US Army Master Sgt. Cedric King (Ret.) Receives Customized ELAN Smart Home from the Gary Sinise Foundation

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Master Sgt. Cedric King

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, June, 2017 — On July 25, 2012, during his third deployment in Afghanistan, US Army Master Sgt. Cedric King’s platoon conducted a reconnaissance of a possible explosive distributor in an Afghan village.

As they approached the target, they fell under machine gun fire. Once the firefight ended, Cedric proceeded forward, only to step on a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED). The blast lifted him from his feet, resulting in the loss of both of his legs and disfigurement of his right hand.

When the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) learned about King’s service, they decided to honor his bravery with a newly built, completely customized specially adapted smart home. The residence, based in Atlanta, relies on an ELAN Entertainment & Control System to enable control and automation of the home’s audio, video, lighting, security, and more.

“Core Brands’ Regional Sales Manager Jason Davis asked us if we could provide our services to Gary Sinise Foundation for this project, and we were honored to do so,” said Phillip Ampel of Atlanta Audio and Automation, the integration firm responsible for the project. “We built a sophisticated smart home that is highly functional, and jam-packed with exciting entertainment features. It truly offers Cedric and his family an elevated level of freedom — and fun.”

One ELAN gSC10 controller serves as the brains of the system, and is accessible through two ELAN TP7 touch panels in the master suite and living room, as wellSmart Home as an ELAN HR200 remote which they use for controlling the home’s surround-sound audio system. King can also use the ELAN App on his smartphone device to easily and simply make any adjustments throughout the home.

Atlanta Audio and Automation integrated an extensive Lutron lighting and climate system into the ELAN platform, enabling the King family to control the lighting — or automate its functionality — instantly. “The Lutron system includes lighting control through 24 dimmers and two Lutron thermostats,” Atlanta Audio & Automation explained. “It is so much easier to access all of three systems from the easy-to-use ELAN interface. King does not need to physically walk into each room to turn the lights on or off. It’s as simple as a tap on a screen.”

Atlanta Audio & Automation also integrated a security system with 6 IP cameras placed throughout the property to be accessed instantly through ELAN. “It was important for King to be able to easily manage the residence’s indoor and outdoor security feeds,” AAA commented. “ELAN is the ideal platform for checking in on security from anywhere and anytime. He could be in the living room checking out video of his backyard on a centrally located touch panel, or out-and-about watching from the ELAN Mobile App.”

In addition to its customized convenience, AAA tricked out the home with an entertainment system for the King family to enjoy. They designed an extensive multi-room audio and video system, enabled through an ELAN S1616A Multi-Room Controller, that distributes music and video to six different locations throughout the home. The entertainment system includes a surround sound system including Niles DS7HD and DS7FX in-ceiling speakers and three Sunfire HRS10 subwoofers.

For the King family’s outdoor enjoyment Atlanta Audio & Automation installed a waterproof Séura television on the patio. “Séura’s Outdoor Waterproof TV is completely functional outside, in any weather,” AAA said. “It’s a fantastic addition to their entertainment system.”

Since King relies heavily on his home’s technology for independence, Smart HomeAAA made sure to protect the equipment with a Panamax M4315-PRO Power Power Conditioner with key components protected by a Furman F1500 Uninterruptible Power Supply. Both feature BlueBOLT remote energy management. “Aside from the danger of catastrophic surges, ‘dirty power’ can interrupt high-end electronics so they won’t work as they should,” Atlanta Audio & Automation commented. “The Furman and Panamax products ensure that we can guarantee clean power, and as an integrator, I can check in on it or troubleshoot it remotely.”

According to Judy Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation, the home checks off all of the boxes for the King family. “We are honored to recognize Cedric’s service with this customized specially adapted smart home that really does give him a new level of independence,” she said. “Since his injury, Cedric has persevered, earning numerous medals and awards, he’s run marathons, and even climbed mountains. Cedric is a true inspiration and an American hero.”

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About ELAN

ELAN, from Core Brands, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The new ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award from the Consumer Technology Association’s Mark of Excellence Award Program Committee at CES 2017. To learn more, visit elanhomesystems.com.

 

About Core Brands

Anchored by the ELAN Smart Home Control Platform, Core Brands combines the strengths of its iconic control, audio, power management, connectivity and video distribution brands – ELAN®, SpeakerCraft®, Gefen®, Niles®, Panamax®, Proficient®, Furman®, Sunfire® and Xantech® – to deliver a portfolio of connected home and commercial solutions to its channel partners and end users. For further information, visit corebrands.com.

