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Archive for the ‘Veterans’ Category

Project Sanctuary Launches “Walton’s Warriors” Peer Mentoring Program

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Unique, 10-month mentorship program aims to empower military veterans by focusing on recovery, resilience and suicide prevention training

Granby, CO (February 21, 2017) – Project Sanctuary, a Colorado-based nonprofit providing therapeutic retreats for military families, has launched a new peer-to-peer mentoring program aimed at improving recovery and resilience, and, ultimately, reducing suicides among veterans. Veterans make up less than nine percent of the U.S. population, yet account for 18 percent of all suicides in America, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Walton’s Warriors is a 10-month training program designed to equip veterans with the skills they need to provide support to fellow veterans struggling with such issues as PTSD and reintegration into civilian life.

The program was inspired by Brian Walton, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, who had attended a Project Sanctuary retreat with his family, but unfortunately, succumbed to his PTSD in March 2016. Many of Project Sanctuary’s veterans reached out to offer help after Brian’s suicide, which prompted founder and CEO Heather Ehle to search for programs that could better train them on how to provide support. Walton’s Warriors was born after her search failed to yield any comprehensive, clinically-based options.

“When Bonnie Walton reached out to me in March 2016, and asked how she would tell her three sons that Brian wasn’t coming home, I knew that whatever it took, Project Sanctuary had to do more to prevent the unbearable pain that this family was experiencing,” said Ehle. “Our veterans want to stop the suicide epidemic – they simply need the tools and the ongoing support to be able to help themselves while they help others.”

Walton’s Warriors includes both in-person and online training delivered by licensed professionals and veteran coaches, following a structured, evidence-based curriculum. Participants will learn about therapeutic communication, red flags to watch out for and the importance of confidentiality and setting boundaries. They’ll also receive training on critical self-care skills.

“They can’t be effective mentors unless they take care of themselves,” noted Ehle, who expects many of the participants to return as coaches for the program in subsequent years.

The program kicks off with 21 veterans from ten different states at a retreat February 23-26, near Santa Cruz, Calif. Those Walton’s Warriors will then correspond weekly with coaches and facilitators, and will also be invited to participate in monthly educational opportunities. A second retreat is planned for May 3-6 in Grand Lake, Colo., with participants slated to graduate from the program in November.

Walton’s Warriors is sponsored by the Infinite Hero Foundation. Thanks to the Foundation’s support, 25 veterans will receive training through the initial program.

“At Infinite Hero, we believe that mental and physical rehabilitation for our veterans can and must be better. Our heroes deserve it, and we will deliver it. Infinite Hero looks for the impossible challenges and drives through to find solutions. We define the problems veterans are facing, empower collaboration across sectors and inject targeted investments into innovations that have the power to revolutionize the way we treat the injuries of war,” said Colin Baden, founder and board president of the Infinite Hero Foundation

Project Sanctuary focuses on strengthening military families during the stressful times of deployment, transition and reintegration, offering retreats nationwide. In 2017, the organization will offer 27 retreats to serve military families and will also continue outreach to the 1,800 families on its wait list to provide pre-retreat assessment and crisis intervention. Project Sanctuary uses the A.R.T. model – Assess (pre-retreat support services), Reconnect (six-day therapeutic retreat for the whole family), and Thrive (two years of follow-up services). The program is unique in its treatment of the family as a unit while also working with each family member individually to assess their needs. The overall goal is easing the reconnection of families previously distanced as a result of deployment and military service, including resultant injuries.

Veterans MFG

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Veterans MFG

Veterans MFG is a Veteran-owned and operated manufacturer of personal armor, vehicle armor, mobile ballistic shields, and tactical gear, based in Katy, Texas. Their products include IIIA-rated body armor, rifle-rated plates, ballistic face masks, plate-compatible t-shirts, and their rifle-rated Mobile/Vehicle Ballistic Shield, which can either be set up in a vehicle or carried via the straps for on-foot use.

