News from the Executive Committee!
Read the comments from DVVC Secretary Ashley Griffiths at the end of this newsletter!
Mark your calendars:
DVVC Summer 2021 Quarterly Meeting
in partnership with the South Jersey Community Veterans Engagement Board
Come to the July 23rd webinar to meet and ask questions of the Directors of Veterans Affairs in our PA and NJ counties!
Event is 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. RSVP Here
Watch for an announcement for a planned Networking Social this Fall!
Another Successful DVVC Town Hall
DVVC held a Town Hall on June 2nd, “LGBTQ Issues in the Veteran Space” with three expert presenters. The keynote address was by Kristin Beck, known to be the first female Navy SEAL, who spoke about her personal experiences. Ashton Stewart, manager of the SAGEVets program discussed his organization’s advocacy work on behalf of LGBT+ Veterans and Donald Gallagher spoke about his role as Veteran Care Coordinator for the LGBT+ population at the Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.
The recording of the town hall will be on the DVVC website in July.
See the New DVVC Website – and consider joining the team!
With huge thanks to our partner, Tom Knoble of Pig Art Graphics, the new site at www.dvvc.org offers additional content such as our History (under About) and expanded information about Membership, as well as an improved Directory with Search functions. The Member Portal in development will offer space for posting messages to other member organizations, making referrals and more.
To help maintain and improve this space, as well as the newsletter and our social media outlets, DVVC is seeking a Digital Communication Intern. The position is open to students and mid-career jobseekers, especially Veterans, and we hope to make a selection very soon. This is a term position, designed to be three to six months duration, but with extensions possible. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual who is between jobs, or currently under-employed, to gain additional experience and keep skills fresh, especially in the critical area of social media. The intern will also have great opportunities for networking within the regional Veteran community. Estimated time commitment: 2 to 5 hours per week. Unpaid.
Please share with anyone who may be interested. Send resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org; include general availability or preferred work schedule.
NEWS FROM OUR MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Habitat has Housing & Repair Funds
Longtime DVVC member organization Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties has a new home available now in Hightstown, plus ten brand-new homes coming soon in Bordentown!
To apply for any of the available properties through the Affordable Homeownership Program, print and complete an application ASAP. Veterans are always strongly considered!
Applications, with $25 fee, should be sent via mail to the attention of Taquana Wright at the office, 530 Route 38 East, Maple Shade, NJ 08052.
Also, as noted in our April newsletter, HFHBMC has received a grant to assist disabled Veterans with necessary home repairs. DVVC Member Organizations are encouraged to share info about the Veteran Home Repair and Modification Program with Veterans in HFHBMC’s coverage area who may need assistance. An intake form is required to determine eligibility. Find the form online here or contact the team at email@example.com or 856-441-2707.
Fighting Back to Independent Living
Mike Myers, a Veteran served by DVVC member organization the Fighting Back Scholarship Veterans Program gained independent living after more than two years in a nursing facility.
Mike was a medic in the Navy and was serving in Beirut in 1983 when two truck bombs struck buildings housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force. When Mike left the Navy, he was accepted into the Thomas Jefferson College of Nursing, but suffered a back injury requiring multiple surgeries. Through therapy and determination, he regained full use of his legs. He became a skilled carpenter and started his own home remodeling and construction business, employing many.
In 2018, he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. His injuries required a minimum one-year rehabilitation in a nursing facility. This is where Mike was recuperating when COVID struck the nursing facility. When Mike was well enough to take advantage of Fighting Back’s virtual training program in July, his life was finally changed for the better.
Mike had begun working with trainer Heather Bakker in 2019, as part of Fighting Back’s paralysis program. Once lockdown hit, he was prohibited from leaving his 12’x12’ room. He says virtual training supports him significantly on all levels: mentally, emotionally, and physically.
“Just to be able to see and connect with another person has been a tremendous experience,” he said. “Heather dropped off weights, elastic bands, and coloring books for me to work on my dexterity, and to continue the progress I was making. I really look forward to it, and benefit from it greatly. I’m not getting any other therapy and thank God every day for the Fighting Back Scholarship Program, and the things they do. It’s wonderful!”
Due to Mike’s courage, desire, and perseverance and Fighting Back’s incredible community of support, he was finally released this month to live independently in an apartment in West Chester.
