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Borne the Battle

Borne the Battle recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our Veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits VA offers our Veterans.
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Borne the Battle
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Dec 5, 2018

Every once in a while I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that someone famous is a Veteran. A couple months ago, a story came out about William Daniels when he fended off an intruder in his house. When I saw his age, I wondered if he served in World War II. Sure enough, I learned that he spent a couple years in Italy shortly after the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. So, naturally, I wanted to speak to him about his service and invited him to join me on Borne the Battle.

Many of you probably recognize him as the voice of KITT on Knight Rider, Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, and, the role he's most commonly recognized for, Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.

Mr. Daniels and his wife Bonnie joined me for a short phone interview to share his experiences as a drafted soldier in World War II, using the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University, being a recognized actor, and how important his relationship with Bonnie has been through it all.

Nov 28, 2018

To round of National Caregivers Month, we feature Sarah Verardo. Sarah is the CEO of Independence Fund and a caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. Sarah also authored the children's book, Hero at Home.

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through our Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

Sarah also recently announced Independence Fund's new program, Operation Resiliency. The program will team with VA to host suicide prevention reunion retreats with the Veterans of high suicide rate military units.

Sarah joins this week's podcast to discuss her experience as her husband's caregiver and her efforts at Independence Fund.

Nov 23, 2018

Today's podcast features a Veteran spotlighted by NCA's Veterans Legacy Program.

Kenneth Holliday, who joined us on episode 106, joins us today for the unofficial debut of Veterans Legacy Program podcast. Today, he tells us about Terrence Halligan.

Terence Patrick Halligan was born in Northern Ireland on April 3, 1922. He is an Army Air Corps Veteran of World War II. During a combat mission over Italy, his plane was shot down and Halligan was never found.

Visit cem.va.gov/legacy for more or follow @VANatCemeteries on Twitter.

Nov 21, 2018

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Borne the Battle - and, more importantly, its host - decided to take a short break from production. It's been a month since our last episode was published, but I was still recording interviews in that span of time. A couple of the interviews I did were with caregivers. With November being National Caregivers Month, and with this week being Thanksgiving, I decided to bring the podcast back to full form with two episodes featuring caregivers. Not only to spotlight their efforts, but to show our gratitude for the role they play in Veterans' lives.

First up is Liz Rotenberry. Liz joined me at VA Central Office after the Elizabeth Dole Foundation showed interest in collaborating on a podcast. I didn't know much about Liz before we started the interview, but by the end of it I felt I had just recorded one of the more valuable interviews in the podcast's two year history.

Liz, is a military caregiver for her husband, a Marine Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom & Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Alumna, Liz works to advocate not only for herself and her family, but for all Military and Veteran Caregivers. Liz joined the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as their Caregiver Community Program Coordinator and is now the Foundation’s Fellows Program Coordinator.

Prior to becoming a military caregiver, Liz graduated from the University of Delaware with a BAS in Art and Art History. Liz worked in the architectural field as a designer for schools, medical, offices to government and military facilities, including the test sites on Proving Grounds in Arizona. The work Liz experienced with the Proving Grounds in Arizona provided an eye opening experience to what our Military train for in real life theater every day. Liz is honored to have been a part of the training and implementation of the Joint Experimentation Range Complex. It is important for Liz to represent not only the Veteran but especially the Caregiver.

Liz and I talk about being a military spouse during her husband's service and how she experienced transition when her husband separated from the military. That, plus plenty of insight on her role as a caregiver.

Oct 10, 2018

After a short break, Borne the Battle is back. This week we bring on Marine Veteran Elliott McKenzie.

After returning home from a deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, Elliott started showing signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By 2008, his symptoms were spiraling out of control. He had severe anger, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hyper awareness. It was severely affecting his life and the lives of those around him. By 2009, his PTSD was so bad that he ended up homeless. After sleeping in his car for a period of time, he applied to a veteran's homeless facility in Long Beach, CA.