 

World’s Largest Golf Outing Registration Now Open—Eighth Annual Event to Benefit Fisher House Foundation

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WLGO

Registration for this year’s World’s Largest Golf Outing (WLGO) – a national event on Monday, August 6 benefitting Fisher House Foundation – is now open.

The eighth annual WLGO is a simultaneous charity outing to be played on more than 100 golf courses coast to coast, plus Hawaii.  Since its inception in 2011, more than 57,000 men, women, juniors and seniors have played in 33 states to raise $3,764,603 for military and family charities. Several national celebrities have donated to WLGO, including PGA Tour Legend Chi Chi Rodriguez and 42nd President Bill Clinton.

“The generosity and the growth of the World’s Largest Golf Outing continues to impress,” says Peter Hill, Chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf that conceived WLGO. “It’s incredible to see the enduring appreciation for our brave men and women who sacrifice everything to protect and preserve our daily freedoms.”

Golfers can register as a single, twosome or foursome to play at participating courses near theme.  Cost varies by location and includes greens fees, shared carat, warm-up bucket of balls and lunch (if applicable), local prizes and awards ceremony following play. All golfers regardless of ability are welcome and a USGA handicap is not required.

Teams are encouraged to raise additional funds to support Fisher House; donations are made at worldslargestgolfouting.com.  Prizes are awarded for top donators and low scores.

Fun and emotion rule the day as participating courses honor the military with moments of silence, ceremonial tee shots, standing ovations, national anthems and color guards before play, patriotic decorations adorning fairways and greens and on-site military vehicles and fly-overs.  Hundreds of injured service men and women tee it up at WGLO host courses.

Since 1990, Fisher House Foundation has provided a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving treatment at major military and VA medical centers. Its network of 76 comfort homes has provided over 335,000 families with no-cost lodging, allowing families to be close by a while a loved one undergoes treatment and recovery.  One $10 donation covers costs to house a family in a Fisher House for one night.

“While funds from the World’s Largest Golf Outing are important, so is the awareness and a chance to share the Fisher House story,” says Dave Coker, President of Fisher House Foundation. “Thank you for your participation, generosity and support of those we call our greatest national treasure, our military service men and women and their loved ones.”

While WLGO is Hill’s brainchild, it is part of Billy Casper Golf’s giving culture.  The company’s namesake, the late Billy Casper, the Masters and two-time U.S. Open winner, served in the Navy, witnessing first-hand the effects of front-line combat.  He often entertained U.S. troops serving in Asia by hitting golf balls over aircraft carriers.

For more information. worldslargestgolfouting.com, 703.940.3600

ELAN Helps to Build a Personalized Smart Home for Wounded U.S. Veteran Through the Gary Sinise Foundation

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ELAN Smart Home

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, July 3, 2018 — After serving two tours in Iraq, U.S. Army SFC Jared Bullock trained for Special Forces and received a Green Beret in October 2013. Just a month later, on deployment in Afghanistan, an IED explosion on a routine patrol forever altered his life, leaving him without his right arm and leg.

After more than thirty surgeries, Bullock was recognized by the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) to receive a smart home designed and built specifically to address his needs.

When U.S. Army SFC Bullock describes that fateful day in November of 2013, he refers to it as “an incident,” according to David Young, Owner & President of integration firm The Sound Room. That is Bullock’s personality: unapologetically upbeat, always looking forward, doing his best not to dwell on the past. Speaking with the Gary Sinise Foundation® about the incident, Bullock shared, “I knew that my life wasn’t over, and this was just another challenge. Challenges have always motivated me to push harder in life.”

Designing a modern home to fit the lifestyle of a wounded veteran involves technology that is customizable and extremely easy-to-use. To serve at the center of the smart home system, The Sound Room installed an ELAN® Control System and other Nortek Security & Control technologies that enable easy control of lighting, audio, video, window shades, a security system with cameras, motorized door locks, garage door control, two zones of climate control and a front door video intercom.

The user-intuitive ELAN control interface is available to U.S. Army SFC Bullock through the two ELAN touch panels in the master bedroom and great room, as well as on an iPad® and iPhone®. This way, he and his family can easily see who is at the front door, view security feeds, and see what equipment is currently on or off throughout the home. Young also personalized “home” and “away” settings – the “away” setting can be enabled from any connected device to automatically ensure that TVs and lights are turned off, security is activated, and the doors are closed and locked when the family leaves.

