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Saturday, April 21, 2018

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018 4:00 AM
    The short month of February is gone and there is spring in the air with the spring daffodils coming up. That is great to hear. But, now let’s get down to the real reason we are here. In the month of February the volunteer drivers transported seven veterans to Indianapolis and six veterans to Danville, IL. We have six drivers that are active in driving for our County veterans. 
    My office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. till noon. On Wednesday I will be in from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. till 4:30 p.m. Please call me if these times don’t fit your schedule. 
    I have new information for you it is the money the veterans and their spouses receive from the VA. The amount for this month in February was $76,258.50. These are funds that Veterans in Montgomery County received from service related issues. This includes American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. If you feel you have a service related problem please give the office a call. I do almost all the paperwork on-line now. 
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  • Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:00 AM
    I hope everyone kept as warm as possible this past January. It was a cold month and our volunteer drivers still traveled to Indianapolis to the Roudebush Veterans Hospital with fifteen veterans and one veteran to Danville Illinois Hospital. We are very grateful to be able to do this. Not a lot of foot traffic with the cold weather with only nine coming in for a visit but several calls. 
    My office hours for February will be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and on Wednesday I will also be available from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Other arrangements for scheduling can be made if necessary for appointments.
    Now let’s discuss the VIC or the Veteran Identification Card and how you order it. First of all if you already have the Hospital Card for one of the VA hospitals you will not need to get the VIC. If you don’t have a VA ID card then you should order this card. 
    Before You Start
    Make sure you have a copy of a state or federal Issued ID and a photo saved (Size limit 3MB) on the device you will be using. Please use the instructions below to submit a request for your Veteran ID Card. 
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  • Friday, January 5, 2018 4:00 AM
    Here’s to the New Year. May it be a wonderful and prosperous year for all. December was a busy month with 41 phone calls. The VA Volunteer van drivers transported nine veterans to VAMC Roudebush Indianapolis, and three veterans to VAMC Danville, Ill. I am really glad that we were able to take these veterans to their appointments. 
    Now for some things we tend to forget to tell you. We have six drivers and two vans that serve the veterans that go to Indy and Danville to the hospitals. We just need a weeks’ notice to make it happen and would prefer to have the appt between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We are always looking for extra volunteers to drive the vans. You do not have to be a veteran to drive a van. If you are interested please call the office as there is paperwork to fill out and it also requires a physical before becoming an official driver. 
    A good way to start the year is to take your DD-214 to the Montgomery County Recorder’s Office in the courthouse and they will record it for free for you. So many times we have family and veterans who cannot locate their papers due to a move or a fire. This will save you and your family a lot of trouble as this paper is vital for veteran’s benefits and burial with a military funeral as you will only need to go to the courthouse and show your ID to get a copy for yourself. It takes at least four weeks to file for a new copy through my office.
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  • Friday, December 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all of you. The Veteran Newsletter is back! I am very well from my double by-pass heart surgery on October 4th and I will be working now thru Jan 2018 Tuesday and Thursday’s in the morning. Please call me on my office phone 765-361-4133 and I will return your call.
    While I was gone this is what happened. In October and November our volunteer VA Van drivers transported veterans twenty three times to either Indy or Danville taking them to their appointments at the hospitals. In my absence we had 45 Veterans call in to the office. Vicki Emmert and Karen Arnold helped in my absence. They also had several walk in veterans that they assisted. Many thanks to the surrounding Veteran Service Officers who helped these veterans and families out. 
    Now here is a real important thing to note. The VA announced a rollout and Application Process for the New Veterans I D card. This was mandated through legislation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise. 
    Only those Veterans with Honorable service will be able to apply for the I D card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of Standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans. 
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  • Friday, December 8, 2017 4:00 AM
    Wow November has come and gone, where did it go? The Veteran Newsletter is back. I am very well from my Surgery on October 4th and I will be working now thru Jan 2018 Tuesday and Thursday in the am. Please call me on my phone 765-361-4133 and I will return a call to you.
    Now here is what happened in November while I was gone. I had 45 Veterans call in to the office and Vicki Emmert and Karen Arnold helped in my absence. We had 4 veterans go to Indianapolis using the DAV Vans. I also had 1 veteran take the DAV Van to Danville, IL.
    Now here is a real important thing to note. The VA announces rollout and Application Process for the New Veterans I D card. This was mandated through legesilation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise.
    Only those Veterans with Honorable service will be able to apply for the I D card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of Standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans.
    The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of Service. With this Card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around there paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran Discounts and other services.
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  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:00 AM
    October is here, where did September go? Thanks to the Volunteer drivers, three veterans were driven to the Danville Veterans Hospital and five to the Indianapolis Veterans Hospital. There were 22 veterans that came to the office the month of September. There is always activity going on at the office. 