Elliott soon after got connected with VA and began his long road to recovery. That road to recovery included creating music, which he used as a coping mechanism and as a way to express himself.

He joins us on this week's podcast to discuss his time in the Marines, the difficulties of his transition, and how his music career has been so powerful in his recovery.

Sep 19, 2018

September means back to school, even for Veterans. Being a student Veteran on campus is a unique experience. Student Veterans are typically older than traditional students, they have more life experience, and they can even have families at home. One resource available for student Veterans on campus is student Veterans group, often an official club with officials and board members. These groups can be great places for Veterans to gain friends, have a community, and get connected with more resources on campus.

This week's podcast celebrates going back to school. Our three panelists discuss their experiences and what they've learned as best practices for Veterans themselves and the clubs they're a part of.

I'm joined by the President of Student Veterans of America, Jared Lyon, the president of Mason Veteran Patriots at George Mason University, EJ Delpero, and last year's Student Veteran of the Year Finalist, Kirsten Battocchio. EJ and Kirsten bring their own perspectives and Jared compliments with SVA's guidance and insight.

Aug 29, 2018
About 30 episodes ago, we spoke with Michael Haynie, the Founder & Executive Director for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families. This episode, we hear from Mike's colleague, James McDonough, managing director of programs and services for IVMF.
 
James tells us about his service in the Army, a great leader he served under, and the decision to begin transition out of the military so he could care for family. Then, we learn about two powerful programs worked on at IVMF: AmericaServes and Onward to Opportunity. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve Veterans, transitioning service-members, and their families. Onward to Opportunity is a free, comprehensive career training, certification and employment program designed to launch you into your next career with over 30 industry-recognized career tracks and courses.
 
IVMF is a highly respected organization in the Veteran community, and James does a great job adding on to what we originally learned from Mike. Enjoy!
Aug 22, 2018

Music is a great way to communicate one's feelings and cope with experiences. Veterans have been using music in these same ways as a way to come to terms with some feelings they have and to tell their audience their story.

Petey Ace is a Marine Corps Veteran and a hip hop artists based out of Los Angeles. He joins Borne the Battle to talk about a recent song he did to express those feelings, and how he has joined a group of Veterans that are using basic camaraderie to reconnect with fellow Veterans. We also talk about his time in the Marine Corps and his thoughts on fatherhood.

 

Aug 1, 2018

Back in December of 2016, we featured Army Veteran Blayne Smith on the podcast. At the time, he was Executive Director of Team RWB. That was episode 11. He has since moved on to the GORUCK team, and here on episode 115, we are featuring he successor, and good friend, JJ Pinter. JJ is also an Army Veteran who joined shortly before September 11.

JJ will share his story of military service and tell us about the wonderful soldiers he served with, but the real value in this interview comes from his insight as Team RWB's second official employee. He's been with Team RWB for quite some time and in the Veteran space even longer. He shares his perspective on serving Veterans' post-military needs, measuring the impact his organization is making on Veteran, how his staff focuses on their mission, and other valuable thoughts that only someone in his position can have.

About JJ:

JJ Pinter is the Executive Director of Team Red, White, and Blue. As Team RWB’s 2nd employee, he has played a key role the development, growth, and operation of the organization. JJ works closely with board members, staff, and volunteer leaders to ensure the delivery of excellent programs that deliver impact. He provides strategic guidance in addition to building and managing critical partnerships.

JJ is a West Point graduate and combat veteran, serving as a Field Artillery officer. After his military service, he held both leadership and analytical positions in the construction, defense and medical industries. He currently resides outside Louisville, KY with his wife and 3 kids, where he loves to coach youth sports and be outdoors with his family.

 

Jul 24, 2018

I've been podcasting for more than five years. I look forward to each interview, because I love hearing new perspectives and unique stories of life and service. There are some interviews that truly get me excited, like this week's with Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins. Bennie was in Washington, D.C. for the MLB All Star Game and to do some media for his new book A Tiger Among Us. While he was in town, he swung by VA Central Office for an interview to be featured on Borne the Battle.