Fighting Back board member and Army Veteran Bill Orr was instrumental in assisting Mike with access to housing and continues to work on his claim for VA disability benefits. Bill serves as the DVVC member organization representative and is active on the Marketing and Social Media Committee – he was the force behind our video for the virtual Philadelphia Veterans Parade last year. Thanks, Bill, for all you do for Veterans in our community!!
DVVC Member Organization Reps Share Stories of Pets & PTSD
Excerpt from a story by Nicole Fullerton; for the full story, including clarifying information on Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs, see the Penn Medicine New Blog here.
Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend,” but for some military Veterans, these four-legged accomplices also take on the role of therapist and confidant in the battle against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When combined with traditional, evidence-based interventions, the human-animal bond has proven to be an effective, complementary treatment for PTSD, with positive impacts for Veterans — and dogs, too.
Leah Blain, PhD, clinic director and licensed clinical psychologist at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in the department of Psychiatry, treats a number of patients who struggle with PTSD. Although the Cohen Clinic does not directly provide animal assisted therapy, it does strive to create a tailored, individualized treatment plan for all patients — and that treatment plan sometimes includes animal support.
Paula Crawford-Gamble, MSN, CRNP, CAPT, NC, USN (Ret), Penn Medicine Veterans Care Excellence Program liaison, has benefited deeply from the human-animal bond. Her dog, Sgt. Major Bearre Manning, worked search and rescue missions with the U.S. Navy Seals before he found his second duty with Crawford-Gamble as a service and therapy dog.
“I’m so happy I experienced having him. It was such a rare and special connection,” Crawford-Gamble said of Bearre, who also spread joy to patients as a HUP Pup. “To have an experience like that with an animal is the most precious thing — I know he felt the same way. We were soulmates.”
Ready for Back-to-School? Operation Homefront is Ready to Help!
Operation Homefront is holding a Back-to-School Brigade event on Friday, August 13th, at the VFW Post in Cookstown (22 Wrightstown-Cookstown Rd., Cookstown, NJ 08511).
Military families who may be interested in attending to receive a backpack stuffed with school supplies can register at https://my.operationhomefront.org. Eligibility requirements: Post 9/11 wounded, ill, or injured service member of any rank, both currently serving and those no longer serving in the military; or all ranks, Active Duty, Guard and Reserves, any duty status; or transitioning service members within 12 months of their discharge/retirement date.
Operation Homefront also has several Dollar Tree locations still available for interested individuals or organizations to pick up brand-new school supplies to distribute to military families. Contact Ashley Griffiths at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-721-3385 for more information.
Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group Continues to Support Veterans
LinkedIn, Clubhouse, Interviewing, Job Search Tips, IT, & more in July! Here is a small sampling of career education and networking events from Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group
Any meeting with a $5 fee is free for unemployed Veterans by arranging with Lynne in advance that you want to attend – email@example.com.
- Fridays, 9-11 a.m. – Interviewing Techniques with Les Segarnick
- Fridays, 11 a.m. – noon – Clubhouse Job Seeker Power Hour with Lynne Williams. Must be on Clubhouse to participate.
- 7/2, 7/8, 7/14 (times vary) – Live LinkedIn Profile Reviews with Lynne Williams
- 7/12, 6-8 p.m. – Project Planning Your Job Search with Paul Cecala
- 7/15, 9-11 a.m. – IT Opportunities as a Consultant in the Nonprofit Sector with Michael Einbinder-Schatz
- 7/20, 9-11 a.m. – Maximizing LinkedIn During Your Job Search with Marty Gilbert
- 7/22, 2-3:30 p.m. – Strategic Research-based Approaches to LinkedIn with Lynne Williams
- 7/22, 6-8 p.m. – Ten Vital Strategies to Maximize Career Success with Ford Myers, USMC
- 7/26, 9-11 a.m. – How to Make Your Third Chapter the Best One Yet with Michele Saunders
See the whole list, and registration links, at https://greatcareersphl.org/events.
Team River Runner Planning a Busy Summer
Below are July – September TRR scheduled paddling events with descriptions and skills needed. The event schedule is F-L-U-I-D which means that it is subject to change depending on weather, water level, equipment and appropriate support.
