Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Citizens Medal Brings Light to Veterans Needs

On February 15, 2013 President Obama awarded average citizens, doing the extraordinary for country and community, with the highest honor that a president can bestow to a citizen.

Among them was veteran Adam Burke.  Burke was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after saving a comrade from a mortar blast in Iraq's Sunni Triangle - for which he received a Purple Heart.

Said President Obama of Adam: "When Adam Burke returned from Iraq, he had more than earned the right to just focus on himself. He had served our nation with honor; a recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds he received while rescuing a comrade from enemy fire. Because of the shrapnel that tore through his head and his legs –- when Adam came home, he came home a wounded warrior, suffering from a traumatic brain injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But a few years later, Adam found himself back on the family farm, and he noticed that working the land was therapeutic. His coordination improved. He was able to put aside his cane. So he decided to use farming to help other veterans with similar injuries see similar benefits. And by starting Veterans Farm, he’s doing that every day."

While Adam was fortunate to have received recognition from a US president, many veterans aren't so lucky.  

The same afternoon we covered the Presidential Citizens Medal ceremony honoring seventeen American citizens for their act of community service, bravery, and honor - several like Adam Burke - we were also reminded that too many veterans are still slipping through the cracks, still waiting for the US to provide the help and support that is so desperately needed.

Listen to these two gentlemen as they speak outside the Department of Veterans Affairs, just a block from the White House, about the plight of US veterans.

The effort of those two men to fight for the veterans in their respective families is a good thing.

The Obama administration has instituted numerous initiatives in support of US veterans and their families. Not all can be helped, but here is just a bit of what the current administration is doing to help military personnel thus far:

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC),
Joining ForcesOperation Educate the Educators Initiative
Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

More veterans services and resources:

Useful VA Services Suicide Hotline:

VA National Call Center for Homeless
Vets Hotline: 1-877-424-3838
Veterans Benefits Administration
Hotline: 1-800-827-1000 OMI Hotline:

800-634-4782 OMITriage

See also www.

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