Bennie's Medal of Honor citation has more action in it than most war movies. He was in battle for 38 hours and was escaping for another 48. In that time frame, he sustained 18 wounds. He fought the North Vietnamese with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades. There is no type of Veteran that deserves the designation "hero" more than patriots like Bennie Adkins.

Bennie talks to us about joining the military after leaving college, the days in Vietnam that led to his award, and the importance of taking care of Veterans after their tour of duty.

 

Jul 18, 2018

I met Dan Cnossen on the red carpet at the Team USA awards back in April. I spoke to him about the opportunity to represent the United States in a different uniform and his experience with adaptive sports. Hour later, he was named 2018 Male Paralympic Athlete of the Games.

Dan was nice enough to agree to a podcast interview, and connected with me a few weeks ago to record. We talked about everything from his time in the Navy to accepting that his injury meant leaving the service to becoming a gold medalist.

About Dan:

Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen was serving as the platoon commander for SEAL Team One in Afghanistan in September 2009 when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) and was wounded in the explosion. The accident caused Cnossen to lose both his legs just above the knee. Cnossen went through rehabilitation, first at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, and later at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he learned to walk with his new prosthetics. Cnossen was awarded both a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat.

Jul 11, 2018

A five-member mountaineering team of U.S. military, Veterans, and a physician from non-profit U.S. Expeditions and Explorations (USX) summited North America’s highest peak, Denali, Alaska, during a scientific research expedition to benefit the study of high altitude cardiology, May 14 to June 5, 2018.

USX is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enables the military and Veteran communities to impact STEM fields by conducting adventurous, scientific research across the globe. During USX’s Denali expedition, its team members wore Cardiac Insight, Inc.’s Cardea SOLO™ wireless electrocardiogram sensors to capture cardiology data and detect cardiac arrhythmias at high altitude.

One of the members of the mountaineering team that went up Denali was Army Veteran Adam Storck. He is Head of Devices for M-KOPA Solar, overseeing new product development, delivery, and testing. Storck is from Seattle and resides in London and Nairobi, Kenya. He is a graduate of Garfield High School, Seattle (2005), UNC-Chapel Hill (2009), and Oxford University (2016). Adam is also a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (2010-2011, 2013).

Adam joins Borne the Battle to talk about his experience climbing to the summit of Denali and the incredible work he is doing in Nairobi. He is another example of how Veterans go on to do amazing things following their military service.

Jul 2, 2018

Drinking can be a concern for many people. Veterans can fall into behavior of using alcohol to cope with emotional distress following a deployment or transition out of the military. For some, the volume drinking turns from moderate to heavy, and the body starts to show signs of wear.

VA created VetChange to help Veterans monitor their drinking and take control. VetChange is a free, confidential online program to help Veterans cut back or stop drinking, and learn to manage PTSD symptoms without using alcohol. Based on scientific research, VetChange helps you build skills to better manage your drinking and other problems Veterans can experience after deployment, including symptoms of PTSD. Set your own goals. Learn at your own pace. Check your own progress over time and adjust your personal plan for change — with VetChange, you're in the driver's seat.

Monica Roy, who is the Program Manager for Substance Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program and Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at VA Boston Healthcare System's Jamaica Plain Campus. She served as a subject matter expert for the development of the VetChange App. She joins us on this episode to explain how VetChange came to be and how it benefits Veterans.

Jun 27, 2018

When I was visiting my then-girlfriend in Columbus a few years ago, we realized her apartment complex was not outfitted to accommodate a wheelchair. There was handicap parking, but unless you were on the ground floor, that person would not be able to access your apartment. That realization made me notice more instances of this in our communities, and I've become sympathetic to the challenges that brings to persons in wheelchairs.

I've also seen the technology that has improved the lives of those with permanent injuries. Rory Cooper was on the podcast a while back talking about his research and the breakthroughs he's making. Pictures from a recent golf event showed paralyzed Veterans using a chair that helped them stand upright so they could properly swing a golf club.