The designer and integrator worked together to build what is perhaps Bullock’s favorite area in theELAN Smart-Home home, the exercise room. Complete with a 43” 4K TV and a pair of SpeakerCraft® in-ceiling speakers, he is always hard at work keeping his body in top condition. His dedication to physical fitness and challenges is part of his identity, as evidenced by the 12-mile race he ran just 10 months after the IED incident. Since then he has competed in Spartan races, worked with child amputees, and been featured for his strength and resilience on Bodybuilding.com.

With a large amount of equipment involved – including two ELAN® touch-panels, 16 SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers, three Sony® 4K TVs, 16 Lutron® lighting dimmers, six 75” wide Lutron motorized window shades, home theater equipment and more – protecting the system is of paramount importance. The Sound Room relied on Panamax® VT4315-PRO power conditioners to ensure every component gets clean, consistent power for optimal operation, and a Panamax MB-1500 rack-mount battery backup to allow for safe operation and shutdown of all rack components in case of a power outage.

During the project, Young was impressed with his team’s willingness to donate their time and expertise to this project. “This project presented a few challenges, namely because it was 2.5 hours away from our home location,” he said. “But even considering that, as soon as I announced our involvement in the project, several team members volunteered to work for free in support of U.S. Army SFC Bullock. It was a proud moment, as it was when we finally handed him the iPad that serves as the keys and control surface for his home.”

The Sound Room also worked directly with other manufacturers to have additional items donated, including obtaining a free Luxul® networking system for the family. Toward the end of the project, a Verizon® cell phone signal booster was added to improve the mediocre cellular reception at the home.

U.S. Army SFC Bullock“The home for U.S. Army SFC Bullock was built to make his life at home as seamless as it could be with customized design,” concluded Judith Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “We’re so honored to be a part of his journey and to better personalize his home to his needs. Without the generosity of Nortek Security & Control and our other partners, this wouldn’t be possible.”

About ELAN
ELAN, now part of Nortek Security & Control, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award, and continues to expand its intuitive functionality with security, climate, surveillance and video distribution products and integrations. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control
Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed more than 4 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, GoControl®, Linear®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, security dealers, technology integrators and consumers.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC has over 50 years of innovation and is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

Other brand names and product names mentioned herein may be the trademarks, tradenames, service marks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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Free Mobile and Web Based App Assists Military Veterans and Advocates with Potential VA Benefits Claims

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nvlsp app

The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) recently launched the first of its kind app for use by military veterans and their advocates, available for download through the NVLSP website, Apple App Store, or Google Play Store.

Named the NVLSP VA Benefit Identifier, the application helps veterans, with or without the assistance of a veteran’s service officer, determine specific VA benefits to which they are likely entitled.

Veteran Rob Concklin found the app helpful and commented on Facebook. “I just wanted to write and say thanks for the benefits app. I went thru it, made a claim for five service connected conditions, three were granted immediately. I probably wouldn’t have even made the claim if it weren’t for your app.” A fourth condition was granted later for Concklin and while one condition was denied, Concklin was pleased he filed a claim.

The app directs users to a logic based questionnaire that assists in verifying whether a veteran should file a claim for service-connected disability benefits or nonservice-connected disability pension. The survey addresses all possible disabilities covered by VA regulations.

Created in both English and Spanish, the app functions as a comprehensive logic tree, generating additional questions from previously supplied answers. To protect privacy, no data or personally identifiable information is retained. Once the questionnaire is completed, results can be emailed or printed and used as a reference when filing claims for VA benefits.

“We’re hoping to maximize the benefit of this app for veterans by offering it as a free service, without any cost for downloading and utilizing,” said Bart Stichman, co-founder and executive director of NVLSP. “We want to provide a supplementary means for veterans to decide what their best options are in filing a claim for disability benefits.”

NVLSP’s VA Benefit Identifier app does not assist with claims for a higher rating for disabilities the VA has already connected to military service; claims previously filed with the VA; or claims for disabilities resulting from VA health care, VA vocational rehabilitation or participation in a VA Compensated Work Therapy program.

In completing the Identifier questionnaire, veterans should have documents available about their military service (DD Form 214), information about medical conditions and any prior VA decisions or related communications.

Upon completing  the survey, veterans are advised to schedule an appointment with a veteran’s advocate chosen from a list of Veterans Service Organizations furnished in the app. Veteran’s advocates are regularly available to assist with applications for VA disability benefits, free of charge.

