Coming Home Project

Coming Home Project
3:29 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Thirteen Months Left to End Homelessness Among Veterans in Connecticut

Dr. Laurie Harkness
Credit Chion Wolf

There's 13 months to go in the federal VA's five year plan to end veteran homelessness.

VA staff and community partners in Connecticut met this week at a summit to discuss how they plan to reach the goal by the end of 2015.

Read more
Coming Home Project
3:26 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Sen. Blumenthal Pushes Dept. of Defense to Help Iraq War Veterans Exposed to Chemical Weapons

U.S. Army Sgt. Travis Livesey assigned to 731st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and an Iraqi Policemen, EOD, carefully arranges unexploded ordnance for disposal on Crazy Horse Range, Ramadi, Iraq, Feb. 17, 2011.
Credit U.S. Army

On Veteran's Day, Connecticut's U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal called on the Department of Defense to explain why it covered up instances when Iraq War veterans were exposed to chemical weapons. The Senator is also asking for the DOD to assist these veterans in seeking benefit claims for their injuries.

Read more
Military
1:48 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Visits Connecticut, Talks Leadership

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S Army Gen. Martin Dempsey visited Connecticut this week. First talking with the senior class at the Coast Guard Academy on Tuesday and then speaking to business leaders on Wednesday.
Facebook

The nation’s highest-ranking military officer delivered the keynote address at this year’s Geno Auriemma Leadership Conference organized by UConn School of Business. U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke about the tenets of leadership that exist in both the military and civilian world. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
3:01 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Volunteers Continue Working on a Unique Memorial For Connecticut Veterans

Gold Star mother, Diane DeLuzio stands near a tree planted in honor of her son, Steven
Lucy Nalpathanchil

Over the last three years, a volunteer effort has grown to build a unique memorial in Middletown. The first phase of the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial is near completion.

Read more
Veterans Issues
5:32 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Working Group Explores Connecticut's Veterans' Home

Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and members of the Veterans' Advisory Group get a tour of the state Veterans' Home
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

The state Veterans' Home sits on a sprawling campus in Rocky Hill but most of the buildings were built more than 70 years ago. In August, Governor Dannel Malloy asked for the creation of an advisory group to examine how the property--which offers several types of residential care-- can be transformed to serve more veterans.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

The Sacrifices of Military Spouses and Families

Glenda Caprini and her daughter-in-law waiting for her son, Casey, a sailor who serves on USS Annapolis.
Lucy Nalpathanchil WNPR

Over the last 13 years, the media has focused on the sacrifices of the thousands of service-members who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But behind these men and women are their families. We talk to author, Sarah Smiley who writes about her life as a Navy wife. Her latest book is a memoir about how she and her children invited members of their community to dinner as a way to fill the void in their home during her husband’s 13-month deployment.

Read more
Veterans Issues
3:51 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Federal VA Holds Town Hall Meetings to Improve Its Image

VA Connecticut held a public meeting at Newington Town Hall on Friday
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is holding town hall meetings as part of a nationwide effort to hear from the public. It comes after months of bad press about some VA systems hiding the actual amount of time veterans are waiting for care. 

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Iraq War Veterans Reflect on New Crisis

U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter flies over Baghdad, Iraq on June 15, 2007.
Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza The U.S. Army

Throughout the U.S. occupation of Iraq, there was concern about what would happen to the country when combat forces left. Over the last year, militant extremists have slowly taken over the country and now President Barack Obama is weighing his options. "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said on Friday.

Read more
The Things They Carried
11:48 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Captain Rich Evans: a Legacy of Fight and Defend

Jake Warga

"I joined the Army the day after September 11," said Captain Rich Evans, sharing his long legacy in fighting for the United States. He admits freely his changing emotion towards Afghanistan. 

Read more
Veterans Affairs
8:02 am
Sun May 25, 2014

Should VA Secretary Shinseki Step Down?

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 11:51 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. This coming week, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is expected to update President Obama on a nationwide review on VA facilities. Many VA hospitals have been accused of covering up long wait times for veterans and cooking the books to hide these delays. Shinseki announced yesterday that some VA clinics would enhance their capacity and the administration would also make it easier for veterans to get more of their care from private facilities.

Read more
The Things They Carried
11:53 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Staff Sergeant Christen Cohen on Memories of Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Christen Cohen.
Credit Jake Warga

Staff Sergeant Christen Cohen speaks about her deployments in Afghanistan and on being the only woman in her unit.  She carries with her a reminder of her mortality.

Read more
The Things They Carried
11:53 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Captain Jason Pace as Physician Assistant in Afghanistan

Captain Jason Pace
Credit Jake Warga

Captain Jason Pace tries to treat symptoms of depression and stress without medication. He believes that there are burdens a solider must carry inside that may never be lifted.

Read more
The Things They Carried
11:45 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Corporal Dan Elenhof as a Medic in Afghanistan

Corporal Dan Elenhof
Jake Warga

In addition to the physical objects Corporal Elenhof carries on his person, he also says he brings with him a sense of hospitality. "You know, just working every day with a foreign culture," he said, "definitely that culture rubs off on you. In Afghan culture, hospitality is a huge part of it. I'm definitely going to be carrying home a lot of that."

Read more
The Things They Carried
11:31 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Specialist Lackey on What He Carries in Afghanistan

Specialist Lackey
Jake Warga

Specialist Lackey carries with him the remains of his father in a small urn around his neck. 

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

"The Things They Carry" in Afghanistan; Wits' John Moe Is a Nerd

U.S. soldiers overlook the Chowkay Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
Credit U.S. Army / Creative Commons

Inspired by Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War book The Things They Carried, journalist Jake Warga set out to document some of the physical objects and emotional memories carried by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Jake recently joins us to talk about the series, The Things They Carry: U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan, which will begin airing as part of our Coming Home Project on WNPR.