So, we have a society that's still behind on accommodations, and we have technology that is making breakthroughs for the people it serves. Where does that put us overall and what is the experience of injured Veterans when looking through those two lenses? I sat down with David Zurfluh, the National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. David talks to us about his time in the Air Force, his accident and injury, the evolution of accommodations, and how his organization serves Veterans.

Jun 21, 2018

Education is one of the most valuable things a person can have. Following World War II, the original GI Bill helped provide Veterans returning from war the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Since its inception, the GI Bill has gone through a few iterations, including the most recent Post 9/11 GI Bill receiving the Forever GI Bill enhancement.

The GI Bill celebrates its 74th anniversary this month. To join the celebration of this wonderful benefit's 75th year, I invited a couple members of Student Veterans of America to join me in a discussion of the history of the GI Bill, its evolution, and its latest iteration. With me for this week's episode is Marine Veteran Barrett Bogue, SVA's Vice President for Public Relations and Public Engagement and Army Veteran Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs. Both of them have experience working in higher education and had a close view of what it took to pass the Forever GI Bill.

Jun 13, 2018

One of my favorite parts of podcasting in the Veteran space is learning about what Veterans are doing in their communities and their industries. This week we hear from Army Veteran Sally Roberts, founder of Wrestle Like a Girl.

Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a 3-time national champion, 2003 World Cup Champion, 2003 & 2005 World Bronze Medalist and a 2008 Olympic Alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. She was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions.

Sally joins the podcast to share her experience in the Army and her efforts with Wrestle Like a Girl, advocating for girls and women across the United States to be afforded opportunities to participate in wrestling.

Jun 6, 2018

A couple weeks ago, GORUCK hosted an event in Washington D.C. called the Star Course 50-Miler. More than 700 participants wondered around Washington visiting way-points in attempt to walk 50 miles in 20 hours. The idea originates from an executive order handed down by Teddy Roosevelt to his military. Hours before the event, Jason and Emily McCarthy, CEO and Chief of Staff of GORUCK, swung by VA's central office to record a podcast with me.

GORUCK is a company that makes rucksacks and hosts events for community rucking led by a cadre of special forces experts. Rucking is the activity of walking with weight on your back. In this week's podcast, the married couple share Jason's experience as Army special forces, Emily's experience as a military spouse, their separation, their re-connection, and how all of that led to the creation of GORUCK. 

May 30, 2018

Continuing the theme of memorializing those that have served our country and passed, we're going to talk more about the Veterans Legacy Program. Last week, Bryce Carpenter laid the ground work last week by explaining the creation and development of the program, as well as the impact it has as an educational tool. This week we talk with Kenneth Holliday, who works with the Veterans Legacy Program at the National Cemetery Administration. He is also a proud Army Veteran, having served in the Infantry with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ken shares his experience of service, his transition out, how he first got involved with the Veterans Legacy Program, and how his experience has been with the program since joining VA. He also shares some unique stories that he's discovered through his research, as well as some of the challenges that come with creating content for Veterans who have passed.

May 28, 2018

I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day. However you recognize the holiday, I hope you take a moment to remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

In theme with Memorial Day, we'll be looking at the Veterans Legacy Program on this week's podcasts.

The Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) is National Cemetery's Administration's educational outreach initiative. Their mission is to memorialize our nation's Veterans through sharing their stories of service and sacrifice. They partner with universities, schools, teachers, professors, and students of all levels to research Veterans interred in NCA cemeteries and how they contributed to their country as service members, and how they contributed to their community as Veterans.

First, on a Benefits Breakdown edition of the show, I bring on Bryce Carpenter, Educational Outreach Programs Manager for NCA and a proud Army veteran. Bryce will tell us about the inception of the program, the value it brings to our community, how schools are using it for education, and how it has impacted him as a Veteran.

