Archives for August 2015

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

I Served in the Active Military. Yes, I’m One!

A woman in a white lab coat looks up from her microscope

Over 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, it is important that you know that you are a Veteran. Women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers, making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans.

Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.

Yet, when you returned, you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37 percent of women Veterans indicated they felt “recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life.”

VA’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) is sponsoring an “I’m One” campaign to raise awareness of VA benefits available for women Veterans through VBA and VHA. The campaign is designed to increase knowledge of what it means to be a Veteran and help women who served in the United States Uniformed Services identify as Veterans.

“Too pretty to have served in the military”

One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, “It’s a regular thing to be told I’m too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I’ve been called a liar.”

“Since I was a female, I couldn’t possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine.”

Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t. One of the most significant problems that female Veterans face, which often goes overlooked, is health care. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.

Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.

A woman with graying hair smiles

If you are a woman who served in the active military service, you are a Veteran.

Benefits You Qualify For

VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Servicemembers, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits. Benefits offered by VBA include:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Education and Training
  • Home Loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Burial and Memorial Services
  • Additional services and benefits

Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

VA Health Benefits

Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans’ health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology, gynecology, maternity and physical therapy.

VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:

  • Preventive Care Services
  • Primary Care Services, including all women’s health primary care
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Inpatient Care Services
  • Ancillary Services Specialty Care Services
  • Emergency Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Additional VA Health Care Services
  • Non-Medical Veteran Services

Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.

Additional Resources

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/I-Served-Active-Military-Yes-Im-One.asp

Combat Veteran, Doctor and Now Gardener

A man points to his garden

Navy Veteran Wesley McFarland


Photo by Mary Kay Gominger

What makes 91-year-old Navy Veteran Wesley McFarland happy now is to have his hands in the dirt, working in his garden in front of the community living center at the Biloxi VA Medical Center, which he now calls home. That wasn’t always the case though. In fact, as a boy working in the cotton fields in Franklin County, Miss., he wished he could have been anywhere else.

As the son of a sharecropper, McFarland and his family lived off the land, literally.

“We bought a few things along the way, but back then if you wanted it, you grew it,” he recalls. And nothing about growing up a farmer’s son is easy.

“You don’t know what hot is until you are in Mississippi in the middle of the summer thinning cotton all day,” McFarland said. “I did that from the time I was just a kid, until I left to join the Navy at 18.”

And that’s when McFarland’s life took the first of several drastic changes.

“I was a gunner radioman, a dive bomber, in a two-seat aircraft,” McFarland said. “It was an exciting time. It scared the hell out of me. I wish I could go back,” he continued only half kidding.

McFarland was stationed for the most part of his Navy tour on the USS Enterprise.

“After Pearl Harbor, the Enterprise was one of the few carriers still out there,” he said. “We all wondered if we would make it back after each mission. So many didn’t.”

Earned Degree on the GI Bill

McFarland did make it back though, and after a four-year stint in the Navy, he decided it was time for another drastic change. Using his newly-earned GI Bill, he decided to go to college. McFarland had never been a stellar student, he admits, working on the farm always taking a priority. Still, he attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., and upon graduation, he successfully applied to medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans.

“I’ve always been a believer that life is what you make it.”

Dr. McFarland settled along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a small fishing community called Bay St. Louis, and was a general practitioner for the next 55 years.

“I was into a little bit of everything,” Dr. McFarland recalls. “I was delivering babies, making house calls, doing surgery at the hospital, then making it back to the office for regular appointments.

Patient’s bill for $3

“Back then, an office visit was $3 and a house call was $5. I can’t tell you the times I was out all hours of the night on house calls. Nor could I count the number of times I was paid by means other than cash … shrimp, fish, and bushels of vegetables. Times were tough for everyone,” he said. “But I didn’t mind. I just wanted to help people.”

He lost everything 10 years ago in Hurricane Katrina. His home was on the water in Bay St. Louis, right where Katrina came ashore.

Dr. McFarland is pleased that his service to his country qualified him to live at the VA community living center. The garden is his way of making it his home. “I enjoy watching them grow.”

“This is my touch of reality,” he said pointing to his garden. “I planted this garden with seeds and I enjoy watching them grow to maturity.” Sprouting in the garden are watermelon, cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.

“I’ve always been a believer in the saying that life is what you make it,” Dr. McFarland said. “Here at my new home, I am taking that to heart.”

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/Combat-Veteran-Doctor-and-now-Gardener.asp

VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals in VA Facilities








VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals in VA Facilities

August 17, 2015, 11:58:00 AM





Printable Version




VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals in VA Facilitie


WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has revised its regulation regarding the presence of animals on VA property. The updated regulation will ensure VA practices remain consistent with applicable federal law. It will also assist individuals entering VA facilities in developing a clear and consistent understanding of the criteria governing facility access for service animals.


“As I have traveled to VA facilities throughout the country, I have heard from many Veterans about what a vital role their service animals play in their lives,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “The revised regulation will ensure Veterans and employees have clear guidance regarding the presence of service animals in our facilities. VA remains committed to ensuring America’s Veterans have access to the health care benefits for which they are eligible.”


