chefs David Biber/Nick Danger, West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, Live Musical Entertainment, Local elected officials, and community allies. For more information, click here.


Featured Employer

CalVet

CalVet is Hiring!

The Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles has at least 20 full-time positions available now – and more positions are anticipated! The new state-of-the-art facility has the capability to care for 396 Veterans in two levels of care, skilled nursing neighborhood with Memory Care and an assisted living neighborhood. CalVet offers a unique opportunity to serve those who have served their country through a rewarding civil service career path. Employment benefits include family health care, dental and vision benefits and retirement plans, with 401K plans also available. Work in a beautiful environment with opportunities for advancement. For more information, click here. Veterans and disabled Veterans are encouraged to apply, and will receive preference points on all State of California examinations. Positions are also available at the Barstow, Chula Vista, Fresno, Lancaster, Redding, Ventura and Yountville Veterans Homes of California.


Making the Transition

Military Skills Translator

Military Skills Translator is Here!

The Military Occupational Specialty Translator is a comprehensive database of occupational skills, knowledge, and abilities that can help you align your military experience, education, and training with current civilian workplace needs. This invaluable tool will help you zero in the key words that a prospective civilian employer will recognize. We are proud to make this invaluable tool available on our website here.


Jobs & More Jobs

Job Board

Register Today!

Visit our Job Area - Check out our Job Board with thousands of jobs in many occupational areas. Register as a Job Seeker and upload your resume so that Employers can find you. You should also check out our Virtual Job Fair of top jobs, and all the valuable employment resources we provide.


Keeping Veterans & Troops Alive

Veterans Crisis Line

24/7 Crisis Line

The VA is reaching out to Veterans in crisis and their families through the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans in crisis are encouraged to call the crisis hotline number at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a trained VA mental health professional, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An online Veterans Chat program, which provides the ability to communicate anonymously online in real-time with a trained VA mental health professional, can be accessed through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's web page.


Veteran Business Owners
Membership Is Free!

Vamboa

Veteran Business Owners

VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association working to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of Veteran Owned Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA will serve the needs of the veteran and military business communities by uniting veteran and military business owners for collaboration, connections and contracts with both private corporations and government agencies. Join today and take the survey to let them know what issues are important to you. Membership is Free! You have honorably served our nation. VAMBOA is here to serve you and be your voice.
Coming soon - Training for future veterans business owners. New program starting in California.


Veteran Owned

Stars and Stripes

Featured Veteran-Owned Business

It makes excellent business sense when selecting a vendor, to work with a military veteran-owned business. We highly recommend Stars and Stripes Marketing, LLC. This veteran-owned business has the highest level of integrity, is extremely talented and delivers on time. Stars and Stripes Marketing is a boutique military marketing firm that specializes in web design, graphic design, logo design, branding, social media management, event promotion and more. The company was founded by an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran who also serves as a Public Affairs Officers in the U.S. Army Reserves. We give Stars and Stripes Marketing, LLC, the Vet-Owned Gold Seal of Approval. Visit www.starsandstripesmkt.com for more information.


Special Discounts

Advertise with us

Advertise on MilitaryConnection.com

Reach Active Duty Military, Guard and Reservists, Veterans and Military Spouses with jobs, educational opportunities, and excellent products and services. For more information, click here.


Team Fisher House

Team Fisher House

Be a Champion for Military Families

Team Fisher House had a fantastic 2012 Military Race Season! They set new participation, volunteer, donor, and sponsorship records at the Air Force Marathon, Army Ten-Miler, and Marine Corps Marathon. Here's their race line up for 2013: Marine Corps Historic Half (5/19/13 Fredericksburg, VA), Air Force Marathon (9/21/13 Dayton, OH), Air Force Half-Marathon / Navy 5-Miler (September, 2013, Washington, DC), Army Ten-Miler (10/20/13 Washington, DC), and Marine Corps Marathon & MCM10K (10/27/13 Arlington, VA). Go to TeamFisherHouse.org to sign up for their mailing list and be notified when team registration opens. Be a Champion for Military Families by raising funds and awareness for Fisher House Foundation in 2013! We are a proud sponsor!


Support Military Spouses

ThanksUSA

Play the Treasure Hunt - Win Prizes

ThanksUSA’s Treasure Hunt 8 is in full swing and the second chapter, TH8.2: Presidents, is now ready to play! You have until January 31st to submit a correct final answer and enter to win a $250 Walmart gift certificate. If you successfully complete all six chapters of TH8 by May 31st, you could win the Grand Prize of a $500 Walmart gift certificate. This year, there’s a new way to join the Hunt! TH8 can be played through the ThanksUSA website or by downloading a mobile device app.
Since 2006, ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships for a total of $8.5 million to the spouses and dependents of military personnel located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and from all branches of the armed services, including the National Guard and Reserves.
Go register to play TH8 today and support our military families with the gift of education!


