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Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

In Our Community

Veteran of the Year

Veteran of the Year

Two veterans in the Disabled American Veterans Gen. Claire Chennault Flying Tigers Chapter in Monroe have received Louisiana Veteran of the Year recognition over the last two years. LPB travels to Monroe to see what makes this chapter so special.    

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LSU Entrepreneur Boot Camp

LSU Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Of the nearly 2.5 million post-9/11 veterans in the workforce, 28 percent report having a disability resulting from their military service. The “Entrepreneurship Boot Camp For Disabled Veterans” is a national program designed to offer cutting-edge training in small business management to disabled veterans to allow them to start and grow their own companies. Louisiana State University is just one of ten colleges in the country that hosts the residential instruction phase.

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Whistle-blowing and Investigations

V.A. Truth Teller

A whistleblower at the Shreveport Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center was instrumental in shining a spotlight on irregularities at the facility as far back as 2013. His actions have resulted in a recent change at the Medical Center.

 

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Soldier Strong

Soldier Strong

The U.S. Army announced this month that it will be releasing a personal fitness bracelet that lets army leaders track their soldiers’ fitness and nutrition decisions in real time. The bracelet is part of the armywide “Performance Triad Initiative” which promotes healthy sleep, activity and nutrition among soldiers, veterans and military families. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been working with the Department Of Defense to develop customized health plans for soldiers that aligns with the Performance Triad Initiative. It’s recently released a mobile app that puts a healthy lifestyle at a soldier’s fingertips.

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Open Burn

Open Burn

Two years ago, residents in northwest Louisiana successfully blocked plans by the U.S. Army to open burn over 15 million pounds of deteriorating munitions materials at Camp Minden. The end result is a $35 million dollar closed burning chamber located at Camp Minden that is currently half-way through of a scheduled year long process.

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Bastion Community

Bastion Community

A non-profit organization that is building a neighborhood for returning veterans with lifelong rehabilitative needs. The Bastion Community of Resilience is a five acre site in New Orleans that is designed to serve veterans, their families and the community members who volunteer there.

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Strickland Comeaux Interview

Strickland Comeaux Interview

The state’s only private Veterans’ Home in Louisiana is the Magnolia Care Center in Baton Rouge. Owner Byron Comeaux hopes to reopen his facility within the next few weeks. The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) says there are financial assistance funds available through the Military Family Assistance Fund. Alex Juan with LDWA and Byron Comeaux are in the studio.

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Update LA Public Square

Update LA Public Square

What challenges do our returning veterans face? Louisiana has one of the highest percentage of residents aged 25 and under in the country that have served in the military. This month’s encore presentation of LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE looks at the challenges and needs veterans face when they return stateside including securing civilian employment, obtaining healthcare and oftentimes housing.

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Old Glory Relay

Old Glory Relay

As Veterans Day nears, a military support group called Team Red, White and Blue is taking an American flag on a cross-country journey from Washington state to Florida.  The last week of October, the Old Glory Relay made its way through Louisiana.  Charlie Whinham caught up with some central Louisiana chapter members that are running with the flag for several reasons. Continued local support for Veterans Coming Home is provided by Entergy.

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Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

Louisiana Public Square – Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

Since 2001, 2.6 million service men and women have been deployed to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Louisiana joins 11 other states with the second highest percentage of veterans aged 25 and under. The needs for these younger veterans as they return stateside are plentiful including securing civilian employment, obtaining healthcare and oftentimes housing, and addressing the mental rigors of transitioning from military to civilian life. And with less than one-half of 1% of the U.S. population in the armed services today, reintegrating service members into communities whose understanding of war is gleaned largely from television may be as difficult as fighting a war. So, what challenges face our returning veterans; what resources are available to assist them and how do we bridge the “Military/Civilian Divide?” Louisiana Public Square explores these issues and more on a special town hall edition.  

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No Greater Love

No Greater Love

Charlie Whinham, anchor of “Louisiana: The State We’re In” interviews McNeese State University graduate Justin Roberts who served as a U.S. Army Chaplin in Afghanistan for two years with the 101st Airborne Division battalion.  As a chaplain, Roberts was not allowed to carry a weapon.  Instead, he carried a video camera to illustrate the war through the eyes of the soldiers and produced an award winning documentary called No Greater Love.  Justin’s main goal is to use the film as a catalyst to reconnect communities and veterans.

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Veterans Coming Home – Flood Recovery

Veterans Coming Home – Flood Recovery

The catastrophic Louisiana floods of 2016 have seriously impacted residents across the state including veterans.  The state’s only private Veterans’ Home in Louisiana is the Magnolia Care Center in Baton Rouge.  Owner Byron Comeaux hopes to reopen his facility within the next few weeks.  The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) says there are financial assistance funds available through the Military Family Assistance Fund.  LDVA Asst. Sec. Alfred Leger and Byron Comeaux are in the studio to discuss these important issues that veterans are facing.  Continued local support for Veterans Coming Home is provided by Entergy.  

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Vets to Work

Vets to Work

A statewide needs survey of Louisiana veterans returning home found that 25 percent faced challenges with employment or re-employment. Despite this, 42 percent of these veterans did not seek out employment assistance. See how Louisiana veterans are taking advantage of the free assistance offered to them by both state and federal agencies.

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Strength of Support

Strength of Support

In addition to a hatred for law enforcement, the shooters of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge this summer both shared a military background. Veterans groups worry that this fact will play into a negative stereotype of veterans as broken individuals ready to explode. The “Veterans Coming Home” public media initiative is working to change this narrative and help bridge the military/civilian divide.

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Tanya Whitney

Tanya Whitney

Returning from a war zone can be difficult and overwhelming.  Sorrento native U.S. Army (ret.) Master Sergeant Tanya Whitney deployed on numerous missions and coming home was not easy.  Whitney soon learned that family support and getting involved in her community were key to a successful return.  

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Gold Star Mom Alice Daniel and Louisiana Dept. of Veteran Affairs Secretary Joey Strickland

Louisiana’s Burn Pit Registry

Charlie Whinham, anchor of “Louisiana: The State We’re In” interviews Gold Star Mom Alice Daniel and Louisiana Dept. of Veteran Affairs Secretary Joey Strickland about the state and Federal Burn Pit Registry.  Alice Daniel would like to see more medical attention given to soldiers who have been exposed to open burn pits during their service.  Louisiana was the first state to pass its own registry in hopes of getting word out to service members and vets about the issues.  Louisiana’s Burn Pit Law is named after her son, SSG Austin Daniel, who died in 2009 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Whitney Dow, Kathleen Flynn and Ramon Garcia

Veterans Coming Home Production Team

Meet Veterans Coming Home national production team members Whitney Dow, Kathleen Flynn and Ramon Garcia in a sitdown interview with LPB’s news anchor Charlie Whinham. They discuss the goal of the project and their visit to Louisiana. Includes clips from the Veterans Coming Home national website.

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Louisiana Veterans Coming Home Backgrounder

Louisiana Veterans Coming Home Backgrounder

What burdens do Louisiana’s post-9/11 veterans face when they return home in the areas of mental health and employment? This video setup piece from the “Louisiana Veterans Coming Home” town hall highlights the challenges and opportunities for the state’s veterans in the areas of mental health and employment. Learn more at www.lpb.org/publicsquare.

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