- WED 7/7 – Blind / VI Adaptive Kayak beginner training, Philadelphia Canoe Club – 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. – Instructors needed who want to learn blind adaptive teaching methods; we have 2-3 blind/VI students to introduce to kayaking. Contact Jim.Riley@TeamRiverRunner.org
- SAT 7/10 – Introduction to Muddy Creek, Delta, PA – 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Skills needed: Class II; RSVP to Jim.Riley@TeamRiverRunner.org by July 8th
- SAT 7/17 – Adaptive Equipment Demo, Girl Scout Camp Grove Pt, Earleville, MD – 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Skills needed: None; 1-2 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. Contact Jim.Riley@TeamRiverRunner.org
- TUE 7/27 – Adaptive Instructor Workshop, Philadelphia Canoe Club – 7p.m.-9 p.m. (TENTATIVE) – Skills needed: Paddlesport instructor experience; RSVP to Jim.Riley@TeamRiverRunner.org
- SAT 7/31 JUL – Team Building Trip, Lehigh, Brandywine, Holtwood Islands – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Skills Needed: Class I or II. RSVP to Jim.Riley@TeamRiverRunner.org by July 30th.
- SAT/SUN 31 JUL – 1 AUG – TRR Veterans Kayak Football Challenge, Canton, OH – Skills needed: Class I. This is a national event. If you wish to attend, contact Jim.
View the current event calendar at https://trrsoutheastpa.org/trr_sepa_event_calendar/
On June 8, Congressman Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17), and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced the bipartisan Better Utilizing Infrastructure for Lasting Development of (BUILD) Veterans Businesses Act, which would create a new program for Veteran-owned small businesses to win up to 3 percent of federal-aid highway and public transportation contracts. This bill would help Veteran small business owners by ensuring that at least three percent of federal contracts for federal highway and public transportation projects – such as construction, manufacturing, professional services like architecture & engineering, transportation, warehousing and administrative support would go to small businesses owned by Veterans.
Subscribe to Congressman Kim’s Veterans newsletter: https://kim.house.gov/contact/veterans-subscribe
A quick note from the editor (because I can!):
In this month’s newsletter, we have a few stories about HOMES. They made me think of an ad that a phone company ran many years ago ahead of the Army-Navy football game. The message was, “Sometimes home means the most to the people who are hardly ever there.”
During this summer season, as we celebrate the various holidays from Memorial Day thru Flag Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day and Independence Day on July 4th, let’s always remember those who are not at home but are out in harm’s way, and let’s strive to work here at home to be sure all have a place – and a community – to call “home.” Thanks, DVVC Member Organizations and representatives, for all you do!
This newsletter serves DVVC member organizations by providing information to share with Veterans. Member organizations can also use our LinkedIn group, https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12177627/ and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dvvcorg, to get the word out! Let us know how we can help!
Do you have news to share or upcoming events? Send an email to the editor, Mo Gillen, at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 25th of the month. Send DVVC questions to email@example.com
News from the Executive Committee July 2021
When I first became involved with the Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium, I had been working for a year to design Habitat for Humanity’s new Veterans Build program and was just beginning to get the word out when I discovered DVVC.
One of the first DVVC representatives I met was none other than DVVC Chairperson, Hugo Lentze. In addition to the signature bowtie he routinely wears, he stuck out in my memory because of his passion and how it seemed like he truly wanted to get to know what my organization was looking to do for Veterans.
Then I realized – it is not just him. Every member of DVVC has an obvious and palpable desire to serve the military and Veteran communities and it made me want to become involved even further.
As liaison to the Membership Committee, I have the privilege of getting to know the representatives of our member organizations, from application to membership approval and on. Every person that I have had the opportunity to meet has shared this incredible drive and passion, which is apparent in the way DVVC continues to operate. The pandemic did not slow us down – if anything, we were challenged to become more involved, more connected, and more collaborative with each other because we knew we needed to continue to serve the people we cared so much about.
While we’ve transitioned to virtual quarterly meetings and added town halls as the need arises, we cannot wait to get together again, this time in person, for a social hour in the fall, so be on the lookout for more information.
It is truly my honor to continue to serve with DVVC even as I transition to my new role with Operation Homefront, a long-standing DVVC member organization. I know all the work you do, whether you are paid for it or do it out of the kindness of your heart, positively impacts the military and Veteran communities every single day.
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to know and support you all through DVVC.
Area Manager, Operation Homefront