Check out the video below of Veterans MFG with the Katy PD testing out their Vehicle Ballistic Shield.

vetsmfg.com

Medals of America – DD 214 Woobie

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Medals of America has combined a Veteran’s two most prized possessions

We’ve seen the DD 214 blanket but now Medals of America is offering a White Poncho Liner printed with DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. It has magical properties, protecting its owner from both the cold as well as the day-to-day BS that is the military’s bureaucracy.  

Kelly & Michael Rodriguez, A Knife Making Family

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Not only do Michael and Kelly Rodriguez currently have knife designs with CRKT but they are both Soldiers. Michael is a medically retired SF NCO and his wife Kelly is still serving as a Senior NCO at the 44th Med Bde. Incidentally, they’re also both great Americans and have great sons. One of them is also serving in the Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd. I’m very proud to call them friends and I’m also very proud of the work they are doing in the knife industry. Like I said earlier, both of them have designs under manufacture with CRKT as part of the Forged By War Program. Mutual friend Ryan M Johnson of RMJ Tactical taught Michael how to forge knives and worked with Team Rodriguez to get their designs to CRKT where he has a few designs as well. Recently, they shared their designs and told friends about CRKT’s Forged By War program’s donation to charities. It’s always cool to hear the background story behind a product and they are sharing that with us now.

Kelly’s Story

I can’t believe the day has finally come! About two years ago, on the way home from Blade Show in Atlanta, Michael asked me a question that he had once been asked by Ryan M Johnson. “Is there a tool or knife you wish you would have had when you were down range?” In fact, there was, and so I started thinking and putting those thoughts on paper. The Combat Stripping Tool was born. I was blessed that CRKT included me and my design in their Forged By War program.

I’ve always hated traditional trauma shears. Don’t get me wrong, they work, and for some things, they are the best tool out there. But for me and for most as my 18D husband agrees, I normally used them to strip clothes off of patients. And for that I thought there had to be a better way. Once shears get dirty with mud, blood, dirt or oxidation, they become difficult to open and close, and I know I’ve gotten a few hand cramps from some mascal (mass casualty) situations that I’ve been in. So I wanted to design a tool that was easy to use, easy to keep sharp, and didn’t take up to much space.

The CST does just that. It has an exaggerated bull-nose and thumb guard to prevent injuries to yourself or your patient. It has a textured grip to prevent slipping, a built in oxygen wrench, and a centimeter scale to verify tube placements or wound size. It’s also easily cleaned.

There will be a great video coming out soon that demonstrates how well it works. I admit that I was pretty amazed at how fast it strips uniforms off! I’ll share it when it’s out.

I’ve chosen Operation One Voice to receive 10% off all profits from the CST. Please check them out! They are a great organization that has helped my family a great deal.

CST COMBAT STRIPPING TOOL

Features:
Utility Blade for Cutting Fabric During Emergency Situations
Oxygen Wrench
Built In Measuring Scale

Specs
Blade Length 2.125″ (53.98 mm)
Blade Edge Plain
Blade Steel Feather Safety Razor Blade; SS, HRC 56-63
Blade Finish Satin
Blade Thickness 0.005″ (0.13 mm)
Weight 1.5 oz
Handle Glass Reinforced Nylon
Style Fixed Blade Knife w/Sheath
Sheath Feature Replacement Blade Included In Woven Polyester MOLLE Gear Compatible Sheath
Sheath Material Weaved Polyester; Black
Overall Length 8.0″ (203.2 mm)

Michael’s Story

This is the first official look at my design and a project from over 3 years ago. I gave a sneak peak last year . Meet my “Tecpatl”. I was asked by a good friend of mine (Ryan M. Johnson) if there was ever a knife I wished I had during my deployments that didn’t exist. I knew there was, I had always carried a push knife that was lightweight, easily deployable, didn’t take a lot of space on my kit, many different mounting options and had one purpose, to create space between me and a target so I could get to my secondary, support arrived or situation changed.