    While 44 percent of all veterans use at least one VA benefit, several lesser-known benefits could help Veterans live better, healthier lives. Here are three lesser-known benefits Veterans may be eligible to receive.
    Home loan Refinancing VA’s home loan program offers Veterans different refinancing options:
    Cash –Out refinance Loans- Veterans can take advantage of their home’s equity to take cash out through refinancing, or refinance a non-VA loan into a VA-guaranteed loan. Interest Rate reduction refinance loans-Veterans may be able to lower their monthly mortgage payment by obtaining a lower-interest loan.
    Native American Veterans
    For Native American Veterans who want to live on Federal Trust Land, VA’s Native American Direct Loan program is another option. It provides direct loans to eligible Native American Veterans for the purchase, construction, or improvement of a home. Learn more about NADL.
    Adapted Homes for Disabled Veterans
    VA also offers grants to Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities to build an adapted home or install ramps, widen doors, or make other modifications to love more independently. VA operates three types of grants that accommodate Veterans unique circumstances: Specially Adapted Housing, Special Housing Adaptation, and Temporary Residence Adaptations. 
    Help for Homeless Veterans 
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  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:16 PM
    Wow, August has now passed and we are into September already. Thanks to the Volunteer drivers, nine veterans were driven to the Danville Veterans Hospital and three to the Indianapolis Veterans Hospital. The office has been busy with 32 visitors of Veterans and their spouses coming to the office for information with numerous phone calls too. 
    A nationwide shortage of Psychiatrists has created a similar shortage in the U.S. Veterans Affairs department, which can amplify the department’s challenge in having sufficient staff to provide mental health care to veterans. A 2015 report showed the VA was critically short on psychiatrists. The report, published by the VA inspector general, said more than two-thirds of VA health care facilities studied-94 of 140 needed more psychiatrists on staff to meet the demand. To fill those gaps, VA hospitals often contract with private practice psychiatrists. But the problem is the private sector also is woefully short on psychiatrists. The shortage is being felt across the country. Dr. Atul Grover, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, recently told Forbes that expanded access to health care under federal reforms has led to more people seeking mental health care and thus put a strain on the availability of mental health professionals. A 2017 report said psychiatrists have become the second-most highly recruited physicians, trailing only family physicians. 
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  • Friday, August 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    Wow where did the month of July go. It is over and now time to bring you up to date on all that has happened. 
    Thirty two veterans came to the office and I filled out claims for them. The volunteer drivers transported eight veterans to Roudebush Indianapolis Hospital and Danville Hospital this month. The Military Family Relief Fund gave out $2.945 million last year (July- June). This is the funding which is to help military families in financial need. There were 2,251 who applied and the average was $1,718. The average process time is now 10 days but is always less than 31 days. The $2.9 million represents a doubling of grants from last year. The amount of income from military plates was $891,000 which display we support our troops on them. The service organizations were very happy with the amount of money they received as it was $910,000. The Indiana Veterans Home is now operating in the black. The Bill 1001 also had in it grants for homeless veterans and the IDVA (Indiana Dept. of Veterans Affairs) is working on the procedures and paperwork for that. 
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  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    June was a busy month to say the least. We had 10 veterans given rides by our volunteer drivers to Roudebush at Indianapolis, and three veterans to Danville, Ill. I also had 24 veterans that came to visit the office and received about 25 phone calls this month. Vicki Emmert and I attended the Veteran Service Officer training seminars at Camp Atterbury from Monday the 5th of June through the 8th of June. The training was Visual Impairment services, small group scenario training, developing a claim for the veteran, explain the benefits of having an eBenefits and my Health eVet accounts and we did not forget about the state benefits. We also discussed Traumatic Brain Injury, (the hallmark of the Iraq/Afghanistan war.
    We also discussed the Gulf War disability claims then we discussed how we CVSO’s win Service Connected compensation claims, win benefits for Female Veterans, help with Camp Lejeune and Thailand Herbicide Exposure claims and how we win Appeals; then we discussed Pro bono Legal services briefing. It was nice to visit with the other Veteran Service Officers in our state and put a face to their names as they are great resources. 
    Here is the lowdown on the Indiana Legal Services and its is for those people who are US Citizens or can document legal presence and do not have household assets valued greater than the amount determined by ILS; and meet income requirements at 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines; or Household income between 126 percent and 200 percent, with qualifying expenses. The phone number is 844-243-8570 Monday thru Friday between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this is for anything other than Criminal cases. 
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  • Thursday, May 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    The month of April we had 11 claims filed and I received 40 phone calls. Our volunteer drivers took six veterans to Danville, Ill. and Indianapolis VA Hospital for medical treatment. We are currently looking for more drivers for our VA Vans. Each driver will need a complete medical exam which is the second Tuesday of the month at the VA for you to become a VA Van Driver. So call me if you are interested. 