May 23, 2018

Hopefully, you watched our panel discussion on mental health or listened to the audio on Monday's podcast. Today's episode is an extension of that conversation. Coming out of that YouTube Live event, there were a number of things I wanted to ask that just didn't fit into our program. So, the following day, I met with Dr. Wendy Tenhula to learn more about her role at VA, the progress we've seen in Veterans seeking treatment for mental health issues, and the value Make the Connection has for our Veterans who want to learn more.

 

May 21, 2018

May is Mental Health Month and one of VA's leading resources for mental health, Make the Connection, kicked off the month with a YouTube Live event. The event was a panel discussion about Veterans and mental health.

I was honored to host the event, and was joined by Marine Veteran Moses Maddox and Dr. Wendy Tenhula, VA’s Director of Innovation and Collaboration for the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

I decided to pull the audio from the event and include it on a Benefits Breakdown episode. Moses shares a lot about getting treatment at VA and Dr. Tenhula explains how Veterans can use services at VA for information and mental health care. As a group, we went in-depth on the importance of mental health care and how Veterans and their family members can be prepared to respond to a disconcerting situation.

May 16, 2018

Tele-health has been a priority at VA and we've made great strides in the care we can offer Veterans. From video conferencing between physician and patient to our mobile app "Annie." I've personally used mobile apps and digital platforms to connect with my therapist. The convenience helps preserve the valuable resource of time and the comfort allows patients to receive the care they need with less stress on their daily lives. VA's efforts in using technology to reach and care for Veterans has been grouped under our Office of Connected Care.

The Office of Connected Care focuses on improving health care through technology by engaging Veterans and care teams outside of traditional health care visits. By bringing together VA digital health technologies under one umbrella, the Office of Connected Care is enhancing health care coordination across VA and supporting Veterans’ participation in their own care.

This week I talk with Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, Director of Clinical Innovations and Education, VHA Connected Care. She shares her time in the military, becoming a doctor, and how VA is using technology to care for Veterans at a distance. We'll cover My HealtheVet, VA Telehealth Services, VA Mobile, and more.

May 11, 2018

We're wrapping up Public Service Recognition Week and I think a nice bookend to the week is to talk with someone that serves Veterans through his public service. Raymond Kaloplastos is known as "Ray from VA" around his community in San Antonio. I spoke with him at the Student Veterans of America National Convention back in January. He was there with a mobile Vet Center to provide any counseling services Veterans may need while attending the event.

Ray is an Army Veteran and will talk to us about his lengthy time in service, his retirement, how he got started with VA and the value that Mobile Vet Centers bring our communities, including disaster response.

May 9, 2018

This is a big milestone for us. 100 episodes of Borne the Battle. We've spoken to Veterans from all branches (even one Coast Guard Veteran) and learned about so many industries. The stories have been interesting and learning about their current vocations has been inspiring.

Episode 100 is going to feature Bruce Silverglade, an Army Veteran that served during the Vietnam War. We'll learn about his service, his transition, how he became owner of Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, and about a cool program he started that allows Veterans to train at his gym for free. Then, we'll hear from other characters involved in this program including the VA employee that helped organize it, the trainer that works with these Veterans, and the Veterans that are benefiting from such a unique program.

To see and learn more about this program, check out our YouTube for a video we recently produced for the latest episode of The American Veteran, showing these Veterans in action at Gleason's Gym.

May 7, 2018

VA is very active in addressing and attempting to prevent Veteran homelessness. We hold a "no wrong door" policy, which allows Veterans to touch base with any point of contact at VA with confidence they will be guided to our resources and services to assist them. The longer I work here, and the more I speak with fellow employees, the more I realize this matter is important to everyone here, whether or not they're directly involved.

In December, I brought on my colleague to discuss VA's approach to communicating homeless resources to Veterans and their communities. This week, I speak with Anthony Love, Director of Community Engagement for VHA's Homeless Programs. He and I discuss how VA delivers these resources, benefits, and services to Veterans that are homeless or at-risk for homelessness. Anthony helps us understand what it means to be at-risk for homelessness and how communities are ending Veteran homelessness.

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