Past Weekly Highlights


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Here are some websites to learn more about military benefits and simply good to know information.

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Here are some websites to learn more about PTSD, treatment options, and simply good to know information.
 

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_ptsd/booklet.pdf

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/promo_materials_awareness.asp

http://deploymentpsych.org/disorders/ptsd-main 

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/2013/06/06/june-is-ptsd-awareness-month-remember-you-are-not-alone/

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Military Discharges and Upgrades

News agencies have reported cases where service members have been separated and later questions arise concerning the appropriateness of the discharge assigned.  Veterans who believe their discharge may be incorrect based on health conditions, PTSD, sexual orientation, sexual assault, or some other consideration that affected the discharge, should make application for review by military branch (DoD). 

 

This link provides details on the DoD announcement late last year concerning discharge review.  https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1039945/dod-announces-new-outreach-efforts-to-veterans-regarding-discharges-and-military

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Transportation Services for Veterans

H K Express Transit Service is a non-profit organization that has been serving the local Clear Lake community since 2010. Their goal is to provide on-time and reliable transportation and a superior customer experience to their clients. They specialize in serving our Veterans and members of our community experiencing economic hardship by collaborating with corporate donors and government grants to fund our transportation service.

For Veterans they provide curbside pickup and drop off anywhere between Galveston and Houston for $1.  Wheelchair Lift vehicles available.  Ride request must be called in and scheduled. Donations are accepted for rides given.

Their website is www.texastranspor.com

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The Harris County Tax Office has consolidated their military benefits into an easy to navigate web page. Service members and their families can easily find information about benefits available in the property tax, automobile services, and voter registration departments. Additionally, the Resources and FAQ sections provide other helpful links and information


Additional information about the services provided by the Harris County Tax Office can be found at:  http://www.hctax.net/Military/HelpDesk.
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Sites that list freebies and discounts for Veteran's Day

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Secure a future in Ironworking

Paid Veteran OJT and apprenticeship postions available in Houston and San Antonio.  Train and work with other veterans.  Initial 12 day training program located in Houston.  Wages begin on the first day of training, and after completion, immediately report to your job site.




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Unlocking VA Disability Claims Part 1
The Dog Tag_ Unlocking VA Disability Claims Part 1
In this episode of the Dog Tag, host Matt Elledge interviews three experts and learns what VA Disability Compensation is, who's eligible and how to apply, along with tips and advice to help Veterans navigate this complex and often intimidating process. Listen Here

Unlocking VA Disability Claims Part 2
The Dog Tag_  Unlocking VA Disability Claims Part 2
Listen to this episode of the Dog Tag and find more advice and expertise about the second half of the VA Disability Claims process, including what to do after you receive your ratings decision from the VA, and how to navigate the appeals process. Listen Here

Info from Veteran Land Board Website

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Adopt an Adult dog for half the cost

BARC is the City of Houston's Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility. In 2011, BARC instituted the Veterans Companion Program. Active duty or veterans that can show proof of their honorable service record are provided a full adoption at half the adoption price. For $25, a veteran can adopt an adult dog that comes with the following: all age appropriate shots (including rabies), a pre-registered microchip, a one year city license, a spay/neuter surgery, and the gratitude of a thankful shelter.

For more information about BARC and the Veterans Companion program, please visit here or call 832-393-9003.

The BARC shelter is located at 3300 Carr Street, Houston TX 77026.

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Need Help Paying Bills in Texas 

With the rising cost of living and with a stagnant minimum wage, many Americans need assistance to get by. If you need assistance, you need not worry. Luckily, there are many programs and organizations aimed at providing help.

Click here HelpwithPaying Bills website.

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Heather does a great job posting the latest news and events for MVPN in the Galveston Area

https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryVeteranPeerNetworkGC/timeline

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Emergency Financial Help Services for Military Families

Whether it’s due to a service-related injury, an unexpected family emergency, or unforeseen medical expenses, financial emergencies can challenge even the strongest and most prepared members of our military. Sometimes we have to ask for help when our finances take a huge hit or turn for the worst.

Luckily, there are some amazing financial aid and relief organizations who provide emergency financial help and services to qualifying members of the armed forces and their immediate family members.

If you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to pay your mortgage, pay for a funeral, fix your only car, or cover the costs of emergency travel, turn to the organizations listed in the link below. Their primary purpose and functions are to help those who need emergency financial help.