A key highlight of the NVLSP VA Benefit Identifier is its ability to appropriately recommend when veterans should file for specific conditions, prompting them to submit an “intent to file” form with the VA, while further providing timelines and instruction on how to proceed with a formal claim.

NVLSP’s app features an easy to navigate interface allowing veterans to interact with a support point person, and can be downloaded from the NVLSP website to any web-enabled smart device. NVLSP recently fixed some bugs in the app in May that had frustrated a handful of users, and the problems identified were corrected.

Download the NVLSP VA Benefit Identifier app on NVLSP’s website, from the Apple App Store, or from the Google Play Store.

About NVLSP
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active duty military personnel and veterans since 1980. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active duty personnel by ensuring they have the federal benefits they have earned through their service to our country. NVSLP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation’s definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information go to www.nvlsp.org.

Yes I Can—Program and Book Discovered by a Veteran, for Veterans

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Ray Simmons' Yes I Can Book

Yes I Can’s Guide to Better Living for Veterans

My name is Ray Simmons, and I am the President and Founder of Yes I Can, a non- profit organization. I wrote the book “A Guide to Better Living for Veterans” hoping it will transform the lives of Veterans in a positive way.

It was Joe Gallant, a Vietnam Veteran that inspired me to write this guide. He shared some stories with me about how many Veterans return home after fighting for our country, feeling unappreciated for all the sacrifices they’ve made for this country. Not to mention, our Veterans are committing suicide at such a high rate. This guide touches on several different subjects such as; Negative Attitude, Positive Attitude, Self Esteem, Motivation, Goals, Persistence, Patience, Procrastination, Art of Listening, and Communication. We included these subjects in our guide hoping it will change the psyche of our Veterans; generate values that are practical, meaningful and supportive of a healthy, vital lifestyle.

My goal is to make sure that every Veteran receives a Guide for Better Living as a gift from us, the Citizens of America whose freedom they fought to protect. I’m asking you to please help me put a guide in each Veterans hand. You can help a Veteran that you know by purchasing a Guide for him or her. If you don’t happen to know a Veteran you can still donate a guide to one. Did you know that there are 892,221 veterans in New York State? If each one of our Veterans were afforded the chance to receive a guide, it will be a life changing experience for a low cost of $13.90!

If you would like to learn more about Yes I Can you can visit our website https://yesicanforvets1.wixsite.com/yesicanforvets or if you would like to assist us in anyway to fulfill our goals in providing a guide to our Veterans, feel free to call our offices toll free number 1-888-612-3893 or 914-497-5509. You can also order a copy by paying via PayPal- YESICANVETS@gmail.com.  All donations are tax deductible!!!!!

Thank you for giving me the wonderful opportunity to share a few valuable lessons that I have learned in my lifetime. The main purpose of this book is to help our Veterans change their perspective from negative to positive. I also want to heighten there self –esteem. For example, if it is low, this guide will give them the motivation that is necessary to reach any goal in life!

-Ray Simmons, Author of Yes I Can: A Guide to Better Living For Veterans

About the Program:
Purpose of Program: The purpose of the program is to bring a successful mind set to our CAN DO format. We will generate values that are practical, meaningful and supportive of a healthy, vital lifestyle for our participants.

Duration of Program: The program is delivered through workshops twice a week for one hour a day over the course of eight weeks.

Purpose of Subjects: The workshop is made up of ten subjects that will change the psyche of our Veterans. Below is a brief synopsis of each subject’s purpose.

The first subject is Negative Attitude. The goal of this subject is for participants to identify where negativity comes from. Throughout the workshop, we point out how negativity is habit forming, just like drugs, alcohol, and food. In addition, we show how negativity can affect your health, even shorten your life. As a result, it will help our participants rid negative habit(s), if they possess one.

The second subject is Positive Attitude. This subject points out the benefits of having a positive attitude.  Throughout the workshop, we show the participants how having a positive attitude can keep them healthy, help them to live longer, as well as prevent diseases.

The third subject is Self Esteem.  Throughout the workshop the participants will gain an understanding that having a high positive self -esteem is extremely essential for a happy and fulfilling life and they are what they think they are. This subject will help them to think highly of themselves. As a result, the participants will have high positive selves esteem and love to appreciate themselves. Also, realize how special they are.

The fourth subject is Motivation. This subject will help the participants identify what motivates their thoughts and actions. They will understand that their thoughts and actions create their realities. As a result, they will be aware of what motivates them so their realities will be what they desire them to be.

