Saving Your Military Shopping Benefits
Veterans, military families and other personnel save nearly $4 billion in savings through the network of stores operating on military bases, with an average family of four saving more than $7,000 each year. “That $7,000 savings goes directly to the bottom line of military households. At a time when there’s been more than a 70 percent increase in food stamp redemption in these stores, it’s real money in the pockets of military families and veterans. For some families, it’s a college education, car or house or payment.”
Current proposed restructuring of the system could signal the end of the savings this benefit provides. Info: www.SaveOurBenefit.org or www.ALAJoiningForces.org.
VRAP GI Bill Factsheet
By Terry Howell, Military.com
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) GI Bill offers up to 12 months of Montgomery GI Bill benefits for older unemployed veterans. Unemployed veterans between the age of 35 and 60 may apply for education benefits worth as much as $17,600 ($1473 a month). This new GI Bill program was created as a part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.
To be eligible for the VRAP GI Bill you must:
• Be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old.
• Be unemployed (as determined by DoL).
• Not have a dishonorable discharge.
• Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program.
• Not be drawing VA compensation due to unemployability.
• Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program.
Here’s what you should know about the new VRAP before you apply:
• This benefit can only be used to earn an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the you for a high demand occupation
• According to the VA, the program should begin processing VRAP benefits on July 1, 2012.
• This new benefit will be limited to 45K vets in FY2012 and 54K from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014.
• Once you have completed the VRAP education program, the Dept. of Labor will provide employment assistance.
Visit http://benefits.va.gov/vow to learn more and apply.
Family Beach Party at Hotel Del
Celebrate 4th of July on Coronado Island with a parade featuring more than 150 bands, floats and groups. There’s a fun run/walk, rough water swim, art-in-the-park and a concert at Spreckels Park. The day concludes with fireworks. Info: www.HotelDel.com.
Predatory Practices Target Veterans
The American Legion warns that veterans are at particular risk from predatory actors and vendors bent on parting the veterans from their pensions.
The warning goes out now as more and more cases are reported. The ill-intentioned organizations seek to take advantage of gaps and loopholes in the system and promise veterans long-term care that often cannot be delivered. In many cases, once the “help” is given, there is little follow-up help. Many of the organizations are not even familiar with the intricacies of the VA pension eligibility and cannot provide accurate information to veterans on the best way to proceed with their claim.
Marriage Counseling for Wounded Vets
USO and the Stronger Families present “Oxygen for Your Relationship,” a marriage counseling program for wounded warriors and their families, on Tuesday, July 31 in San Diego. To register or more info, contact Stronger Families at (425) 679-5671 or fill out their contact form at www.StrongerFamilies.org.
Joe Mantegna Helps to Build National Army Museum
The Army Historical Foundation (AHF) has chosen celebrity stage and screen actor Joe Mantegna to serve as its national spokesperson for the campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army.
Mantegna is widely known for his celebrated, award-winning acting career in popular television shows, movies, and stage productions. Many Americans, particularly those in the military community, also recognize Mantegna for his extensive work advocating for veterans and those serving in uniform. Inspired by his military family, Mantegna supports a number of veterans and military organizations. Info: www.ArmyHistory.org.
Annual Father’s Day Fest and Walk 2012
Celebrate dad on his special date at the second annual SD Father’s Fest, a special day for dad and the kids, at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This festival is an interactive experience that honors the relationship between dad and the kids. Enjoy live entertainment, games, BBQ Amateur Cook-off, face painting and more. Info: www.fathersdayfestival.net.
Tim Tebow will at Qualcomm on Sunday participating in Shadow Mountain Community Church’s Father’s Day event. Afterward, he will particpate in the walk. Come join the fun.
Benefit Concert for Wounded Warrior Homes
Wounded Warrior Homes, Inc. presents a benefit concert, “Songs For Our Heroes,” at the Handlery Hotel San Diego, 950 Hotel Circle North, on June 24 at 5 p.m. The venue is very intimate; the concert features Bob Mehl, Gill Orr and friends. Tickets are $25 at the door or online at www.woundedwarriorhomes.org.
HirePatriots.com helps thousands of veterans and their families each year. All the help they give is free so fundraising is needed. You can get involved by visiting http://rockymountainroasting.com to order gourmet coffee with your choice of armed forces logo on the bag. HirePatriots.com receives a portion of every sale; the three-bag order gives the highest donation. It’s a custom specialty item wonderful for that one-of-a-kind gift.
Disabled Vets Get Hot Wheels
Car manufacturers are designing innovative vehicles to give wounded warriors their mobility back. Wounded veterans no longer have to resort to the modified minivan for transportation. The customers, mostly men in their 20s and 30s, want to preserve their former way of life despite their injuries and they want vehicles that look like those typically driven by others their age. Such features could include smoked glass, custom wheels, and a body kit to make vehicles look sportier and less obviously modified for disabilities. The disabled transportation industry, which modifies existing vehicles, can now equip trucks with a crane that stows a wheelchair in the truck’s bed or adapt motorcycles to allow drivers to remain in their wheelchairs. “When you’re disabled, everyone does look at you differently. When I’m on the road, I don’t feel different than anyone else,” said retired Marine Jack Pierce, who has a modified motorcycle.
Navy SEAL Gives Olympic Contenders an Expert Edge
The elite U.S. Navy SEALs special forces unit is renowned for its training exercises. Many elite athletes on U.S. Olympic teams or athletic clubs that work with SEALs are strengthening their skills in joint training exercises with the U.S. Navy SEALs.
In a recent interview with Armed Forces Network, U.S. Sailing match racer Debbie Capozzi explained the benefits of rigorous training exercises together with experienced U.S. Navy SEALs: “It’s awesome,” reports Capozzi. “There are mental challenges of going in and out of freezing cold water. The biggest thing I got out of that day is how to be mentally tough and when you’re faced with a challenge you think you cannot achieve, just break it down into small steps. In one day, the SEALs were able to transform our minds about how to think and act in a team to achieve the impossible.”
Big Changes for Base Housing Utility Bills
Families in private housing on Marine Corps installations will start receiving utility bills this summer ahead of a service-wide plan to charge power hogs and credit power savers.Residents won’t yet pay or collect refunds. That will happen in October at the earliest, with most billing starting by January, officials said.
The plan is part of the Resident Energy Conservation Program, which the Marine Corps rolled out April 1 to give families incentives to use less power. The Corps, with nearly 23,000 privatized family homes managed by public-private venture companies, is installing electric meters in all homes lacking the devices. In the next step, installations will establish baselines, or averages, of electricity usage.
Under the new plan, as families curb electric use by an estimated 12 to 15 percent, Marine Corps officials project annual savings of $4 million.