Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 27, 2010

Honor Vet, New One Stop Veterans Online Help Site

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 9:04 pm

This seems like a logical step, there truly needs to be a one stop resource for veterans. The problem is real, take the 1.3 Million backlogged disability claims alone, If 10% called and asked for help, that alone would swamp a VA regional office or any of the veteran service reps with that major service organizations.
So take 10% of 1.3 Million, that’s 130,000 and say each person at your website could help a 100 veterans [that is allowing 3 days for each veteran per year] you need 1,300 people that are trained and competent to help that 10%.

Our small group, here, looks primarily at disability issues, and we do not have a forum simply because we do not have enough people or resources to do more, not that we would not like to do more.

If all the veterans could unite under a single banner, then we could get some REALaction on issues. As it is we are members of various organizations which in turn dilutes our voices and our political impact.

We would like to see a method by which, for a small fee, everyone of the 1.3 million veterans with a pending claim could get a quality, competent attorney to handle that backlogged claim.

Honor Vet
“HonorVet.org is gearing up to become the next generation interactive-community (on-line + mobile) for the veterans, service members and their families. If you or your family are part of this deserving community, we’ll be here to provide transitional, educational, psychological and “virtual-community” support whenever you need it, wherever you are in the world.”

Full Article at: Honor Vet: Winning the War at Home

By James Kleimann | November 11, 2010

There’s no shortage of chatter from pundits, neighbors and friends about the U.S. combat withdrawal from Iraq. A divisive issue seemingly with far more questions than answers, you won’t have trouble finding an opinion on what can be done to win the war abroad.

But there’s another war. It’s behind the curtains of U.S. homes, seen at businesses, unemployment lines, roadways, hospitals, VFWs and on your block. It’s the war not seen and not heard.

It’s the war returning servicemen and women face as they struggle to re-adjust to life in the states. Many are beset by depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse problems, lack of economic opportunity, anxiety, injuries and assorted family issues.

But Ridgewood’s Jesse Canella, 24, a former Marine who left the service in summer of 2008 and was given disability status due to back injuries and hearing loss, believes this is a war that is imminently winnable, and he’s spearheading a complex, comprehensive nonprofit, Honor Vet, to provide the services he feels are needed for returning veterans to readjust and thrive in a home environment that is oddly foreign.

Canella’s seen the horrors of war, witnessed the death of friends and returned to find a home he could not find familiarity with. And he’s not the only one.

“Right now there’s a large gap between the the issue and the help,” Canella said.

“I came home from the Marines after four years in Iraq. I lost some friends, and I came home and as happy as I was to be home with my family, I felt there was a void that I was missing. I couldn’t quite find what it was,” he said.

After growing depressed and having trouble adjusting to life or finding any sustained happiness, Canella said he realized just what that void was.

“I realized that the void was not being around like-minded people who had seen war, who had suffered loss–people I could relate to. I felt lost in myself and part of that was not being able to interact with people who had gone through what I was going through.

“Right now there is no one consolidated community where if you’re a veteran you can talk to other vets going through the same issues, find a medical professional to give you some advice and answer direct questions, a place where you can learn how to craft a resume, a place where you can find all of the information you’d need on benefits or health options from the VA [Veterans Affairs].”

“It’s not out there, but we’re going to fill the void,” Canella said.

“We want to be the next generation community for veterans.”

Building Trust

To fill this void, Canella and his team have already begun compiling resources, are recruiting a network of professionals to provide advice and professional services for veterans, and are in the process of integrating innovative peer-to-peer technology so Honor Vet can become a digital forum to meet the challenges veterans are facing in the 21st century.

The first thing that needs to be done, said Canella, is to have a system in place where Honor Vet can verify that the veterans using the site are in fact veterans.

“We’ll be having members fax us their DD214 (source documents verfying their status as servicemen and women) to make sure we can provide a safe and trusted environment,” Canella said.

“Unless people feel comfortable that the person they’re speaking to on the other end is actually a veteran, we can’t do what we want to do. It’s critical that we authenticate members. There needs to be a built-in trust.”

Once that trust is established and veterans are signed onto the site (which is free to use), Canella says there are a few key core services Honor Vet will provide.

Professional Services

One of the pillars of Honor Vet’s foundation is in their offering of professional services, Canella said. While returning veterans are often highly skilled, highly disciplined individuals, too many feel they don’t have specific skills tailored to today’s modern workforce.

But nothing could be further from the truth, Professor Mike Haynie of Syracuse University said. Haynie, head of the EBV program, an entrepreneurial business venture program for disabled veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (a program Canella attended earlier this summer), believes the difficulty is in that employers often don’t know how to translate military knowledge, skill and experiences to a civilian work role. Veterans, similarly, have difficulty communicating the skills they have to prospective employers.

“For example, they see that a veteran was a ‘tank operator’ in the military, and struggle with how that skill translates to a civilian role. The reality is, however, that if they were to dig deeper –or if we did a better job educating them–they’d understand that a modern-day tank driver actually has very advanced training and practical knowledge in hydraulics systems, radar systems and electronics—highly desirable skills in the modern workplace.”

Canella said by reaching out to career coaches and individuals who can lead workshops, they can help with the joblessness rate.

“We’re working right now with career coaches,” he said.

“We’re going to do things in phases. We’re going to integrate them into the website. Eventually, career coaches can do video conferencing with veterans or a veteran can one-on-one chat with them,” he said.

“We don’t want to generalize answers. We want direct, personal answers. It should be catered to each individual as best we can. Obviously, as we grow we’ll be able to do a better and better job of that.”

‘Warm Services’

Unquestionably, veterans have struggled to translate their practical, tangible skills into work, but many have the added difficulty of just generally adjusting to life back home, a life they hadn’t seen for years, one where they’re given almost too much freedom, where discipline they’d been so accustomed to vanishes. Not all can adjust, Canella said.”

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