The fifth subject is Goals. This subject teaches the participants how to set goals and fulfill their goals in life.  They will learn that life means to have purpose and goals. On the contrary, death means to do nothing and go nowhere. As a result, this subject will motivate the participants to soar to heights that they didn’t know they could reach.

The sixth subject is Persistence. This subject teaches the participants how to continue to pursue goals when faced with opposition. They will learn how to endure the storm of disappointments no matter how many times the door of rejection closes. As a result, they will know that a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.

The seventh subject is Patience. This subject teaches the participants how to calmly tolerate delay. They will start to realize anything worth having is worth waiting for. As a result, they will become wise enough to know that there is a time for everything and you can get where you need to be if you just be patient.

The eighth subject is Procrastination. This subject teaches the participants the value of getting the job done today and not waiting for tomorrow. The goal is to help the participants realize that every minute that passes, is a minute that they’ve missed an opportunity. In addition, they are taught how to manage their time so that they will learn to appreciate time and its value.

The ninth subject is the Art of Listening. This subject teaches the participants how to be an empathetic listener. Throughout this workshop, they will learn the art of listening to understand, opposed to listening to reply. In addition, we point out how important it is for someone to know that you truly understand his or her problem. As a result, the participants will listen to understand.

The tenth subject is Communication. This subject teaches the participants that communication is the most important skill in life. They will learn how to read body language because sixty percent of a message is told by the body not the words.

Get the details about the program and order your copy of the book today at yesicanforvets.com

Breakthrough Therapy for PTSD

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Army man sitting

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have hailed methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) a breakthrough treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception.

After years of research, the medical uses of MDMA have officially been recognized by the U.S. government, with the FDA granting therapists the right to treat PTSD patients with the drug.

Forbes.com reports: MAPS, which has been championing and fundraising for MDMA research for roughly 30 years, explained in a press release that the FDA’s granting of a Breakthrough Therapy Designation indicates the agency “has agreed that this treatment may have a meaningful advantage and greater compliance over available medications for PTSD.” It also designates the agency’s intent to help develop and review the treatment faster than other candidate therapies.

According to MAPS, the nonprofit organization has reached an agreement with the FDA under the Special Protocol Assessment Process for the design of two Phase 3 trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for patients with severe PTSD in the near future.

“Reaching agreement with [the] FDA on the design of our Phase 3PTSD Therapyprogram and having the ability to work closely with the agency has been a major priority for our team,” said Amy Emerson, executive director of the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, in a release. “Our Phase 2 data was extremely promising with a large effect size, and we are ready to move forward quickly. With breakthrough designation, we can now move even more efficiently through the development process in collaboration with the FDA to complete Phase 3.”

The drug’s ability to help people with PTSD cope with the lingering effects of trauma is attributed in large part to its capacity to produce feelings of euphoria, empathy, and heightened emotional and physical sensations – in other words, perhaps, giving sorely stressed brains the kind of neurochemical getaway that begets a little peace of mind. Those effects also seem to motivate recreational users, but unlike the self-dosed Saturday night version, official MDMA-assisted psychotherapy involves three administrations of the drug combined with established psychotherapeutic techniques.

Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS, commented in a statement, “For the first time ever, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will be evaluated in Phase 3 trials for possible prescription use, with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD leading the way. Now that we have agreement with FDA, we are ready to start negotiations with the European Medicines Agency.”

In Phase 2 trials completed by MAPS, 61 percent of the 107 participants no longer qualified for PTSD two months after they underwent three sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, according to the group. After a year, that number grew to 68 percent, and among participants who had all suffered from chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, on average for 17.8 years.

The randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trials will assess the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a group of 200 to 300 participants with PTSD aged 18+ at sites in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. As Science reported, the trials could begin as soon as next spring and wrap up by 2021 if MAPS is able to find the estimated $25 million needed to conduct them.

As Science reflected, “That an illegal dancefloor drug could become a promising pharmaceutical is another indication that the efforts of a dedicated group of researchers interested in the medicinal properties of mind-altering drugs is paying dividends.”

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London, told Science, “This is not a big scientific step. It’s been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicines. But it’s a huge step in acceptance.”

Source: maps.org

PTSD at Work: How Managers Can Help

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Woman with PTSD

By Jordan Brewer, Talent Acquisition Manager and Veteran Liaison at Aveanna Healthcare

Every workplace has its own stressors—from deadlines to workload and everything in between. But when you combine the stress of the daily grind with the chronic anxiety of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a simple “day at the office” can seem like anything but.

