2GIG and ELAN Smart Home Gifted by the Gary Sinise Foundation Provides U.S. Army CPT Jake Murphy with the Control He Needs

Disabled Veteran with his family standing outside their smart home

While on a mission in Afghanistan on July 23, 2011, a pressure plate improvised explosive device detonated beneath U.S. Army Captain Jake Murphy, immediately taking his left foot and causing an anoxic brain injury that put him into a coma.

Against all odds, Murphy emerged from his coma four weeks later and was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he eventually lost both of his legs.

Recognizing Cpt. Murphy’s immense bravery, the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program provided him and his family a specially adapted smart home with technologies by Nortek Security & Control in an effort to help improve and simplify everyday life for the family of four.

“When designing this home for Captain Murphy and his family, simplicity was key,” said Jason Hanifan of Comware AV, the ELAN dealer that designed the home technology solution. “With that in mind, we personalized the ELAN Control System to make it easy for the whole family to control all the integrated technologies in the 3,598 square foot home.”

Comware AV built the system with an ELAN gSC10 as the main system controller, with an ELAN S1616A providing audio distribution and a 8×8 HDBaseT™ Matrix for video. The Murphy family can manage their home’s security, audio, video, Lutron® lighting, fans and shades, plus thermostats, and door locks through ELAN HR30 remotes in the family room and master bedroom, ELAN 7” Touch Panels in the kitchen and master bedroom, as well as through the ELAN app on their smart devices and with voice control through ELAN’s Amazon Alexa® integration.

With security being essential to the family, Hanifan and his team installed a 2GIG security system with over 40 sensors wirelessly connected to a 2GIG GC3 panel, which is integrated into the ELAN control system. According to Hanifan, “In addition to the intrusion sensors, we added 2GIG Glass Break Detectors to monitor for the sound of breaking glass in the home, 2GIG Motion Detectors, ten 2GIG Smoke Detectors, plus Carbon Monoxide Detectors.”

Murphy and his family can easily review the status of their home’s doors and windows before leaving the house or turning in for the night, using the GC3 panel, two 2GIG SP1 secondary touchscreens or any of their ELAN interfaces. If a door is left open, the 2GIG system will annunciate exactly which doors or window are open, and where. For further security, an ELAN network video recorder captures video from six ELAN surveillance cameras, all which can be managed from within the ELAN app.

To simplify the home control, Hanifan and the Comware AV team personalized automated scenes, such as “good night,” which automatically locks the doors and adjusts the lights, or “away” which automatically locks the doors, turn off the lights and sets the thermostats to a certain energy-saving level. “By initiating the ‘relax’ scene, the lights will switch to their designated level and the TV will go on,” said Hanifan. “With ELAN, the scene options are endless, which is ideal for Captain Murphy and his family. For example, when he wakes up in the morning he simply needs to say ‘good morning’ and everything will adjust to his desired settings. It’s that easy.”

For the Murphy family, music and entertainment are important aspects of home life. The Comware AV team installed 18 SpeakerCraft AIM282 speakers to maximize audio performance, and added a 1,000-watt Sunfire HRS10 subwoofer so the family can really “feel” the entertainment in the media room.

To ensure that all of the home’s technology receives uncompromised power for optimal operation, the system components plug into a Panamax M4315-PRO power conditioner with BlueBOLT® remote power management, while a Panamax MB-1500 battery backup guarantee protects the system in case of a power outage.

According to Scott Schaeperkoetter, Director of Operations for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, the smart home system has completely transformed everyday life for the Murphy family. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the lives of these veterans and with Nortek Security & Control’s line of smart home and security solutions, we’re able to completely customize the smart home technology in each home to fit the individual needs of the veteran and their family,” he said. “We’re honored to be able to support their journey to regain their independence.”

About ELAN
ELAN®, from 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 5 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, Linear®, GoControl®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for security dealers, technology integrators, national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, 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.