TheMilitaryWallet.com

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Veteran Service organizations for Benefits, Claims Assistance, Career Guidance, and More

Making the transition from the military world back to the civilian world is a difficult task. The problem is compounded if you are a still recovering from combat, recuperating from wounds, moving to a new location, transitioning with a family to take care of, and many other factors. The good news is there are dozens of agencies and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that were created to help veterans and their families, or their survivors.

Many of these organizations offer veterans a variety of services, including VA disability benefits claims assistance, education and job training, job fairs, resume writing services, financial grants, opportunities to participate in community service projects, and more. In most cases, these services are free. The best part is you get to tap into the experience and expertise of service officers who have been there, done that, walk the walk, talk the talk, and know how and where to get help. If these organizations in the link below can’t help you, they can certainly put you into contact with someone who can.

Veteran Service Organizations

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How to apply for the Qualified METRO Veteran's Pass

Beginning April 11, 2016, METRO launched a six-month pilot program designed to provide qualified U.S. military veterans with unlimited local bus, Park & Ride and METRORail service for FREE.

How to apply:
1. Pick up an application at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Houston Regional Benefit Office) 6900 Almeda Road, Houston, Texas 77030, or download it at RideMETRO.org.
2. Bring your completed application and a valid government-issued photo ID (ex: State Driver's License) to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Houston Regional Benefit Office) for verification.
3. Submit your original application or a color copy one of three ways: online, by mail or in person at the METRO RideStore.

Applications are also available for download at RideMetro.org.
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American Heroes Learn to Ride Free

To thank the millions of people who have courageously defended our country, guarded our safety, and helped protect everyone’s personal freedom to ride, Harley-Davidson is offering a free Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy New Rider Course for all current and former U.S. military personnel and first responders (law enforcement, fire, and EMS). You can register now and sign up to take an eligible course January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016.*

Announcement
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A Veteran's Guide to Job Hunting in the Civilian World

As a veteran, making the transition from a military to civilian job can be a daunting task.  When looking to obtain a civilian job after years of working under military structure, you may have questions about how to create a resume, search for a job or apply and interview for a position. All it takes is a plan and some knowledge of how to best present yourself and your experience to your potential employer.

MoneyGeek.com has created a guide that will help walk you through the details needed to translate what you have accomplished into the right civilian job for you.

To view the guide, please visit here.

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How do I get a copy of my DD-214

Veterans receive discharge paperwork that summarizes their service time. This piece of paper is gold, and it must be treated as such by the person who holds it. For whatever reasons, sometimes Veterans lose or can't find this paperwork. We understand that things happen, but it can't be emphasized enough how important it is to safeguard this paperwork. Now, if you find yourself missing your DD-214, there are only three places I know to get a copy; 1) your former command, 2) the VA if you've already established benefits there, or 3) National Archives. The first option is only an option if the Veteran recently separated. If it's been a few years, this is no longer an option. The VA is an option only if the Veteran has already established benefits. Check with the regional office for a copy. The final option, National Archives, is an option in all cases. Every DD-214 for every Veteran ends up in the archives. It is easy to request a copy online. For details, check their website: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/.

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MoneyGeek.com recently published a student financial aid guide for military veterans, which includes a list of scholarships offered to veterans and their family members and an interactive map tool to help veterans find schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon benefit program.


To view the financial aid guide, please visit here.

Visit www.mae-kmi.com to view a searchable database, access and review all of the survey answers from all of the participating institutions, and see all the information for Military Advanced Education & Transition's used in evaluating submissions. There are a variety of search functions that allow you to filter and sort schools based on your needs. This tool is invaluable for comparing and contrasting the schools and learning what makes each unique.
Free Veteran Training for Work In Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industries


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Sesame Street for Military Families

Sesame Street has just launched its newest project, Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions. The initiative was developed for veteran families or those who are currently transitioning out of the military-because we know that when a parent or caregiver transitions, the whole family transitions, too. The website features tips and activities for families, keepsake activity book, interactive videos, and the option to sign up for e-newsletters on a bi-weekly basis.

Please visit the website here.
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Free Training for Work In Petrochem

A group of community colleges have come together to train long-term unemployed or underemployed workers through a grant. 

The training would prepare you for a career that falls under the High-Skill, High-Growth jobs targeted by the Gulf Coast Workforce Board.  Each college is partnering with local industry employers that are offering internships or straight employment.  Our goal is to link the two through job readiness seminars and job fairs to the participants of this grant.

Schedule and eligibility requirements

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FREE Uber Rides For Vets

Over the coming year, Uber will contribute an estimated 10,000 rides — a value of $125,000 — across five veterans organizations affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program to provide on-demand transportation to jobs, interviews, and other employment events.

