Tuesday, November 18, 2008

B 98.5 Wants Help Saying Merry Christmas to Soldiers


Steve and Vikki want to make sure none of our servicemen and women are forgotten around the holidays. You’ll find a list of names below of Georgia Soldiers at a camp in Iraq. We’re asking our great B 98.5 FM listeners to buy a holiday card, pick a solider from the list below, and write a personal message of "hope" to them. Then, send the card to us, and we will forward all of them at once.

1.Pick a soldier's name below.
2.Buy or make a holiday card.
3.Write message of hope inside the card.
4.Address the card with soldier's name first, then under that write:
Operation Ho Ho Hope
C/O Steve and Vikki Show
1601. W. Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Ga 30309 5.

Put a stamp on it and send it to us! If your class wants to help as well, the class with the most letters will win a Chic-Fil-A breakfast at their school! Let's get everyone involved in spreading hope to our Soldiers! All cards must be delivered to B98.5FM by 11:59am, Tuesday, December 2nd!
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Veterans Get Free Health Exams at Redskins-Sponsored Clinic

Scores of military veterans from across the National Capital Region visited FedEx Field on Nov. 8th, but not to watch the National Football League's Washington Redskins play.

Instead, while the players were taking a week off, veterans of all ages, some with their families, entered the Redskins' burgundy-hued locker room, where they received free health exams, including tests for cholesterol level, blood pressure, body fat percentage and other preventive-care checkups.

The event also featured children's games, candy, and appearances by the team's "Hoggettes" mascots and cheerleaders.

The Redskins conducted the clinic with the help of some health care firms and veterans' groups, said Stephanie R. Baldwin, the team's client services manager.

"Partnering together is a perfect way to get people out here and get them checked out," Baldwin said. "The military veterans do so much for our country. ... It's very important to recognize them."

Army veteran Nicol D. Martin, who was a finance sergeant when she left the Army in 2001 after six years of service, said the Redskins' health clinic was a great idea, as she waited her turn to get her body fat percentage checked via computer. Martin "did well" on her test, according to examiner Ammanuel Haile-Leal.

The Redskins should be saluted for holding a health clinic "for the veterans who've served the country," Martin said.

"For one, you get to see the Redskins' locker room and then, too, you get to have the health screenings," said Martin, a 38-year-old Woodbridge, Va., resident who now works at the Pentagon.

After receiving a cholesterol-level test, retired Navy Cmdr. Robert C. Douglass, 54, and his wife, Sheila, surveyed the bustling locker room. The Douglass' 11-year-old son, Jeremy, was among several other children at an X-Box 360 computer game set just a short distance away.

The Redskins and the other sponsors are to be commended for holding the health clinic, the Navy retiree and Chantilly, Va., resident said.

"I enjoy the fact that people are concerned about veterans' health," Douglass said, adding that the multifaceted event "made it exciting for the family as a whole."

World War II Army veteran and Alexandria, Va., resident Peter P. Evanko, 84, hailed the Redskins as he finished his prostate-specific antigen level screening, a blood test that helps to assess the health of the prostate gland.

"This is a very good thing, not only for a veteran, but I think all people should be taking care of themselves," said Evanko, left the Army at the end of the war with a sergeant's rank after serving in the European theater.

The health clinic "is a great thing for those of us who were in the service, and I thank everybody who sponsored it," Evanko said.

Pharmaceutical, biological and health care company GlaxoSmithKline was one of the co-sponsors of the Redskins-hosted veterans' health clinic, said Howard K. Thomas, a senior federal program manager with the firm.

"We're an active supporter of veterans, and we're very honored to be able to in some small way give back to the people who've so bravely served our country," Thomas said. "They're the ones who protect us."

The war against terrorism has caused Americans to reflect on military veterans' contributions throughout the years and of the efforts and sacrifices of present-day servicemembers, said Bill Bradshaw, 64, a Vietnam veteran, Army retiree and member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"They recognize the importance of the job that we do of taking care of America," Bradshaw said.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

VA Secretary: America Keeps Lincoln's Promise to Veterans

As he prepares to observe his first Veterans Day as Veterans Affairs secretary, Dr. James B. Peake said he believes the United States is living up to Abraham Lincoln's pledge to care for "him who has borne the battle, and his widow and his orphan."

Those words from Lincoln's second inaugural address are inscribed at the entrance to the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters here. They serve as a mantra for a VA workforce that provides healthcare to more than 7.5 million veterans and benefits to more than 3.5 million veterans.

Peake said the VA is taking advantage of technology and medical breakthroughs in ways Lincoln would never have dreamed possible . "I think he would be pretty proud," Peake told American Forces Press Service. "He'd say, 'You're fulfilling the promise."

A retired Army lieutenant general, Peake understands the significance of that promise in a way most Americans couldn't. He was wounded twice in battle as an infantry officer during the Vietnam War. His acceptance letter to Cornell University Medical College arrived as he was in the hospital recovering from his wounds.