Hospital ship Mercy, with 1,000 beds, will help ease L.A.’s healthcare strain amid crisis

USNS-Mercy docks in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County hospitals at near capacity may see relief this weekend as patients who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus will begin transferring to the Navy hospital ship Mercy, which docked at the Port of Los Angeles on Friday.

Navy officials say it will be up to local and state officials to decide who will be transferred, and those patients will have to undergo screening before being allowed on board. Emergency medical service workers transporting patients will be prohibited from entering the ship and will also be subject to screenings.

Officials said they have yet to determine whether or how patients would receive visitors.

During a new conference at the port, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the arrival of the ship from San Diego could not have come at a better time, as health experts expect local hospitals to see a surge in the number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“I want to thank the president personally on behalf of a grateful region, on behalf of a grateful state, for sending this ship and the incredible resources that reside within this ship to the state of California,” Newsom said.

The Mercy has roughly 800 medical staffers, 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms.

The ship will house patients who do not have COVID-19 in an attempt to free up regional hospital beds for those who do. Some patients who are already hospitalized in Los Angeles County will be transferred to the ship for ongoing treatment, port officials said Thursday.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said ship will be the largest hospital in Los Angeles and will bring much needed hospital beds amid the city’s fight against the coronavirus.

“This will be a COVID-19 free bubble,” Garcetti said. Whether a patient is taken to the ship directly from an accident or from a hospital, he said, one less bed taken up at L.A. hospitals means another bed in the ongoing fight against coronavirus. “So this ship is truly mercy on the water … and the expression of who we are as Americans and as people at this moment.”

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Testing My Mettle to Earn My Medal: A Ragnar Trail Experience

Heath Hansen and buddy kneeling on ground holding an Airborne flag

By Heath Hansen

November 1st, 2017, I get a call from my buddy – my buddy rarely calls me; when we communicate, it’s through text messages. “What’s up, bro?” I asked. “Hey, my Ragnar teammate just got called for duty, he can’t make the race. We need a runner.” I didn’t know what a Ragnar Race was, but the name sounded interesting and I accepted the invitation. “Oh yeah, one more thing, every person on the team was in the Marine Corps. You and me are the only Army vets.” “Great.” I sarcastically replied.

I decided to read up on the Ragnar Race. The info revealed I had nine days to train for a race that required roughly 14 miles of running on my behalf. The race was located at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, a 25,000 acre preserve in the middle of Southern California mountains, and would occur over the course of two days. The terrain would be treacherous – up and down mountains, patches of thick vegetation and rocky paths. On top of this, I wasn’t a runner – in fact, I hated running, with a passion. Luckily I did CrossFit workouts regularly and had a pretty clean diet. At least I wasn’t starting from rock bottom.

The next day I decided to go for a four mile run near my house in south San Diego. It sucked, but I finished without stopping and maintained a pace of about 8 minutes per mile. The next two days I was extremely sore, but managed to do a few more short runs leading up to the 10th of November.

On race day, we arrived at the venue and I realized the scale of a Ragnar Race. There were over a thousand people present across the area. We arrived at the campsite and made our way over to the team tent. Between the 8 of us, there was a broad age (and fitness) range. I knew I would perform above average, but still wanted to crush this competition. Every single one of them had Marine Corps tattoos. Being a former paratrooper, I knew I had to prove myself. They didn’t care whether I had time to train or not, this was still about inter-service rivalry and finding out who was the best. I extended my arm and shook each of their hands. “Hey, you know what ARMY stands for,” one of them asked? “Aren’t Really Marines Yet,” the dumbass laughed. “Do you know what USMC stands for,” I asked him. He looked at me quizzically. Pointing at him, I said, “U Suck My Cock,” and smiled. I wasn’t going to be the weakest link among a bunch of crayon eating Jar-Heads; the race had begun.

We would all be running a total of three legs during the competition, and, collectively, covering about 114 miles of trail. In between legs, we would have about eight hours of downtime to hangout in the team area, rest, eat and hydrate.