My only issue was that I could not operate my weapon without dropping the push knife. There are several knives that are called “Fighting Knives” which are very effective, but without spending countless hours of training they just look cool, are extra weight and take up space on your “lightweight” kit. All Combat leaders know training time is precious and should be prioritized. Rex Applegate understood this and I urge you to read his manuals not just on his techniques but his philosophy. I discussed at length with another great friend of mine (Bill Harsey) who worked with and knew Rex very well about my design. There were very few to zero flying knife attacks with a blade flashing back and forth as portrayed in movies, Rex referred to them who practiced this as the “Flowing Robe Boys” yes that is an actual quote. Combat has evolved, there is a reason we don’t charge into battle carrying a sword, battle axe and crossbow under a hail of arrows today. I do believe however Combatives or hand to hand should always be part of your training regimen. Knife fighting is an art, just like gun fighting, both are a beautiful art that require a lot of training. If you can afford the knife fighting training great, but if you find yourself in a situation where you need to wield a knife in combat I pray your well prepared. If you’ve ever been there, you know what I’m talking about, you rely on your training and instinct.

I wanted a knife that monopolized more than instinct, but your anatomy and physiology. Everyone can throw a punch (some better than others), its part of the fight instinct we are born with, not to mention the greatest transference of force is generated with a punch in line with a blade in a small space. A straight punch or downward slash with your wrist locked in its anatomical position uses the largest muscle groups in our upper body and if your trained in combatives or fighting your much more effective because you are trained on how to use your whole body in those movements. Your reach is increased because you are not forced to focus the cutting edge of a hand held conventional knife and guess where it will reach its intended target. Just picture it in your mind. This knife is an extension of your fist, your own body. The knife edge and point are always pointed forward towards the target (sound familiar?), mag changes with weapon and blade in hand present no danger of self inflicted wounds unlike other knives. The handle rests solidly in your palm giving the knife a stable foundation during use, but not too bulky which drastically changes the feel of gun in hand. The profile of the blade was designed utilizing several historic combat proven bayonets and the subsequent body movements necessary for their employment.

After I sketched it, Ryan Johnson noticed if you turned the blade upside down it resembled a skull, the resemblance is a complete after thought which I think is pretty cool. All I had to do was add a nose. So utilizing my culture I sketched up a version using Mexican Sugar Skull Art, with a mixture of warrior culture symbols. Which is what our Warriors are today, the evolution of Warrior Cultures from around the world and times past.

10% of total profits will be donated to the Special Operations Care Fund and the George W. Bush Institute, visit their websites and see how else you can contribute.

I want the thank Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) for taking this “Forged by War” project on and working on bringing Civilians and Military together. We are all American Citizens… De Oppresso Liber

TECPATL

Features:
Black Powder Coat with Sugar Skull Laser Marking
Multiple Hand Deployment Options
Kydex® Sheath with Spring Loaded MOLLE Compatible Gear Clip

Specs:
SPECIFICATIONS
Blade Length 3.375″ (85.73 mm)
Blade Edge Plain
Blade Steel SK5 Carbon Steel, HRC 53-55
Blade Finish Black Powder Coat
Blade Thickness 0.203″ (5.16 mm)
Weight 5.6 oz
Handle Stainless Steel
Style Fixed Blade Knife w/Sheath
Sheath Material Kydex; Black
Overall Length 5.813″ (147.65 mm)

Congressional Budget Office Suggests Elimination of Concurrent Receipt for Disabled Military Retirees

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

In a report entitled ‘Eliminate Concurrent Receipt of Retirement Pay and Disability Compensation for Disabled Veterans’, the Congressional Budget Office offers up Concurrent Receipt as an option to reduce the federal budget out to 2026. Granted, they are just doing their jobs, but when things like this make it on to lists, they start to take on a life of their own. Since the CBO estimates the Federal Budget could save $139 Billion over the next 10 years, someone is going to take a serious look at this.

