Here at the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, we honor and support veterans and their causes. There are many ways that we do this, we are proud to say, and one of those ways is by supporting opportunities for veterans to share their experiences and their stories. In other words, we have encouraged opportunities for Nevada's veterans to express themselves, and to do so freely as the constitution they vowed to defend guaranteed.
There is an upcoming event that honors a fallen Nevadan called the Ski for Freedom of Expression Day. The event honors artist, Nevadan, and soldier David J. Drakulich by supporting the foundation that carries his name, the David J. Drakulich Art Foundation. After speaking to his parents this morning, I am equally impressed by what they provide for the veterans in Nevada and surprised that I have not heard of them or this event before. As you can see from the flier above, it will be held at Sky Tavern Ski Resort on Saturday, March 19, 2011. That's not a long way off, but it is a great cause and worth every bit of your attention. You can go to their website to see more about what they do, take a look at David's art, and learn more about this program.
A new veterans center is opening in Mesquite, and it promises to be a wonderful new contribution to the efforts to serve our veterans in southern Nevada. Here is an article in the local newspaper explaining exactly what they plan to do.
We are in the final week of the holiday season here in Nevada, and there is so much to be grateful for. Most of us have had a chance to relax with friends and family; gifts were given, and not just between family but also gifts of service to our community and our veterans and service members. As I’ve covered here in the last week or two, we’ve seen service members be able to return home from the front lines to be with their families, in person and in video. We’ve seen stories of local Nevadans taking it upon themselves to serve our troops, and also to serve our veterans through volunteer programs. We’ve offered congratulations, and we’ve celebrated the return to Nevada of a hero. We announced the Veterans Legislative Summit, which has received a wide response to date. We also announced the release of Battle Born: Nevada War Stories, through the office of the Lieutenant Governor on these pages. It has been selling well since the release, which is good: not only does it tell the stories of 35 Nevada veterans, but the proceeds also go to a great cause. It’s been a good close to a good year. Thanks for supporting our veterans.
From a Federal VA Press Release:
DOD has extended the deadline for eligible Veterans and service members and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) to December 18. VA has worked with DOD for the past year to let Veterans know about this program to compensate military members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status. When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible. A majority of those eligible have separated from the military and DOD is asking VA’s help in notifying them of the program’s new deadline. To apply, or for more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, Veterans should be directed to http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.
I noted yesterday through this press release that the Nevada Office of Veterans Services was fulfilling its role in Operation Recognition for the first time in several years. Here is some background on the program:
In 2003, during the 72nd Session of the Nevada Legislature, Assembly Bill 52, Operation Recognition, was passed. This bill provides for Nevada School Districts to issue a standard high school diploma to certain veterans. To receive this high school diploma, a veteran must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States during WW II through the Vietnam Era, between the dates of September 16, 1940 and May 7, 1975. A veteran, a guardian of a disabled veteran, or a member of a deceased veteran’s family, on behalf of the deceased veteran, may submit an application.
Yesterday’s event went very well, and I was proud to present Mr. Crabtree with his diploma after 50 years. The Reno Gazette-Journal, the Sparks Tribune, and KOLO TV all ran stories. If you would like more information on the program, just call our office. And thank you to everyone who came out. It was a great event.