My first leg was starting – 8 miles. The hill I was climbing seemed to never want to end. I knew ascending for this long at a running pace would burn up my lungs quickly, so I took my time. It kept going, and going, and going. After what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the top and got back on a faster, longer stride. During my descent, I gazed off onto the horizon, the mountains looked incredible. The scenery made this one of the most gorgeous runs I had ever been on. As I progressed further, the sharp pain in the arches of my feet made it apparent that they needed some attention. I made my way down the mountain and found the finish line. Once there, I handed off the electronic tracker (to log our progress) to the next runner. He seemed surprised by how soon I had made it back. There were about eight hours left before my next section of the trail would begin, so I made my way to the first-aid tent to get checked out.

Heath Hansen running through camp with large backpack on
Heath Hansen during Ragner Race

I arrived at the tent and waited behind about half a dozen other competitors who also needed some work. Once they got to me, the paramedics were happy to help me out with the blisters that had formed on both of my feet. After disinfecting the sores, they patched me up quickly with moleskins and I was back on my way again, heading towards the campsite.

Once at the encampment, my buddy and I decided to grab some dinner from one of the Ragnar sponsors. From pizza, to potatoes, to pasta, we had a large selection to choose from; I decided to load up on carbs with pasta and meatballs. The meal was delicious and gave me plenty of energy for the rest of the race.

My next leg started at about 9 PM and was roughly three miles. Compared to the eight miles I had finished a few hours earlier, this felt like a walk in the park. It was nighttime, so my body temperature remained cool the entire time and I kept a fast pace throughout. I made it back to the finish line and headed to the team campsite for some rest. My next leg would start at around 6 AM. I sat under the team tent and talked to a couple of the guys who were preparing for their next part of the run. In between taking swigs of water and snacking on trail mix, I got to know a few of them pretty well. After a while, I walked over to my camping tent, got into the fart sack , and caught up on some sleep.

“Hey, Heath, get up, it’s almost time for your final leg,” my buddy uttered. I could barely move. Every muscle in my body was sore, my feet were swollen, and I had a headache. I didn’t want to do the last leg – just over three miles. But I had to prove myself and I knew all of my teammates were counting on me. “Let’s go, Army. Pain is weakness leaving the body,” one of the Marine veterans jabbed. Slowly, I slipped my shoes on and made my way to the fire (at Ragnar Village) near the starting line. Near the flames, I stretched and got myself limbered up for the last bit of this race. It was going to hurt, but I was going to do it. I was going to finish.

Heath Hansen
Heath Hansen

My teammate handed me the sensor as he finished his leg and I was off. The blisters on my feet ached and made every step excruciating. It reminded me of my time as an infantryman in Afghanistan, making my way up and down the mountains, regardless of how much it hurt. On deployment, I focused on the next step, every step, and just kept going. With this mindset, I maintained my pace for this final leg and tried to concentrate on the goal instead of the pain. Eventually, I could see the tents and the fire again. I was almost there. I made my way closer and closer to the finish line. I could see my team – all of them. They had made their way to the finish line to cheer me on. I had finished. It was over. I was done.

We walked back to the tent. It was now November 11th, 2017 – Veterans Day. We were all former servicemen and decided to celebrate the holiday, and the race, with a beer. There was no longer a sense of rivalry, we were just friends trading war stories about difficult spots on the trails we had just conquered. I was glad I had come out and helped these guys. The team, Los Chavos Del Ocho, made it all worth it. When I got home that night, knowing that I had not stopped a single time on the trail and kept a consistently fast pace, I slept better than I had in months.

A few weeks later, my buddy told me the final results of the race had been posted. Out of dozens and dozens of other competitors, our team had finished third overall in our division. He handed me the medals we had won as a unit – our effort had paid off, and my Ragnar experience was complete.