Click here for details

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Orchard Park in Victory Lakes in League City, has a FREE Veteran's Breakfast on the second Tuesday of each month.  Please RSVP by the first Monday.  Breakfast begins at 8:30.  RSVP by calling 281-369-4404
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The Gulf Coast Center in Galveston operates a low cost transportation program known as Connect Transit. Destinations include, but are not limited to, medical facilities on Galveston Island as well as the Veteran's Hospital in Harris County. Services are shared ride services with pickup and delivery from curb to curb in Galveston and Brazoria County.  Reservations are required and all rides are subject to availability.  For more information on how to obtain this service, cost, and other routes offered, click here.
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The Mission Continues empowers veterans adjusting to life at home to find new missions. They redeploy veterans so that their shared legacy will be one of action and service. The Mission Continues has helped thousands of post-9/11 veterans transition successfully by focusing their talents and energy on tackling challenges here at our home front.  The Mission Continues has four Platoons in Houston.  The Houston 4th Service Platoon is now forming and will support Texas City in April 2015.  Click the above link for information on how to join that platoon. 
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Texas offers a VETERAN designation printed on the face of driver licenses and identification cards for Honorably discharged veterans.  Take your DD214 to the DPS office when applying for an original/renewal driver license or when making a change to your drivers license.    In addition, as a Veteran you can choose from several different Texas Specialty plates to commemorate your branch of service, campaign or medal received.  The license plate is free with presentation of DD214.  Plates to choose from can be viewed on the Texas DPS site.
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Rebuilding Together Houston  This organization in Houston provides free home repairs for low-income, very low-income and/or disabled veterans in Harris County.  This program is supported by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans Assistance. Call the phone number on the flyer for more information.
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The Vet Center provides outreach counseling services outside of the VA medical centers.  Parking is in front of the door and walk-ins are welcome. Hours are M-F, 8-4:30pm. Evening and weekend hours are available.
Services provided include:
  • Social Services
  • Psychotherapy (Individiual, Group, Family)
  • Outreach and Networking
  • Veterans Benefits Counseling
  • Assistance in filing for compensation for disability related to the military
  • Bereavement Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Community Education
  • Referrals for basic needs, shelter, financial assistance
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Free Tolls with EZ Tag for Eligible Veterans  Per Texas Transportation Code § 372.053, eligibility is limited to vehicles which are:
1. registered with the State of Texas and 2. displaying the qualifying specialty license plate for any of the following:
  • Disabled Veterans
  • Purple Heart recipients
  • Medal of Honor recipients
  • Legion of Valor recipients
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Free parking will be offered at Port of Galveston upon arrival to Disabled Vets & Purple Heart Recipients with a picture ID and valid documentation from the U.S. government stating that they are a disabled military veteran or Purple Heart recipient. Acceptable forms of proof are:
Identification must be presented at the time of arrival. No refunds will be issued after the fact.

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Do you want to be in charge of your own future and be your own boss? Do you enjoy working outside?

Stonemakers Academy can help you easily attain these goals.  Stonemakers has developed innovative ways to build and install water features, retaining walls, fire pits and outdoor living areas in half the time as traditional methods.  There is no cost to go through training for qualified veterans and Stonemakers provides a grant to cover lodging and travel expenses for each new independent contractor.  Once licensed and certified you can install Stonemakers outdoor living features anywhere in the country.  Our next training starts MAY 26th-JUNE 3rd.  Training in Galveston, Houston and other locations in Texas.

To learn more call: mark E. Spear 603-556-7670
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Texas Veteran Commission Directory

The 2017  Texas Veterans Commission Directory includes Government Agencies, Veterans Organizations, and organizational  assistance for the SMVF Community (Service Member, Veteran or family member of a veteran). This directory is a wealth of information. Please take advantage of this information and spread to others that could find it helpful and useful.
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Free National Park Annual Pass for Current US Military and Their Dependents
  • Available to Current US military members and the dependents of deployed military in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the Current US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173).
  • Obtained in person at Federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.
  • Covers entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites that charge Entrance Fees, and Standard Amenity Fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites.
  • Admits the pass owners and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, or the pass owner and up to additional 3 adults at sites that charge per person.
  • Non-transferable
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Free Job Training For Texas Veterans

Earlier this year the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) partnered with local community colleges across the state to administer a grant program called the Veteran & Industry Partnership (VIP) that provided free training and job-placement assistance for qualified Texas Veterans. The TWC dedicated training dollars from the state’s Skills Development Fund to focus specifically on training Veterans in parts of the state where demand is high for occupations in three targeted industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology (IT) and Petrochemical Industry Infrastructure Build-Out.