Such is the struggle faced by the millions of veterans with PTSD. As they transition into civilian life—a world of résumés, interviews and deadlines—they’re still shouldering the anxiety of their worst, most grueling days in service. How can we help them?

For starters, we have to meet them where they are: As a recruiter at Aveanna Healthcare, a pediatric home care company that made it its mission to hire veterans (and as a five-year Navy vet myself), I’ve learned that PTSD comes in all shapes and sizes. Not every service member has it, and of those who do, not everyone expresses it the same way.

For example, PTSD can range from an occasional forgetfulness to something more intense, like anger, and it affects those who saw combat along with those who didn’t. Some people experience it for a short while after service, while others have the anxiety follow them for years to come. And not everybody who has it knows they do.

But regardless of the traits and duration of an employee’s PTSD, there are a few things every manager and co-worker can do to help:

  1. Learn to spot the signs. I always tell people that PTSD isn’t what you see in the movies. There may not be some huge outburst or war flashback. Sometimes, the signs may be subtler, like if someone forgets little things or has trouble concentrating. Another indicator might be if they interact with colleagues differently—being more terse or withdrawn in a gradual or sudden fashion.
  2. Communicate. Employees may just need someone to listen—or they may not. But never let someone struggle in silence without at least asking if you can help. However, you also have to know when to walk away. Everyone manages stress differently, and like war, some battles just take time to work through.
  3. Embrace flexibility. I’ve seen veterans do best when their managers accommodate their needs in creative and flexible ways, as opposed to asking everyone to meet some uniform policy. Rearrange their schedule so they can miss the anxiety-ridden morning traffic jam, allow them to take frequent breaks during the day to recharge, or give the option to telecommute once a week. Ask them what works best for them, and go from there.
  4. Consider workspace design. See if you can change anything about the employee’s physical workspace to meet their needs. For example, if they feel anxious when startled, place their desk facing the door so that they can see as people approach, rather than being surprised from behind. If crowds or noise trigger them, consider placing them in a quiet spot instead of areas with high foot traffic, like near the elevators or break room.
  5. Engage and train HR. At Aveanna, we hire for about 180 locations—but as a recruiter, my job isn’t just to fill one opening and then move on to the next one. Rather, recruiters should be involved at every step of that person’s employment over the long haul. As challenges arise that could be attributed to PTSD, such as employee-to-employee conflict or performance issues, it’s important to have a human resource staff trained to help job candidates through the process with compassion and understanding.
  6. Create a resource list. When I tell veterans about the multitude of free resources they have available to them from nonprofits, licensed therapists and other local groups, they’re amazed. That’s why it’s integral to build up a resource list and a strong referral base to send employees when they need help.

No two veterans are the same—so PTSD will never be a one-size-fits-all issue. But with a little compassion and genuine flexibility, we can help veterans feel included, welcome and heard in the workplace.

Guardians of Rescue Seek Support in Helping Airmen Bring Rescued Dogs Back Home

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therapy dog with soldier

Military members stationed in the Middle East are subjected to some brutal conditions, but every once in a while something happens that puts a smile on their face and brings them some comfort. That’s exactly what happened to two airmen, who within days of each other were brought together with puppies in need of rescue.

They rescued the dogs and went on to create strong bonds with them. Now, the Guardians of Rescue are working to help the airmen bring the dogs back home to America with them for good. “They have created inseparable bonds with these dogs and can’t imagine leaving them behind in the Middle East as they come back home to the states,” Robert Misseri, founder and president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “We have helped other airmen bring dogs back home with them, and we are going to help these two as well. As they fight for us, we will be fighting for them.”

The two dogs will be arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in July. They will stay in New York for a few weeks before being transported by Guardians of Rescue to El Paso, Texas, where both of the airmen live. The two men, Staff Sgt. Dustin Fulmer (originally from Omaha, NE) and Senior Airman Jordan Jensen (originally from Ludington, MI) will be reunited with the dogs when they return home from the Middle East.

In the midst of a bad sandstorm, the two men had come across a 4-foot wood stake sticking up out of the ground with a rope tied to it. They immediately thought it was another IED, but it ended up being a tiny puppy with a rope around its neck. The puppy lay in agony, with its ears having been cut off, likely with a dull knife. The dog was full of blood and flies were surrounding it. With only hours left to live, Jensen scooped her up, knowing he could not leave her behind. He nursed him back to health, naming him Kral, and they quickly became inseparable. It was only days later when out on another mission that Fulmer found a litter of dying puppies that he tried to save. The survivor of that litter became his best friend, a beautiful puppy he named Syri.