Heath Hansen was an airborne infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division and is a former police officer. After serving combat tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq he left the Army and received his B.S. in Business Financial Services at San Diego State University. He now resides in San Diego and travels extensively in Europe.

Sailor speaks into sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills

Sailor speaks into sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills

ARABIAN GULF – Ensign Christopher Cartwright, from Yorba Linda, California, speaks into a sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Forrest Sherman is part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond Maddocks)

Source: outreach.navy.mil

Twitter: @NavyOutreach
Instagram: @US_Navy_Outreach

More than 9,000 responded to the Army’s call for medical personnel

Army medical personnel load stretcher into a military vehicle

The Army sent more than 800,000 former soldiers with medical training an email to gauge their interest in assisting with the coronavirus pandemic response, and received more than 9,000 responses, Army leaders said Thursday.

The volunteers could fill in for current Army medical personnel who might be sent to help civilian leaders domestically, the Army’s top medical officer explained during a briefing at the Pentagon.

“We have had some positive responses,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said. “What we’re looking for is medical expertise.”

An email sent to retirees Wednesday by Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, the Army deputy chief of staff for manpower, listed a series of heath care careers the service is interested in, including critical care officers, various nursing specialties and former medics.

“We’re getting many volunteers,” said Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle. “We’ll then walk through the process of certification, making sure that all certifications and credentials are straight. Then once we do that, we’ll plug them into all of our medical treatment facilities as required in support of the mission.”

The email does mention that if recipients are currently working in a civilian hospital or medical facility, to let the Army know, as service officials say they “do not want to detract from the current care and treatment you are providing to the nation.”

Army Medical Command plans to use the volunteers to fill the roles of current medical personnel normally assigned to treatment facilities who may be called upon to deploy.

Within the Army, there have been a total of 288 positive cases of coronavirus out of about 5,000 tests administered to its personnel. That number includes 100 soldiers, 65 dependents, 64 civilian employees, 50 contractors and 9 cadets. So the need for medically-trained soldiers at Army posts is expected to increase.

Volunteers would be leveraged alongside Army reserve soldiers “to fill those holes from the medical treatment facilities, so we can maintain the readiness of our soldiers, as well as the beneficiary population,” Dingle said.

On Tuesday, the secretary of the Army ordered three field hospital to deploy to New York and Washington states to assist governors there in tamping down on the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue on to the Army Times to read the complete article.

NAVY Spotlight-Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Matthew Roney and Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Richard Truong

Machinists move resin barrels

PHILIPPINE SEA – The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. Pictured moving resin barrels aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 23, 2020 are left, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Matthew Roney, from Dallas, and pictured right is Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Richard Truong, from Westminster, Calif.

Source: outreach.navy.mil

Twitter: @NavyOutreach
Instagram: @US_Navy_Outreach


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi)

Mission Roll Call Launches Social Media Campaign for Military Veterans to Connect During COVID-19 Crisis

woman veteran searching online with her laptop on table

Crowd-sourced video series will empower veterans to maintain supportive communities as social distancing practices continue

Mission Roll Call recently announced the launch of “Be A Leader,” a new crowd-sourced social media video series that will empower veterans, their families and caregivers to virtually connect with each other and share their experiences during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Content shared using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag on social media will highlight stories and advice from veterans to encourage personal growth, optimistic communities and responsible behavior in the months to come.

“With a wealth of experience handling critical and stressful situations in a calm, positive manner, military veterans are ready to lead by example in this time of uncertainty,” said Garrett Cathcart, executive director of Mission Roll Call. “This campaign will give all veterans an opportunity to share how they are checking in on their buddies, entertaining their families, and staying active so others will be inspired to do the same as the nation continues to practice social distancing.”

In addition to videos created and shared by followers of Mission Roll Call’s social media channels, the series will feature insights and words of encouragement from individuals such as Medal of Honor recipients Sal Giunta and Clint Romesha, as well as retired NFL player and U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer.