For those of you unfamiliar with Concurrent Receipt, it is a payment system which compensates military retirees for their service connected disabilities. Until 2003, military retirees were not provided the same level of compensation as nonretired disabled Veterans were receiving. Rather than getting their full retirement annuity and their disability compensation, they had to choose between receiving their full retirement annuity from DoD or receiving their disability benefit from VA and forgoing an equal amount of their DoD retirement annuity; that reduction in the retirement annuity is typically referred to as the VA Offset. Because the retirement annuity is generally taxable and disability compensation is not, most retirees chose the second alternative.

 The problem is that the two pays are for different purposes. Military retirement is just that; to pay for loyal service lasting 20 or more years, while disability compensation is meant to renumerate for pain, suffering and loss of physical function during military service. To combine the two, takes the physical well being of career service members for granted, by not fully compensating them for their service connected disabilities.

Fortunately, the 2003 NDAA set a timetable for correcting the VA Offset and now retirees recieve full VA disability benefits in addition to their retirement pay. This CBO proposal shows that a bean counter wants to once again strip retirees of their fair VA disability compensation. Read the full proposal at www.cbo.gov/budget-options/2016/52177 and keep an eye and ear out for any attempts to adopt this strategy as law.

Patagonia Crucible Documentary

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Self-Reliant Leadership studies the qualities of elite military units to understand the recipe for accelerated team development in all environments – from Patagonia to the boardroom.

Patagonia Crucible Documentary from Jan Rutherford on Vimeo.

In October 2016, a team of Special Operations veterans and business executives completed a 54-mile circumnavigation of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Argentina. During the six-day expedition, the team tested audacity, adaptability, and compassion to determine if team development can be accelerated.

The team found that selflessness, positivity, and curiosity were the key ingredients to a team with an absolute commitment to achieve at an elite level. These conclusions created a “recipe” to develop your own elite teams that gel quickly, gracefully handle changing business conditions, achieve challenging goals, and perform with absolute commitment.

Watch the documentary to start your own journey!
Learn More – selfreliantleadership.com/course/crucible2016

Victor App: Veteran Resource Provider On Indiegogo

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Victor is a project currently on crowdfunding site Indiegogo created by USMC-Veteran Greg Jumes, and is a Veteran-focused mobile app that is designed to assist with the transition from service to civilian life. It might be a bit simplistic to refer to Victor as social media for soon-to-be and recently-discharged servicemembers, but in a way it functions in a very similar manner. Those utilizing the Victor app can research communities and reach out to others to begin the planning stages of their post-military life, including seeking out Veteran-friendly businesses and active job listings looking to hire Veteran employees.

www.indiegogo.com/projects/victor-app-veteran-resource-provider-community

Gerber Introduces Enhanced Pro Program With New Discount For Veterans

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Gerber introduces a new Pro Program that provides exclusive, discounted access to American made knives, tools, and gear. Learn more at Gerbergear.com/proprogram

PORTLAND, OREGON (Nov 17th, 2016) – Gerber, a category leading manufacturer of personal knives, tools, and gear today, announced the introduction of a completely refreshed Professional Purchase Program. The new program offers discounted access to qualified members of the Armed Forces & First Responder organizations, Outdoor & Tactical Industry professionals and now US and Canadian Armed Forces Veterans.

The new program provides exclusive offers and discounts on the entire American Made product line, over 120 products, through three programs: Service, Veteran & Industry.

Service
Military
– Armed Forces | National Guard | Reserve

First Responders
– Law Enforcement: Federal | State | Local
– Fire | EMS

Veteran
– Served in the United States Armed Forces
– Served in the Canadian Armed Forces

Industry
– Full-time employees of related industry product brands
– Members of related industry associations (OIA, NSSF, etc)
– Retail Associates of Outdoor/Tactical/Hardware specialty retailers
– Employee of National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey
– Professional Guides and Outfitters
– Search & Rescue Volunteers (NASAR membership)
– Volunteer Fire, EMS, and related

Qualified applicants can learn more and apply at gerbergear.com/proprogram.