Both puppies were lucky enough to be saved by these two heroic airmen.therapy dog with soldierOver the months that followed, they created strong bonds with them. Both of them faced a big challenge, knowing that they would not be comfortable leaving the beloved dogs behind when they went back to America. That’s when Guardians of Rescue stepped in to help bring them back home, as they have done for other military members. The lengthy mission of bringing them back to the U.S. was begun in the middle of the night by former military personnel. The dogs are currently being held in the country of Jordan, where there has been a holy war against dogs since October 2017, as they wait for their flight to the U.S.

“We know that everyone wants to see these dogs be brought back home and the airmen reunited with them,” adds Misseri. “This is a great way for people to help military members. They can make a donation to help cover the costs of making this reunion happen. We can’t do it without the support of the public.” Those wishing to help bring the airmen’ dogs back to the U.S. can make a donation online: guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/54645-the-hero-duo-kral-syri.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets. They are located in Long Island, New York, and they help animals in many places beyond where they are located. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto guardiansofrescue.org.

About Guardians of Rescue
Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well-being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org

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Local Charity Creates Barber/Beauty Salon Expressly for Homeless Veterans

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Haircuts-for-Veterans

Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation (RBCF) is well known for managing projects in Maryland that provide no-charge haircuts and hairstyles services to children and adults who lack access to regular grooming services. Therefore, on June 25, 2018 at 5PM the RBCF and the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET) will cut the ribbon on a single chair barber/beauty salon that will exclusively provide no-charge grooming services homeless veterans.

Located in Southeast Baltimore, the shop will serve up to 175 of our Country’s former armed service men and women. The shop is the first of its kind in Baltimore, with the cost of the installation is funded with private grants and donations from individuals.

MCVET has operated a 175 bed transitional shelter for homeless veterans (both male and female service members) for more than twenty-five years. The facility addresses employment training and placement, housing assistance, addiction, mental health issues, and more. The goal of full employment, independence, and reintegration into the community is not fully attainable if these veterans’ appearance is suffering from a lack of access to regular grooming,” says Robert Cradle, Managing Director of the RBCF. “When the new barber/salon is installed, MCVET will enlist volunteer barbers and hairstylists to provide haircuts, hairstyles, shaves and needed chemical treatments”. RBCF: therbcf.com; MCVET: mcvet.org/

One Company Gives Back to Injured Veterans, Helping them Every Step of the Way

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Leslie Smith

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 18.5 million veterans in the country. Like the rest of the population, they experience lower leg injuries, resulting from any number of issues.

One company has created a way to help them every step of the way, making it more comfortable for them to have better mobility as they recover. The iWALKFree company gives back to veterans, by giving those with lower leg injuries the iWALK2.0.

“We are extremely grateful for everything veterans have done for our country,” explains Brad Hunter, the innovator of iWALK2.0 and the chief executive officer of the company, iWALKFree, Inc. “Being able to give back and help them even a little is the least that we can do. We are happy to know that our device helps make their injury recovery a lot more tolerable.”

The iWALK2.0 has been designed to help with all types of common lower leg injuries, as well as those with amputations. To provide veterans with the iWALK2.0, the company has teamed up with the Travis Mills Foundation. The foundation was created by Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, who is a wounded warrior, having lost of his arms and legs during combat. He became an advocate for veterans and amputees, starting the foundation to help with those efforts. During 2017, they helped 84 veteran families with being able to attend a healing retreat that included such as activities as yoga, archery, boating, fishing, hiking, painting, culinary arts, and much more.

One of the wounded veterans helped by the iWALK2.0 is Leslie Smith, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Bosnia in 2001-2002. Her rigorous training required her to wear combat boots that lead to a blood clot. The condition led to an amputation of her left leg. Though she was fitted for a prosthetic leg, what many people don’t realize is that wearing them for any length of time can lead to severe skin irritation and extreme pain at the knee and upper thigh. Typically amputees give up their prosthetics from time to time so that these side effects can heal.  And many military vets who have lost their legs have given up on prosthetics altogether due to these side effects. The iWALK2.0 helps her through those healing periods.