The “Be A Leader” campaign is an extension of Mission Roll Call’s goal to provide veterans with a platform where they can make their voices heard on the key issues impacting their lives. Mission Roll Call is a program of national nonprofit America’s Warrior Partnership that has connected with more than 535,000 veterans, family members, caregivers and advocates since launching in 2019.

Veterans and community members who wish to participate can post content and follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag and tagging @MissionRollCall.

About Mission Roll Call

Mission Roll Call is the first-ever movement of its kind — one dedicated to giving every veteran a voice in advocating for the issues that are important to them. The program created a digital community where veterans, their families and caregivers can make their voices heard. Veterans can share their stories through comments on our social media pages and respond to online polls about the most urgent issues facing veteran communities. These messages, views and insights are delivered directly to policymakers and civic leaders with the goal of enacting lasting, positive change.

For more information, visit MissionRollCall.org. Mission Roll Call is a program of America’s Warrior Partnership. America’s Warrior Partnership is a nationally recognized nonprofit with a Platinum Guidestar Seal of Transparency.

Source: America’s Warrior Partnership

New Wellness APP Connects Veterans With Live Coaches via Video Sessions Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Veteran working on the smartphone

By Maurice D. Wilson, MCPO, USN (Ret), and Jim Wong USMC Veteran

On 01 April, National Veterans Transition Services Inc. (NVTSI) aka REBOOT, in partnership with TaskHuman is launching the nation’s first veteran wellness APP: veteranwellness.online, an evidence-based, simple-to-use veteran wellness assessment and intervention tool based on the Life Balance Wheel taught during REBOOT Workshops to help veterans self-prioritize their immediate needs and seek help.

Like many other veteran service organizations and state and county agencies, NVTSI is minimizing direct contact with our constituents to reduce risks to facilitators and providers for the next several months, and are turning to technology to help us continue our mission of serving transitioning military, veterans, and their families. With the COVID-19 crisis looming over America, our mandate to serve veterans and their families remains unchanged. And as “Social distancing,” “Shelter in place,” and “Stay at Home” become the new social norms, we see technology as a viable solution to connect veterans in need of emotional support with coaches to help them through these trying times.

Using a veteran’s own self-assessment across critical wellness domains – health, family life, career, finance, etc. – to guide their reintegration journey, the TaskHuman app provides veterans with on-demand 1:1 live coaching via video call from vetted professionals to address high priority life needs, thereby minimizing personal stress and maximizing the veteran’s chances of successful transition from military service to civilian life.

Early detection and mitigation of veteran reintegration issues, as identified by world-renowned Veterans & Families Research Hub (frhub.com/about/), and corroborated by The Veteran Metrics Initiative Study (TVMI) by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (https://www.hjf.org/tvmi-study-update) is essential for a successful transition to civilian life. The goal of the program is to 1) Heighten self-awareness, and 2) trigger early intervention, facilitated by 1:1 with live coaches online. This is particularly timely as efforts to contain COVID-19 requires self-imposed isolation, a leading indicator of depression and suicide. Our expected outcome for TaskHuman users is to improve their Wellness Score by 10% in one year.

“Our APP is particularly timely as efforts to contain COVID-19 requires self-imposed isolation, a leading indicator of depression and suicide. And in anticipation of a COVID-19-triggered surge, we are seeking additional coaches to meet demand.” Jim Wong, Chair, National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. and USMC Veteran

We have begun training veterans to use TaskHuman, with wellness scores stored in a secure personal profile, to be used as their benchmark or intake score. In anticipation of a COVID-19-triggered surge, we are also vetting additional coaches. Following enrollment, TaskHuman will prompt users to continue monitoring their wellness, as they receive ongoing coaching. Veterans with a self-assessment score of 6 or less are flagged and automatically monitored for intervention by REBOOT staff. Our goal is to see all veterans achieve a minimum score of 7 or higher in any transition domains, removing them from danger.