 Under the revised regulation, only dogs that are individually trained to perform work or tasks on behalf of an individual with a disability will be considered service animals.  Other animals will not be permitted in VA facilities, unless expressly allowed as an exception under the regulation for activities such as animal-assisted therapy or for other reasons such as law enforcement purposes. The regulation further confirms that service animals may access VA property subject to the same terms that govern the admission of the public to VA property, and  may be restricted from certain areas on VA properties to ensure that patient care, patient safety, and infection control standards are not compromised. 


 In accordance with required practices, the revised regulation was published in the Federal Register in November 2014, to obtain feedback from Veterans, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders. 


 Over the next thirty days, VA will provide training to frontline employees and ensure policies at all facilities are consistent with the new regulation.


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2723

Golden Age Games Underway in Omaha

An older man with a sporting competitor's numbered bib on his shirt leans on a golf cart carrying his clubs on a golf course

The Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States.

Army Veteran Ron Paul and hundreds of other senior soldiers are in Omaha, Neb. this week for the National Veterans Golden Age Games.

Paul, who played minor league baseball for the New York Yankees, says, “I think it helps keep a lot of guys out of the hospital.”

The games, now in their 29th year, offer sports and recreational competitive events for Veterans 55 years of age and older. It is the largest sports and recreation competition for this age group of military Veterans in the world and continue to serve as a showcase for the rehabilitation value that wellness and fitness provide in the lives of older Americans.

A medic in the Army Reserve, Paul was a standout hitter and center fielder in the Yankees‘ minor league system until he was called up during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. He talks here about how the games complement his healthy life style and fuel his drive for competition.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games, taking place this year Aug. 8-12, is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors‘ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The VA Challenges and encourages senior Veterans to be proactive in embracing a healthier lifestyle.

A “fountain of youth” for America’s rapidly aging Veteran population.

“The games help our Veterans maintain active and healthy lifestyles, and provide them the unique camaraderie of being surrounded by fellow Veterans who share common bonds of service,” said Carla Carmichael, director, National Veterans Golden Age Games. “Through sports and exercise programs and healthy living initiatives, VA continues a long history of providing Veterans with opportunities to stay active, healthy and involved.”

Events at the games include:

  • Air Rifle
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Horseshoes
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Shuffleboard
  • Dominoes

A “fountain of youth” for America‘s rapidly aging Veteran population, the games provide a multi-event sports and therapeutic recreation program for eligible Veterans receiving care at any VA medical facility. They reflect VA’s mission — to provide quality programs and health care for older Veteran population.

Over the years, competitive events at the Golden Age Games have been adapted to meet specific needs of the participants. There are separate age groups and gender divisions and because many Veterans also face medical challenges, events were added for those who use wheelchairs and those who have visual impairments.

To accommodate the varying degrees of physical conditioning, motor and cognitive skills of the participants, basic competition rules were adapted. The modification of rules and use of adaptive equipment in many events allow non-ambulatory and visually impaired Veterans to participate.

This has made the National Veterans Golden Age Games a truly adaptive therapeutic sports competition that has become a model for other local, state and national senior sports events.

And as Veteran Paul describes it, “It‘s a total wellness program. You get physical exercise, mental exercise and I think spiritual in the sense of the camaraderie and fellowship with your teammates. I think it keeps a lot guys out of the hospital.”

See photos of the 2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games at Omaha on Flickr.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/August/Golden-Age-Games-Underway-in-Omaha.asp

Senior Veterans Showcase Benefits of Sports During National Veterans Golden Age Games








Senior Veterans Showcase Benefits of Sports During National Veterans Golden Age Games

August 7, 2015, 12:23:00 PM





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Senior Veterans Showcase Benefits of Sports During National Veterans Golden Age Games


More than 800 Veterans ages 55 and older are expected to compete in the 29th National Veterans Golden Age Games, Aug. 8-12 in Omaha, Neb. The official kick-off starts at 6:30 p.m., August 8 at the CenturyLink Center Arena.


Participants will compete in 14 events including swimming, cycling, horseshoes, bowling, field events and air rifles. Veterans also will participate in four exhibition events, including racquetball, 3-on-3 basketball, boccia and blind disc golf. 


“When it comes to sports, age is just a number,” said Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “VA research and clinical experience shows that physical activity plays an integral role in maintaining good health, speeding recovery and improving overall quality of life. These games also serve as a way for participants to continue in local senior events in their home communities.”


The National Veterans Golden Age Games is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and hosted by the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System. The health care system provides care for more than 55,000 Veterans from 101 counties in Nebraska, western Iowa and portions of Missouri and Kansas. The event is open to all U.S. military Veterans ages 55 or older who are currently enrolled for any VA care.          


For more information visit www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov and follow VA Adaptive Sports on Twitter at @VAAdaptiveSport or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vaadaptivesports.


 


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Media Inquiries:


Michael Molina


National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events


(202) 560-7305


Michael.molina1@va.gov


 




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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2722


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