We also visit with John Moe, host of the public radio show Wits. He's in Hartford this weekend to moderate the Connecticut Forum’s season finale event, Nerd Fest: Why Nerds Rule the World.

Read more
Coming Home Project
4:39 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

UConn Business School Recognized in Military Times

Credit Creative Commons

UConn's School of Business is included in a ranking of the top 60 business schools for veterans. This is the second year Military Times issued the ranking after surveying 140 colleges and universities. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
4:37 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Connecticut Veterans Fired For Military Service Can Sue in State Court

Credit glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

A recent decision by the Connecticut Appellate Court could help local veterans who have been wrongfully terminated because of their military service.

Read more
Jobs for Veterans
7:25 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Hiring Our Heroes Comes to Groton

The Hiring Our Heroes fair took place at the Groton Inn and Suites.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

More than 40 employers took part in a hiring fair in Groton Tuesday aimed specifically at veterans. It was part of the Hiring Our Heroes campaign run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Read more
Coming Home Project
9:42 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Senate Bill Would Restore COLA Benefit for Veterans

American Legion Post 96 Commander Ken Hungerford with Sen. Blumenthal and Linda Schwartz on Thursday.
Credit Jaki Lauper

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal promised to fight for a wide-reaching veterans' bill that includes restoring a cut to cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees.

The legislation, Senate bill 1950, is more than 300 pages. It includes money to help the federal VA eliminate its claims backlog, and extends the number of years that returning veterans can access VA health care. It also expands benefits for caregivers.

Read more
Coming Home Project
2:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Grant Awarded to Study a Legal Partnership with the Veterans Administration

Margaret Middleton is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
Credit Courtesy of CVLC

A legal services non-profit that assists veterans has received a sizable grant to study outcomes for those getting help through the federal VA.

New Haven-based Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and its project partners in New York City received a two-year $700,000 grant from the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation. 

Margaret Middleton, CVLC's Executive Director, said the non-profit entered into a first-of-its-kind medical-legal partnership with the VA Connecticut health care system four and a half years ago. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
12:32 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Iraq War Veterans Reflect on Fallujah

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea in Fallujah, 2004.
Courtesy of Michael Zacchea

It’s been two years since the U.S. military left Iraq. Some of the deadliest fighting was in the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, where more than 1,400 Americans died battling Al Qaeda insurgents. This week, news broke that Al Qaeda has taken control of the cities. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
2:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Special Visa Program For Iraqis Extended

During the Christmas holiday, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that has the potential to help more than 2,000 Iraqis. It extends the special immigrant visa program for Iraqis. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
11:43 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Veterans Reflect on Military Service Through Creative Writing

Veterans' Day event at Fairfield University
Jason Neely

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Cold War era gathered at Fairfield University Monday night, November 11, to read from their creative writing. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
11:58 am
Thu November 7, 2013

A Marine Remembered

Justin Eldridge and his wife, Joanna Gallup Eldridge
Credit Photo provided by the Eldridge family

The VA estimates 22 veterans commit suicide each day. There’s a stigma that surrounds military suicides. When a loved one dies in this manner, grieving family and friends often don’t talk about it openly. But Joanna Gallup Eldridge of Waterford says their stories need to be heard. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
9:43 am
Sat November 2, 2013

A New American Citizen

Falah Abdullatif and Tim Coon.
Credit Chion Wolf

A few months ago we told you the story of an Iraqi translator for the U.S. Army who moved to Connecticut under a special immigrant visa program.

WNPR caught up with 49-year-old Falah Abdullatif on Thursday, October 31, right before his U.S. citizenship ceremony.

Read more
Coming Home Project
3:54 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Afghanistan War Veteran Takes Own Life

Joanna Gallup Eldridge and Justin Eldridge.

Early Wednesday morning, WNPR learned of the tragic death of 31-year-old Justin Eldridge of Waterford. He was a Marine who served 8.5 years in the military including a deployment to Afghanistan. 

Read more
Coming Home Project
9:23 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Veterans Affairs Backlog Drops; Critics Urge More Progress

Senator Richard Blumenthal speaking at the VFW Post in East Hartford. Iraq War veteran Jordan Massa stands behind the Senator.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Despite the federal government shutdown, there was a decrease this month in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backlog to process veterans' disability claims. The VA said pending cases dropped by 10,000 since September 28. But this doesn't mean the pressure is off the federal department to do more.

Read more
Coming Home Project
9:56 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Interactive Feature: House Veterans Affairs Hearing on VA Opiate Prescriptions

VA’s opiate overload feeds veterans’ addictions, overdose deaths
Credit Center for Investigative Reporting

The House Veterans Affairs Committee is holding a hearing to find out more about a shocking trend of opiate prescriptions in VA hospitals nationwide.  A report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that since 9/11, the number of opiate prescriptions has grown 270 percent. CIR says this has contributed to the rate of overdose deaths among veterans that is double the national average.

Read more
Coming Home Project
4:44 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Foundation To Pay Military Death Benefits During Shutdown

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Thursday, this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The remains of four American service members were returned yesterday to Dover Air Force Base. They were killed in Afghanistan.

Read more
Coming Home Project
1:38 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Shinseki: Shutdown Means Veterans Will Not Get Benefits

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies on Capitol Hill in April.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 2:40 pm

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers on Wednesday that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month.

Shinseki, in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said pensions to more than half a million vets or surviving spouses will also be derailed if the stalemate over a temporary spending measure drags on into late October.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more

Pages