Currently 70% of America’s veterans are not enrolled in a system of care, waiting until personal issues reach untenable levels before seeking help. In a majority of cases, a peer or family member advises them to seek help; however, because of stigma and/or fear, veterans are reluctant to seek help, predisposing them to unemployment, under-employment, homelessness, depression and suicide (70% of suicide victims were not enrolled in the VA system or veteran service organization). Furthermore, there is no system or process that facilitates at-risk veterans to self-evaluate their wellness to seek early intervention. The need exists for an online, scalable process so veterans can easily determine their wellness, allowing them connect with veteran-friendly wellness coaches/counselors in a live private, 24/7/365 1:1 secure manner, without going through a lengthly and often embarrassing process to obtain help they need from a trusted counselor.

Services will be delivered in three ways: (1) directly to service members attending Pre-Separation (Pre-Sep) and Capstone orientations aboard military installations before their release from active duty, as well as during REBOOT Workshops and One-Day REBOOT Your Life Seminars. Additionally, outreach will be conducted via social media such as Facebook, Linkedin, PSAs and articles. (2) Once veterans are enrolled on the APP, they will have access to a network of over 400 (and growing) coaches available to provide 1:1 counseling online across a domain of roughly 1,000 wellness topics, such as finance, careers, stress management, combatting drug or alcohol addiction, coping with job loss, managing a small business, parenting, dealing with aging parents, and even managing pets. (3) Word of mouth from users and counselors.

Known nationally for innovative veteran solutions such as REBOOT, Veterans Community Connections, and the Community Information Exchange (San Diego’s coordinated care system for veterans), among other tried-and-true programs, San Diego is the ideal location to validate TaskHuman as a cost-effective high tech – high touch solution, allowing us to serve the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel, from which approximately 24,000 transition annually to the private sector. Each year, 7,500 of these new veterans elect San Diego as home, testing local capabilities to serve them. San Diego also has the nation’s largest at-risk veteran populations: Post 911, female and homeless veterans, who comprise much of those vulnerable veterans “off the grid,” especially if they do not obtain speedy help, and should COVID-19 spiral out of control. Finally, the REBOOT TaskHuman Wellness APP will help to identify ever changing needs of veterans, thus reducing wait time for them to begin their successful reintegration journey. As a form of triage, this APP will help REBOOT staff and sister VSOs to prioritize their work, optimize work flow, and allow everyone to address problems at their onset. As data accumulates, we plan to analyze trends to further improve veteran wellness.

This will be a free service staffed by volunteer coaches and we are seeking experienced coaches willing to volunteer and support this initiative. If you are interested in volunteering please sign up at: taskhuman.com/veterans-program/.

For more information, contact me at maurice@nvtsi.org or 866-535-7624

Chemist Creates Program to Support Vets in STEM

Veteran in uniform holding books with a U.S. flag behind him

By Emily Litvack

Military veterans interested in studying STEM fields at the University of Arizona are receiving a little extra help, thanks to a new program that was developed to support veterans and increase their participation in research.

The new program is an expansion of the highly successful Arizona Science, Engineering and Math Scholars, or ASEMS program, which provides tutoring, mentoring and specialized coursework for UA students.

“ASEMS has done really well with supporting and engaging students in STEM, so we wanted to take what already exists and adjust it specifically for the veteran population,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Marty, who received a National Science Foundation Career grant to support a veteran-specific program dubbed ASEMS-V.

Identifying a Need
In October 2017, James Rohrbough became the first staff scientist in the Marty Lab. Rohrbough spent nearly 21 years in the U.S. Air Force as a chemist and taught chemistry as an assistant professor at the Air Force Academy. But 18 months into retirement, Rohrbough, who retired as a lieutenant colonel, was bored. When he saw that Michael Marty, an assistant professor of chemistry at the UA, was hiring, Rohrbough picked up the phone.

“I thought, ‘I can actually use my degree back at the university,’” says Rohrbough, who grew up in Tucson and received both his undergraduate degree and his Ph.D. from the UA.