Check Out Your Benefits!

Check out your benefits!

The Post 9/11 GI Bill covers

Check out our Education Area including our Veteran School Directory & thousands of scholarships.

Proud Yellow Ribbon School

Dyouville College

Veterans & Military

D'Youville College is a proud Yellow Ribbon School located in Buffalo, New York, easily accessible from NYC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Rochester and Syracuse. D'Youville offers various degree healthcare programs including: Nursing - Physical Therapy - Chiropractic - Pharmacy as well as International Business - Accounting - Information Technology - Childhood and Adolescent Education & More. For more information, call 1-800-777-3921.


Roll Up Your Sleeve

Blood Donor

Save a Life, Donate Blood

The American Red Cross is celebrating National Blood Donor Month and wants community members to know they can give something that doesn’t cost anything but an hour of their time — blood. Did you know that every day, approximately 44,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals to help treat trauma victims, surgery patients, and those going through cancer and other diseases? To make an appointment to give blood, call 1(800) RED-CROSS (733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment and learn about what requirements blood donors need to meet before donating blood. And don’t forget, after you donate you get cookies and juice!


 

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Tell A Friend

Tell a friend...

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Military Veteran News Bytes

Many Cabinet Members Leaving in Upcoming Months
They include Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Look for some new faces in the President’s Cabinet.

VA Aiming To Wrap Up Electronic Claims System Deployment This Year –
Secretary Shinseki stated that "The Department of Veterans Affairs is deploying a new electronic claims processing system nationwide at regional benefits processing offices in an initiative to eliminate the backlog of claims by 2015”. As of December 2012, the VA said 18 regional offices have implemented the new system and are processing newly-received claims in a digital, paperless format." VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, "We continue to transform our claims system to be more responsive through new processes and technology, because taking care of our veterans and their loved ones is our highest priority."

More military members are taking their own lives, than the number of people dying in combat.
There were 349 active duty servicemembers took their lives in 2012, a sharp increase from the previous year's number of 301. This is a national tragedy.

Wal-Mart Announces Initiative To Hire 100,000 Veterans
The nation’s largest retailer announced it will hire any honorably discharged veteran less than a year out from the military, starting Memorial Day. In a speech before the National Retail Federation on Tuesday, company CEO Bill Simon called the move part patriotism, part common sense. “Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” Simon said. “They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”

Veterans Unemployment Still Higher Than National Average
Veteran Unemployment is going down but still remains higher than the national average especially among Iraq and Afgthanistan era Veterans. Last month more than 226,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans filed for unemployment benetits. There are significant tax credits for hiring Veterans and they have been extended until the end of 2013 as part of the recent fiscal cliff deal.

Group Reports Outstanding Numbers In Wounded Warrior Jobs
The National Organization on Disability at the Disabled American Veterans headquarters in Washington, D.C said an evaluation of its four-year program shows 70 percent of its seriously wounded warriors are experiencing employment and education success at about twice the rate of veterans who are not in the program. The findings of the study stem from the organization’s Wounded Warrior Careers program, which has had about 275 wounded veterans under its tutelage since the program became active in 2008 at the Army’s suggestion.

Now open: First uniform store for wounded troops
The first store in the Defense Department designed specifically to cater to wounded troops evacuated from the war zone has opened. This amazing place is located in Kaiserslautern, Germany near Landstuhl Regional Medical Center where many wounded warriors are flown after receiving serious combat injuries.

House Completes $60 Billion In Hurricane Sandy Relief
The US House completed a $60.2 billion aid plan to rebuild communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy two weeks after Northeast Republicans denounced Speaker John Boehner's cancellation of an earlier vote. The House voted 241-180 today to add a $50.5 billion package of aid to a $9.7 billion measure passed by both houses of Congress on Jan. 4." The bill "would provide $235 million to rebuild the flood-damaged Veterans' Administration hospital in lower Manhattan as well as other VA medical facilities in the region.

New "Burn Pit" Registry May Help Iraq Vets Exposed To Toxic Fumes
A new Veteran Group, called BurnPits360 contends that burn pit smoke toxins are 'the new Agent Orange.'" The "group joined with larger veterans organizations to push for legislation to set up a registry of troops and vets who lived or worked near burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan, as a way of assessing possible links to health problems." That legislation was signed into law by President Obama "on Jan. 10 as part of a wider veterans’ bill. The registry will be set up by Veterans Affairs, which recently said the registry will enhance its ability to monitor the effects of exposure and keep veterans informed about studies and treatments.