    The Montgomery County Veteran Treatment Court is in need of more Veteran mentors. This court is to help local veterans who are on probation stay out of jail, such as DUI’s etc. We are blessed that our county has this Veteran Treatment Court in place as not all counties have this program. Please contact Jennifer York at the Probation Office at 364-6460 and leave her a message and she will return a call to you. You will need to commit to every Monday from 2 to 3 p.m. as that is when the court is in session. Twelve veterans have attended the court since it was implemented in 2016. 
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  • Wednesday, April 5, 2017 4:00 AM
    Well another month has gone by and now we’re in April. But before we speak of that, lets look at what happened in March. We had 16 people come to the office. The VA vans were busy in March with nine trips to Indianapolis and six trips to Danville, Ill. If you plan to use the vans for transportation to the VA please try and get your appointments in the morning. Let the office know several days in advance to schedule a driver for you ride to the VA. We run the vans four days a week with Friday being the extra day. 
    Now let’s speak of our Honor Flight that is approaching on April 24. We will have 85 veterans going to Washington and several are from Montgomery County: Robert Cook WWII, Robert Dickey Korean War, John Hall WWII and Korea who was also a POW of WWII, Byron Hamm Jr. Korean War, Martin Chesterson, David Fletcher, Roger Myers, and Glen Conkright all Vietnam veterans. Four guardians who are flying with us in April are Russell Fletcher with David Fletcher, Stephen Rasmussen with Robert Cook, and Sandra with Robert Dickey and Kerry Pearson going with Carl Pearson who is not from Crawfordsville. We would also like to say a big Thank You to the Crawfordsville Neighborhood American Sewing Guild for their donations of the bags for Honor Flight. The Sewing Guild prepared enough bags for all three of our flights in 2017. This is going to be a short newsletter as I am going to the VA for a Heart Cath on Wednesday April 5 for a stint. I will stay for one day in the hospital and then back home.
    Camp Lejeune Vets Awarded Billions for service at Camp Lejeune
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  • Tuesday, March 7, 2017 7:16 PM
    Wow, I can’t believe how fast the time is passing. It is already March and we are still going. We have had 29 visitors this month and I have two meetings outside of the office. I have also meet with the American Legion this month. I have also had 17 people to the Danville and Indianapolis VA this month. I have also had an issue with my heart as I had a heart cath and will be going back to the VA for a second heart cath. They are trying to get a stint in my veins for the second time if that wouldn’t work I will have to have open heart surgery. We will just have to wait and see. It is scheduled for the second week in March.
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  • Saturday, February 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    January 2017 has flown by and we are now into February, which is hard to believe. Our Veterans Office saw 33 visitors and received 44 telephone calls. So we were somewhat busy this month. 
    I attended the meeting in Lafayette for Honor Flight and Honor Flight will fly again on April 24 which is a Monday and for the first time we will have to raise the guardian fee to $500 as the cost to fly our vets has risen. 
    The Veteran Treatment Court is going well. We currently have ten Veterans in the program and one graduated last month. We are in need of veterans to be mentors for the program. If you are interested in mentoring our veterans please call me or email me at 765-361-4133 or email at joe.ellis@montgomerycounty.in.gov.
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  • Friday, January 6, 2017 4:00 AM
    Wow, another year has come and gone. We are in the year of 2017 and we have a new President and a new administration. So now we will see what president elect Donald Trump can do with our nation as president.
    The following are people who have been caught defrauding the veterans system. A man of the Boston area has been sentenced to a year of probation for stealing nearly $80,000 in federal veterans’ benefits that were erroneously sent to his dead neighbor. Prosecutors say 73-year-old John Ladd was sentenced Tuesday to spend the first six months of probationary period in home confinement and the was ordered to pay full restitution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He pleaded guilty in August to stealing public money. Prosecutors say Ladd was a caretaker for the woman who died in 2009. The US. Department of Veterans Affairs was not properly notified of the death and continued to deposit her benefits into her bank account each month. Ladd wrote 70 checks to himself from the neighbor’s account, forging her signature, and deposited them into his own account. 
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  • Wednesday, December 7, 2016 4:00 AM
    This past month I attended the Veteran Mentor Corps Boot Camp Program. It is the Mentor program for veterans that want to help with the Veterans Treatment Court. It was very interesting and enlightening. We covered: What is a Veterans Treatment Court? Who is the Justice Involved Veteran Participant? The Role of the Veteran Mentor, Standards, Boundaries and Communications. All of this was to bring the veteran mentor up to standard so that he or she would do what is needed. 
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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P.O. Box 272
Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933

 

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