Chemists with lab coats on looking at technology equipment
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Marty with lab partner

“James told me he’d like to get back into a lab, and with someone of his level of experience, I was happy to have him,” Marty said.

At the time he hired Rohrbough, Marty was thinking about what impact he could have on students. He wanted to do something new and unique – something that would make a difference.

“With James joining the lab,” Marty said, “I thought we might have a unique opportunity to work with veterans.”

Marty started to look at veterans and higher education more closely, and he didn’t like what he found. Among veterans, both graduation rates and persistence in STEM were lower than in the overall student population.

Marty reached out to Cody Nicholls, who oversees programs and resources at the Student Vets Center and the UA ROTC, and spoke with Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, director of the ASEMS. He asked Rohrbough about the challenges veterans face in an academic environment.

For many veterans, their time in the service is a gap between high school and college, so they may need to a refresher on foundational courses that an undergraduate fresh out of high school wouldn’t need. Also, a much higher proportion of veterans have spouses, children and other commitments beyond their studies when compared with traditional students.

“James was really the one who pointed out how different training was in the military compared to an academic environment,” Marty said, referring to the primarily in-the-field training of the military versus the classroom learning of a university.

“Veterans are typically older, more mature and have more experience when they start university, so they’re more ready to jump right into research than a traditional 18-year-old undergraduate might be,” Marty said. “We think that’ll help mimic the on-the-job training they get in the military. It’s practical, hands-on learning.”

Finding a Solution
From their discussions, an idea emerged. Alongside colleagues in the ASEMS program and the Vet Center, Marty would help launch an ASEMS program for veterans, called ASEMS-V. Through the program, he could support veteran students pursuing STEM degrees and bring their skills to research labs at the UA.

“Marty’s work typifies the science that federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, see as both cutting-edge and fundamental at the same time,” says Kimberly Ogden, interim vice president for research at the UA. “Marty embodies a true scholar that is dedicated to research, education and community engagement.”

Through ASEMS-V, veterans at the UA will receive tutoring, mentoring and professional development. They will take courses such as Success in STEM, Professionalism in STEM and Research Readiness, and ideally, will shadow researchers in labs as early as their first semester as a student.

“Hopefully, ASEMS-V will persuade veterans who were on the fence about their degree choices to pursue their dreams and complete a degree in a STEM field,” Nicholls said.

“Veterans are particularly well-suited for careers in STEM,” said Rohrbough, who is helping Marty develop the curricula and will likely teach, as well. “The mindset of military service is mission-oriented. We have a goal; We do everything we can to achieve it. And that’s exactly how we do science, too. We focus all of our energy on the steps it takes to get to a goal, so time in the military is really useful.”

Marty’s NSF grant also supports his research, studying biological membranes and developing new techniques to better understand the interactions of proteins, peptides and small molecules within this complex environment. This grant comes on the heels of a $1.8 million National Institutes of Health grant for this research, as well.

“Research challenges, such as those the Marty lab investigates, are often solved by research teams that can draw upon diverse experiences,” said NSF program officer Robin McCarley, who oversees funding of Marty’s CAREER project. “Veterans bring unique personal and professional perspectives to a university setting. By integrating research and education, Marty is improving outcomes for students of all walks of life and for research.”

Marty hopes to have veteran students participating in the ASEMS-V program and shadowing in his lab this fall, he said.

“The most exciting part of science is being on the forefront of discoveries and being in a research lab is the best way to do that,” Marty said.

Source: uanews.arizona.edu

Soldier rescues woman and 4 dogs from a burning house

Confident young U.S. Soldier in uniform stands outside of a building

Sgt. Darren Watkins was starting a shift in his civilian job as a sheriff’s deputy in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, on Feb. 29 after leaving a daddy-daughter dance with his youngest child.

Things started slowly, as they often do. The Oklahoma Army National Guardsman with 2120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command answered some routine calls and filled out paperwork that night.

