An innovative therapy which involves controlling rapid eye movements during times of stress has been shown to help clients reprocess and desensitize disturbing memories and experiences to relieve the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to Elaine Wynne, EMDR Certified Therapist and Approved Consultant for the Trauma Recovery EMDR HAP Veteran Resilience Project of Minnesota, not only is it evidence based therapy for trauma, it has been successfully used to treat many other stress related conditions like phobias, grief, and phantom limb pain.
February is designated Black History Month, a month in which we reflect on the great contributions made by this community of heroes. I want to especially thank someone who played a transformational role in my life. Let me explain!
As a young, naive Lieutenant in Vietnam, I ‘commanded’ a five-man team of Advisors. We lived with the Vietnamese and supported their Popular and Regional Forces. One of my team members was named Hindu, an African American E7, Special Operations Forces qualified, Infantryman. Being from Northern Minnesota, not an area known for diversity, my experience with African Americans was limited. I was blessed to have gotten to know Hindu. On evening nights when all was quiet, we would talk. As time went on, Hindu would open up a little more and share some of his experiences as a young African American man growing up in Mississippi. Not something we as a nation could be proud of! Hindu taught me more during these evening talks than I ever would gain in a ‘diversity seminar.’ Thank you Hindu for being a part of my life, and I think of you as well as Mazz, Ketchum, and Bent!
The family of a Veteran killed in action during the Korean War was presented with a Purple Heart Medal thought to be lost for decades. Commissioner Larry Shellito with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs presented the medal to family members during a small ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.
Gerry Falkowski, the coordinator for the Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota (DAV) Donor Connection Program, recently received a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Governor Mark Dayton for his dedicated service to the program. The MN Donor Connection Program works to connect Minnesotans looking to donate medical equipment with Veterans in need. Falkowski has been the vital link between linking this equipment and Minnesota Veterans in need.
Since mid-2009, Disabled Veterans have been able to ride the transit systems throughout the state for free; some Veterans are still unaware of this benefit. It is one more way the State of Minnesota has chosen to honor Veterans. And with each adult Transit ticket costing between $2.25 and $3.00, this benefit helps Veterans keep a couple extra dollars in their pockets, and helps tremendously for Veterans needing special disability vehicles to travel.
The Adult Day Center, located in Minneapolis along the beautiful banks of the Mississippi River, offers Veterans a daily retreat to socialize with other Veterans. But even more importantly, it also allows them to keep their independence by continuing to live in their own home.
The Adult Day Center is a great opportunity for Veterans who do not need full-time care, and for families who need a little help taking care of their loved one.
On December 7, 2013 the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad commemorated the 72nd Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Veteran community gathered to honor and remember this war, those who fought, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As each year passes, we continue to remember those who lost their lives, and celebrate those who are still with us.
At the 2013 State of Minnesota Veterans Day event, a crowd of over 400 Minnesotans gathered to honor all who have served.
This year, the event was kicked off with an early addition of the Minnesota Military Radio Show, with host Tom Lyons and a variety of special guests, including Commissioner Larry Shellito, Maj. Gen Rick Nash, and Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie.
The activities of our office have increased as the weather turns colder. Several key events occurred recently that contributed to the increase. First was our open house and ribbon cutting for the remodeled claims office at the St. Paul Claims Office in the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building. The renovations were long awaited and the open house was well attended. The new facilities will enable our staff to serve Veterans more effectively. I also thank the leadership at the Whipple Building for their support during the extensive remodeling period. I am proud of the partnership our agency has with the Federal VA staff. Another event was the groundbreaking for a new State Veterans Cemetery in Southeastern Minnesota. The 169-acre site was donated by Fillmore County and is located just off Highway 52 in Preston, Minn. Often burial is the only benefit Veterans claim and we are pleased to expand burial service to Veterans in Southeastern Minnesota.