Following the footsteps laid by his parents -- his father, a medical services officer and his mother -- an Army nurse, Peake attended medical school on an Army scholarship, returned to the Army for his medical internships and residencies and built his career in Army medicine. Ultimately, Peake became the 40th Army surgeon general.

Now Veterans Affairs secretary, Peake said he's gratified by continued support that ensures the VA can continue providing first-class care and benefits for veterans, including those returning from combat.

"Since 2001, the president and Congress have provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with a 98 percent increase in funding, and with the guidance and support to enable VA to honor America's debt to the men and women whose patriotic service and sacrifice have kept our nation free and prosperous," Peake said in his Veterans Day message. Health-care funding alone doubled during the past seven years, he said.

This funding has enabled the VA to reach out to more veterans and provide better, more effective services, he said, listing just a few of many new initiatives. VA hired more new mental-health professionals and expanded its community-based outreach. It opened more Vet Centers and laid plans for more to come. It began putting a fleet of motor coaches into service to take counseling services closer to the veterans who need it.

"We are trying to appropriately leverage technology and the tools to provide access to veterans, no matter where they are," Peake said. "That way, it is not your address that decides whether or not you get your benefits."

Meanwhile, in an unprecedented move authorized by the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 signed into law last month, the VA began offering VA-guaranteed home loans to veterans with more expensive and risky subprime mortgages.

Much of the VA's focus has been on care for the 850,000 newest veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA hired transition patient advocates to help severely wounded troops and their families work their way through the transition process and federal recovery coordinators to ensure life-long medical and rehabilitative care services and other benefits for families. More claims processors are on boar d to reduce the backlog in processing disability claims.

Peake called these examples an indication that the VA is on the right track in providing care for what we called "the best educated, best trained, best selected military we have ever had coming back, reentering society...to become the next greatest generation."

He praised the commitment of his staff – 31 percent of them veterans themselves – and called them the spirit that makes every day Veterans Day at the VA. "You see that celebrated when you go to our VA," he said. There's a special level of dedication and commitment here."

Tomorrow, as he attends observances at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial, then sits down to dinner with patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Peake said he'll feel gratified to see the United States observe the commemoration President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed as Armistice Day in 1919.

He urged all Americans to recognize Veterans Day, either at the 33 major national observances taking place across the country, or in simpler, more private ways that honor veterans and their service. "Participation in Veterans Day can be as simple as putting out the porch flag or reminding youngsters of the story of a relative who served in the military," he said.

Veterans Day is as important today as ever, perhaps even more so, Peake said. With just 1 percent of the U.S. population serving in uniform to protect liberties for the other 99 percent, Veterans Day offers a time to reflect and remember, he said.

"It's important for everybody to realize the debt that we owe those who serve this nation," Peake said. "Without the service of our veterans, we wouldn't have the freedoms we enjoy today...Their bravery, their resourcefulness and their patriotism mark them as our nation's finest citizens."
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bald Eagles Named in Honor of Fallen Military Heroes

(BUSINESS WIRE)--As America prepares to remember its military servicemen and women on Veteran’s Day, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) held a special ceremony at its national eagle center to honor eight fallen soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq. In memory of these heroes, each of their families was invited to name a breeding bald eagle cared for by the conservation group (http://www.eagles.org).

“The bald eagle is the living symbol of the freedoms these brave men gave their lives to protect,” said AEF Founder and President Al Cecere. “To honor them and their families is truly a privilege for our staff, especially since our nation will soon observe Veteran’s Day.”

During the event on Saturday, the AEF awarded special certificates and medals to each of the participating families. Also, signs bearing the names of the eight soldiers and the eagles named by their families were placed near the entrance of the bird housing/breeding enclosures as a permanent tribute.

The AEF recognized the following East Tennessee soldiers: Army National Guard Sgt. Alfred B. Siler (Duff, TN), Army National Guard Sgt. Joseph D. Hunt (Sweetwater, TN), National Guard Sgt. Paul W. Thomason III (Talbot, TN), Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Morris (Clinton,TN), National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Kennedy (Oak Ridge, TN), Army Sgt. 1st Class James D Connell (Lake City, TN), Marine Lance Cpl. William C. Koprince Jr. (Lenoir City, TN), and Marine Cpl. Rusty L. Washam (Huntsville, TN).

The eagle names selected by the families of the soldiers were: “Volunteer” (Joseph Hunt), “Hero” (Stephen Kennedy), “Honor” (William Koprince Jr.), “Brave Heart” (James Connell), “Faithful” (Rusty Washam), “Peace” (Alfred Siler), “Faithful Spirit” (Daniel Morris), and “Freedom” (Paul Thomason).

The families were also treated to a free-flight demonstration by and photo with the AEF’s trained celebrity bald eagle “Challenger” (http://www.eagles.org/aefsplash/).

The captive non-releasable breeding eagles that were named are housed at the AEF’s Dollywood-based headquarters in Pigeon Forge. The birds were given to the non-profit organization in June 2007 by the San Francisco Zoo.

“Future eaglets hatched by these majestic breeding eagles will be named and released into the wild in honor of other fallen soldiers,” said Cecere.

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