Then, at about 4 a.m., as he was wrapping his shift, Watkins was called to a fire in a vacant house. When he arrived, he realized that a neighboring house was also aflame, and there was someone trapped inside.

A man in the driveway alerted Watkins that an elderly widow was in the house and that he couldn’t wake her to get her out. Watkins told the man to seek safety and radioed the 911 dispatch to tell them he was going to try and get inside the home.

“I knew she was in there, and I knew she needed to get out,” Watkins said in an Army statement. “I really wasn’t thinking of anything else.”

Watkins rushed into the home and found that the woman had gone into her kitchen in an attempt to get to her car in the garage. However, a gasoline-filled car in the midst of a house fire poses a unique set of risks.

“I had to actually hold the door closed to where she couldn’t open it and pull her away from the door,” Watkins said in a Guard video about the event. “The firefighters later said if she would have opened the door the fire in the garage would have flashed into the living room and possibly burned both of us.”

The woman was panicking about her four dogs as Watkins tried to get her out of the home. He had to wrap his arms around her and steer her to the exit.

He, the woman who was not identified in the Army statement, and the four dogs luckily made it to safety.

“I have had some crazy calls in the past, but this was probably the craziest with the best outcome,” Watkins said. “She did lose her house, but we were able to get her out of the residence with her dogs.”

Likely, with littler time to spare.

“As we walked a safe distance away, we heard the garage explode behind us,” Watkins said.

Source: The Army Times

Here’s How a Navy Hospital Ship Will Help Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic

Navy Hospital Ship Departing the Dock to Help Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic

More than 1,000 Navy personnel are gearing up to treat their fellow Americans aboard a floating hospital. Their commander said they’ve been given no end date for the unique deployment, as experts warn medical facilities face severe overcrowding amid a global pandemic.

The hospital ship Mercy departed San Diego on Monday afternoon. Its destination is just 120 miles up the coast at the port of Los Angeles — but first it must complete a series of operations, tests and certifications at sea, Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, Mercy’s civilian master, said.

The Mercy will arrive in LA within a week, Capt. John Rotruck, the ship’s commanding officer, said. Much about what happens next is dependent on how serious the situation gets in LA or other spots along the West Coast.

“We are prepared to stay underway until the need is complete or until it doesn’t make sense anymore,” Capt. Dan Cobian, the mission commander, said. “… We are prepared to stay as long as necessary in Los Angeles and prepared to move on to whatever port or destination that FEMA directs or is required by higher headquarters.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor said on Sunday that the ship has been directed to LA because California is projected to need five times more hospital beds than Washington state, even though there are currently more coronavirus cases there than in California.

The medical professionals on the Mercy came from several West Coast naval hospitals and clinics, including those at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms in California and Bremerton and Oak Harbor in Washington.

The Mercy won’t treat patients with coronavirus but will instead take overflow patients from hospitals in LA. Rotruck said the ship is equipped to perform surgeries and respond to patients who require intensive care. The ship will not provide care to children or pregnant women, he added.

The crew members weren’t individually tested for coronavirus but were asked to complete a questionnaire. If there was any indication that they could have COVID-19, Rotruck said there was follow-on medical testing.

Civilian patients who are treated on the ship will also be screened, he added.

“If we identify someone as COVID-19 positive, our intention would be to transfer their care back off of the ship,” Rotruck said. “… We practice infection control every day in our normal hospital operating environment. We’re going to do the exact same thing on the Mercy and also apply additional disinfection measures throughout the ship.”

The Mercy has an initial stock of coronavirus tests on the ship, the captain added, and will request more through their normal supply chain if needed.

Rear Adm. Timothy Weber, commander of Naval Medical Forces Pacific, said there’s not yet an estimate on how much the operation could cost.

As the sometimes fatal virus continues to spread, Weber stressed that it’s important for everyone to do their part in practicing social distancing, washing hands and avoid touching their faces.

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

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