Veteran Disability Costs More Than Doubled Since 2000
Veteran Disability costs has more than doubled since 2000 rising from $114.8 billion to almost $40 billion in 2011 according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops served repeatedly in combat zones, is a key contributor to escalating costs of individual disability payouts, says Alison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits." "The number and complexity of disability claims has added to a backlog of pending cases, where 70% have been waiting longer than four months for the VA, Hickey says."

Viagra For Vets Costs Surge On War Disorders
"The Department of Veterans Affairs has almost tripled spending on erectile-dysfunction drugs in the past six years as war-related psychological disorders contribute to sexual difficulties." Jason Hansman, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's senior program manager for health and mental health programs, said, "It's a very good sign that the VA is paying out and not trying to avoid the issue in any way." But according to USA Today, US Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) "wrote a letter last month to Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits, asking her to consider increasing benefits for women veterans who suffer sexual-arousal disorder after military service-related injuries." Pingree stated, "If you look at this as a parity issue, males are being treated in numbers that are going up, and women with similar kinds of issues deserve equal access to car."

VA Partners With Veterans Group To Measure Post-9/11 GI Bill Success
Student Veterans of American, a national advocacy group for Veterans is partnering with the Department of Veteran Affairs to track the success of veterans currently attending school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. They are also joining forces with the National Student Clearinghouse which works with colleges and will lead the research efforts to find out how many veterans and their dependents finish education programs under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Wife Of Bogus War Hero Sentenced To 20 Months In Prison
An Air Force veteran’s spouse was sentenced to 20 months in prison for helping her husband rip off the government of bogus benefits. She also faked her own back injuries. Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk, a 63-year-old resident of Knoxville pleaded guilty in US District Court in September to conspiring to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration of more than $100,000 over a six-year period. Her husband, Charles C. Kaczmarczyk, was sentenced last month to 30 months in federal prison. Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk was also ordered to pay $326,390.90 in restitution to the VA and Social Security Administration. Our prosecution was a joint effort of several agencies including the FBI, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration the Office of Inspector General and the US Air Force. US Attorney Bill Killian, who said, "The outcome of this case sends a message to all who consider trying to falsely obtain veteran benefits. We will continue to prosecute those who wrongfully receive government benefits."

VA Awards FSU $4.4 Million Contract
A two-year contract for $4.4 million was awarded to Florida State University by the Department of Veteran Affairs to develop the next generation of prosthetic limbs for military veteran amputees. Florida State University’s High Performance Materials Institute at Innovation Park is developing these limbs that provide hope for our wounded warriors.

Soldier Returns to Serve In Afghanistan After 20 Surgeries
Army Sgt. Michael Krapels is doing what he wants and back in Afghanistan. In January of 2010, he was injured in both of his legs by machine fire and ended up at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. He has had over 20 surgeries and spent many months wheel chair bound. In June 2011, Krapels traveled to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The center specializes in many things, including advanced outpatient rehabilitation for patients like Krapels. It was there that his rehabilitation made a breakthrough when he was fitted for an intrepid dynamic exoskeletal orthosis, or IDEO. The rest is history and he is now back and he is now where he wants to be with Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

Wounded Service Members Invited To Presidential Inauguration
Eight wounded military service members at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center will make a trip to Washington, D.C., for Monday's presidential inauguration ceremony. The service members -- seven soldiers and one sailor -- and two of their family members were invited by U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who has teamed up with the Fisher House Foundation and the Yellow Ribbon Fund to provide free airfare and hotel accommodations while in Washington. The military personnel and family members invited to attend the inauguration are: Staff Sgt. Satoria Ragin and his wife, Erica Ragin; Pfc. Daniel Ord and his mother, Maribeth Ord-Dykes; Spc. Jesse Wollek; Pfc. Miguel Perez; Pvt. Mardondre Robertson; Spc. Canger Jeancaidor; Capt. Scotty Boler; and Petty Officer 1st Class Whitney Bellow.

Navy Veteran And Paralympic Hopeful Stars In PSA
San Diego Navy veteran and US Paralympic hopeful Michael Johnston stars in a new commercial that encourages military veterans with physical disabilities to 'get back in the game.'" The public service announcement (PSA), "co-sponsored by the US Paralympics and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, is titled 'Mission ReDefined' and features Johnston running on a prosthetic leg, which is represented in the video with words like 'passion' and 'power.' The object of the 30-second spot is to raise awareness about community-based sports programs across the country for disabled military, both veterans and those still in active service.


 
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