“The iWalk allows me to be and feel like a whole person,” explains Leslie SmithLeslie Smith. ““The iWalk gives me freedom, confidence, and independence. I do not have to rely on a wheelchair or crutches. Having the ability to use my hands freely is of great importance especially being legally blind and having a service dog. The iWalk has removed any and all stress or worry that I will not be able to continue daily activities, work, travel, and anything fun, like shopping. I have no fear of missing out on what I need to do!”

With the iWALK2.0, Smith no longer has to hop, crawl, use a wheelchair or crutches, in order to get around when she was taking a break from her prosthetic to heal. This helps to avoid injuries, bruising, falls, and soreness.  Plus, it’s empowered her life because she can get around with ease and feel safe doing so.

The program that iWALKFree has in place to give back to those in need provides people with the opportunity to donate their used iWALK2.0 to a variety of charities. Along with the Travis Mills Foundation, they provide devices to the Adaptive Training Foundation, Canada Africa Community Health Alliance, Serving Us Veterans in Need, Globus Relief, Hands of Hope, Physicians for Peace, Limbs for Life, World Rehabilitation Fund, Marshall-Legacy Institute, and Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance.

In addition to giving back to veterans to help with their injury recovery, the company also provides help to other charities where they provide free iWALK2.0 units to those in need who do not have the means to otherwise pay for them. The device retails for $149, but their mission with that charity is to help those in need have access to a more comfortable way to recover from injury that will also help them be more mobile.

The product does provide benefits to those veterans who used it, because the iWALK2.0 offered them easier mobility while they were recovering from an injury. Rather than them spending their time recovering from a lower leg injury using crutches, which can be painful and limit mobility, they were able to get around easier and with less pain.

The iWALK2.0 is hands-free, pain-free alternative to using crutches and leg scooters.  It’s easy to learn to use, intuitive, and safe. From the knee up, the leg is doing the same walking motion that comes naturally to it. The device is essentially a temporary lower leg, which gives people their independence and mobility back as they recover from an injury. The device is pain-free, and makes it possible for people to engage in many of their normal routine activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping, and walking up or down stairs.

Clinical research, the results of which are on the company website, shows that patients using the iWALK2.0 heal faster, and have a higher sense of satisfaction and a higher rate of compliance. The iWALK2.0 sells for $149 and is available online and through select retailers. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the device. The device can be used with a cast or boot, and comes with a limited warranty. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at: iwalk-free.com. To see a video of the iWALK2.0 in action, visit: iWalkFree.com.

About iWALKFree

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free knee crutch, made by iWALKFree, Inc.  It’s a mobility device used instead of traditional crutches and knee scooters. It offers more comfort and independence, with the hands and arms remaining free. The device offers people a functional and independent lifestyle as they are recovering from many common lower leg injuries. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at: iwalk-free.com.

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Source:
U.S. Census Bureau Veterans Day 2017.

Paws of War to Take Therapy Dogs to Nursing Home

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Therapy Dog

Dogs can often brighten the day of anyone, providing them with companionship, laughs, and giving them a reason to smile. The senior residents at the Dominican Village Assisted Living Community, located at 565 Albany Avenue in Amityville, New York, will be all smiles on June 15, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. That’s because the Paws of War organization will be stopping by with seven therapy dogs to visit with the residents, many of whom are veterans and retired police officers.

“This is going to be a real treat for the residents of Dominican Village,” says Joanne Contegiacomo, director of the dog therapy program at Paws of War. “Many of these heroes we will be visiting are humble, yet have saved many lives. We want them to know their courage and valor has not been forgotten.”

Paws of War is an organization that focuses on serving veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. Some of the seniors that the therapy dogs visit are suffering from such conditions as dementia, while others are in good health. Numerous of the veterans that will be visited have been awarded Purple Hearts. Everyone typically gets something beneficial from the time they spend with the dogs. Paws of War is also partnering with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) New York lodge 911 to provide this beneficial service to the assisted living community. The FOP will also have therapy dogs at the event.

Therapy DogThe purpose of the visits is to provide the residents with an opportunity to connect with the dogs, have their spirits lifted, and to benefit from the calming, soothing nature that they bring with them. According to the National Institutes of Health, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease stress-related hormones and lower blood pressure. Other studies have shown that interactions help to reduce loneliness, boost your mood, and provide feelings of social support.

“Being able to take our dogs there to spend an hour is exciting,” added Joanne Contegiacomo, director of the dog therapy program at Paws of War. “It’s our mission to help and give back when and where we can, and we know this is going to help lift some spirits.”

Paws of War is an non profit organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at:pawsofwar.org

Therapy DogAbout Paws of War
Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at pawsofwar.org