veterans

Tiffany Thornsberry/Veteran’s Club Inc.

A veteran's organization that began in Kentucky as a social group to decrease the isolation that can lead to suicide will be in the national spotlight this Veteran's Day. 

Veteran's Club Inc. has grown to 6,000 members in several states and is being featured in the History Channel special Salute to Service.

Shelbyville resident Jeremy Harrell, 40, was in the U.S. Army for nine years and served in Iraq. When he returned to Kentucky, he found himself going to veterans’ groups in other states. 

He founded the Veteran’s Club in 2017 to support  and encourage veterans who may be confronting common issues related to PTSD, the return to civilian life, and the loss of camaraderie found in the military.

Honor Flight Bluegrass

Some of Kentucky’s last remaining World War II veterans will do some reminiscing in the skies this weekend. 

The non-profit Honor Flight Bluegrass is bringing a B-25 Bomber to Paducah, Somerset, Morehead, Leitchfield, and Frankfort.

The plane was built in 1944 and is owned by the Commemorative Air Force out of St. Louis.

The Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund is sponsoring the flights at no cost to 35 veterans, the oldest being 103.

Jeff Thoke, board chairman for Honor Flight Bluegrass based in Louisville, says Kentucky only has about 2,000 living WWII veterans.

Jeff Young | Ohio Valley ReSource

On Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear delivered his daily briefing on coronavirus, which is surging across the Ohio Valley. Eleven more Kentuckians had died that day. Then the governor provided an update on an especially worrisome outbreak at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center near Lexington, one of four long-term care facilities dedicated to veterans in the state. Since the virus hit the facility in October, he said, 22 veterans have died there.

Beshear said Thomson-Hood staff managed to keep the virus at bay for almost seven months, but community spread has made it almost impossible to prevent the virus from getting into long-term care facilities. 

 


Courtesy of Steve Meyers

A retired U.S. Army veteran working to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is bringing his message to Fort Knox on Friday.

Sergeant First Class Stephen Meyers is walking across the country as part of a campaign to alert the public to mental health issues facing veterans and many others.

His speech with Fort Knox coincides as the U.S. Army Human Resources Command is stepping up efforts to promote physical and mental well-being through it's "Risk Reduction Program." That effort is an ongoing year-long campaign taking a prevention-focused approach to issues like PTSD and subsquent dangers, like suicide.

Ryland Barton

Long-awaited construction of a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green has taken another step forward. 

Governor Andy Beshear signed HB24 on Tuesday that appropriates $2.5 million for pre-construction on the nursing home. 

The General Assembly approved $10.5 million in state bonds in 2017 to fund the project. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has committed $19.5 million, but the design work must be completed before the state can receive the federal funding.  In a news conference at the state Capitol, Beshear said signing the bill was a way to show appreciation for veterans and their sacrifice.


LRC Public Information

A measure is moving through the Kentucky legislature that would provide the necessary funding to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green.

The Kentucky House of Representatives will vote on Monday on HB 24, sponsored by State Rep. Michael Meredith.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee  passed the bill last week that puts $2.5 million toward design work.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin says he will push to stop taxing the retirement income of veterans during next year’s legislative session if he’s reelected.

Bevin said he would include the proposal in a larger tax reform initiative while lawmakers are hammering out a two-year budget plan next year.

Bevin made the comments at a campaign event in Louisville surrounded by a group of veterans supporting his reelection.

 


KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration hired a physician to lead the state’s infectious disease office just months after the Department of Veterans Affairs dismissed that doctor for “egregious” medical misconduct.

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services hired Dr. John “Mel” Bennett in the same month that the VA’s Inspector General published a report highly critical of Bennett’s actions.

The VA’s IG report found that between Oct. 1, 2015, and Dec. 27, 2017, Bennett repeatedly entered the same blood pressure reading of 128/78 in order to bypass a clinical alert system. The alert required the doctor to enter additional information that involved follow-up work with the patients, such as blood tests and changes in medication.


legislative.ky.gov

A new pre-filed bill in Kentucky would allow veteran-owned nonprofits to waive some startup fees. The legislation would amend the existing Boots to Business program to include veteran-owned nonprofits. 

Through the program, new businesses that are majority-owned by a military veteran or an active-service member are eligible for fee waivers for the initial business filing, as well as the annual report filing over the next four years of business. 

 

Senator Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown filed the bill last year, where it passed the Senate but didn’t make it through the House. He said he’ll try again during the 2020 General Assembly. 


J. Tyler Franklin

During a speech in Louisville Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he will sign an order forgiving federal student loan debt for permanently and totally disabled veterans.

“Today I’m proud to announce that I’m taking executive action to ensure our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt,” Trump said. “In a few moments, I will sign a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled.”

Ryan Van Velzer

Out on the street outside the Galt House Hotel where President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon, you can hear the cicadas chirping and an acoustic guitar strumming. There’s a man grilling hot dogs in a Trump hat. Protesters holding baby Trump balloons. Trump supporters in American flag regalia. Bored TV reporters.

Trump will address the 75th American Veterans National Convention Wednesday. But before Trump’s arrival, a crowd of protesters gathered nearby. They were chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.” Calls of “Ditch Mitch” and “This is what democracy looks like” could also be heard.

Beshear Outlines Policies For Veteran Health Care

Jul 18, 2019
Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing to Kentucky veterans with a set of health-related programs and policies he’d work toward if elected governor in November.

“We have a special duty to our veterans whose health care needs so often come from the sacrifice that they have made for our country,” Beshear said, adding that he wants to address some of the biggest challenges of vets.

“Our health care plan is designed to make sure that we can provide the services we need to stop those suicides, to stop that substance abuse. And to truly be there for our veterans.”

Lisa Autry

Monday is Memorial Day, a time when the nation will pause to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military. More than four decades after the Vietnam War, some veterans in Kentucky and elsewhere say the conflict is still claiming casualties. 

“This guy here, he and I were on the same team in Vietnam, said Hardin County veteran Denzil Lile. "That’s Billy Smith, he was the first one to get killed from Metcalfe County. Me and him was drafted on the same day.”

Denzil Lile looked through a scrapbook at the kitchen table in his apartment in Elizabethtown.  There's one of him with a black Labrador Retriever.

Becca Schimmel

Western Kentucky University held its annual Veterans Day ceremony Friday morning, and unveiled a new panel of granite etchings to be added to the Guthrie Bell Bell Tower in the middle of campus.

The tower, which was dedicated in 2002, contains etchings that depict WKU alumni who served in the military.

Bowling Green resident Chip Hightower came to see the unveiling of the new panel which includes an etching of his father, Ret. Army Lt. Col. and Vietnam War veteran Ken Hightower.

Your kid can grow up, even join the Army and go to war, and you'll still do dad things when he comes back. David Toombs would make his son lunch.

"I always made him extra, just in case he got hungry or he wanted a snack or he was running low on money. So I made his lunch like a typical dad," says Toombs.

Toombs worked right next to his son, John, at a steel die shop in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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