Training will be provided on an accelerated basis, with a focus on immediate job placement of the trainee upon completion. All courses are non-credit, continuing education courses.

There is no cost for qualified Veterans to participate in this program. The grant will pay for tuition and books. Veterans who are Texas residents and have anything other than a dishonorable discharge are eligible for the Veteran & Industry Partnership program. For more information please visit the TWC VIP website.
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San Jacinto College has Training Grant Money For Veterans

Pipefitting I - This course  provides an overview of the trade, hand and power tools and the proper and safe operation of machines used in pipe joint preparation:  pipe threaders, power drives and pipe bevelers.

Pipefitting II - Students will learn to explain the procedures of identifying and installing valves, piping systems, drawing and detail sheets, pipefitting trade math, threaded pipe fabrication, and excavations.

Electrical I - Course introduces the student to the trade, including safe work practices, electrical components, calculations, voltage, current, resistance, characteristics of series and parallel circuits, bending and installing conduit

Electrical II - introduces the student to alternating current, motors, lamps and lighting fixtures, conduit bending and junction boxes.  Also included is an introduction to the tools, materials, and techniques used in conductor installations, including Trays and terminations.

 Core Curriculum - Intro to Craft Skills - Covers Basic Safety, Construction Math, Use of Hand and Power Tools, Read Construction Drawings, and Communication Skills.*

* Core Curriculum Class required for all craft area courses

Contact:
Nancy Martin, Training Coordinator
San Jacinto College-Central Campus
281-542-2026  nancy.martin@sjcd.edu


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VHA has Extended Eligibility for Health Care for Combat Theater Veterans
Veterans who were discharged or released from the active military, naval, or air service after January 1, 2009, and before January 1, 2011, but did not enroll to receive hospital care, medical services, or nursing home care during the five-year period described above, have an additional one-year period starting from February 12, 2015, within which to apply for enrollment as a combat-theater Veteran. All combat-theater Veterans described above will be enrolled in Priority Group 6 (unless a higher priority group applies).

VHA Directive 1606

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FREE Training for Veterans in Electrical and Welding
FREE Welding and Electrical training at HCC. No cost to Veterans including tuition, fees, books and tools in Welding I and Electrical I and II. Training will last approximately 12 weeks at a total of 160 hours. The process to determine if a Veteran will qualify is to first contact Anthony at 713.718.8932/8903 or Anthony.lopez2@hccs.edu  and visit HCC Veteran of Affairs Office for addition information.
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Vets May Get Fast Track to CDLs
The Military Skills Test Waiver program allows state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the ability to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving this requirement often expedites the civilian CDL application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies. The Military Skills Test Waiver program has resulted in approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtaining a CDL. These include military men and women from the Reserves, National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information and application forms, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/military.

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Technology Skills Training  Microsoft is proud to help veterans and their spouses successfully transition from the military to civilian employment. Through Microsoft’s investments of more than $12 million in cash, software and related support, veterans and their eligible spouses can take advantage of resources including: technology skills training and certification, job placement, career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation and housing to help in their successful transition to civilian life.
  • Learn about a no-cost voucher for technology skills training and certification
  • Find resources to help you transition to civilian life through our nonprofit partnerships
  • Explore additional no-cost and low-cost resources from Microsoft to support your training and job readiness needs
  • See how your military occupational code translates to jobs available at Microsoft today

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A FREE home to select Veterans and Widows

Our Galveston County, state and federal folks are already signing up veterans who lived in their homes when Hurricane Ike came ashore and suffered damages.  In fact, they are looking for more than 50 veterans or their widows who meet certain criteria for a FREE home to be selected by you and built
where your home is now.  I know of several who are already getting totally free homes soon, and you should find out more about the program and sign up.  Frank Furliegh, our Veterans County Service Officer can direct your calls, and most veteran posts have the info for you.....once in a lifetime opportunity.
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Funds available to assist (OIF/OEF) VETS with (TWIC) and other Supportive Services required to obtain employment.

The Career Development Initiative’s Houston services are a no cost recruiting resource. (OIF/OEF) VETS needing assistance with obtaining a TWIC Card can contact Randy.

Randy Rubio, M.A
rrubio@usvetsinc.org
832-390-3617
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