When I first conceptualized VA's podcast, I knew Team Rubicon would be an early feature. Team Rubicon has had a significant impact on the world by providing natural disaster relief and it has had an even bigger impact on the Veteran space by providing a renewed purpose for Veteran volunteers. This week's guest is the Chief Operating Officer for Team Rubicon, Art delaCruz.
Art delaCruz served honorably for more than 22 years in the United States Navy and enjoyed a career that included a broad range of assignments. Art commanded a Navy strike-fighter squadron, spent one year with McKinsey & Co. as a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow, served as a Topgun instructor, and made six combat deployments. After retiring, he spent two and a half years in the aerospace and defense sector in the roles of business development and strategy and planning.
Covered in Episode 23:
This week's podcast features another participant in the 2017 Women Veterans Art Exhibit, Navy Veteran Debra Russell. The exhibit is traveling to ten different VA medical centers throughout the month of March to celebrate and honor Women's History Month and how Veterans use art for personal expression.
Debra joined the military in 1984 and served until 1997. She worked in supply early on and went on to work on the staff for an Admiral. She was "med-boarded" after a running accident and was separated from the military. Around that same time, she was dealing with a sexual assault she experienced with a superior. Debra opens up regarding her service, her transition, and how she uses art and photography for therapy.
Covered in Episode 22:
The podcast continues to grow and it is thanks to our wonderful audience. Thank you for taking the time to listen to these powerful Veteran stories. This week's guest is Army Veteran Pamela Corwin.
Pamela served in the Army for six years. She went on to complete a Masters in Biology from The Citadel. She now works full-time as a wildlife and fisheries biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
I asked Pamela to join me on the podcast because she is one of ten artists being featured in 2017 women Veterans art exhibit. The exhibit is traveling to ten different VA medical centers throughout the month of March to celebrate and honor Women's History Month and how Veterans use art for personal expression.
Covered in Episode 21:
We're back with another great episode of This Week at VA. This week's featured guest is Army Veteran, Bobby Henline.
As a 4-tour Iraqi War Veteran, Retired Staff Sergeant, Wounded Warrior, Comedian, and Bravo748 Motivational Presenter, Bobby Henline’s story and lived experiences have been featured in numerous media, including the documentaries “Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor”, “Healing Bobby”, and “Weight of Honor”; on CNN, PBS KET, NPR, Today.com, and Time.com; Time Magazine, People Magazine, The Huffington Post, Guideposts, and The Nipawin Journal; as well as television, radio, and podcasts around the world.
During his initial six-month hospital stay, Bobby remained upbeat, positive, and relied on humor to get him through each day. Putting nurses in headlocks, trying to keep other wounded soldiers’ spirits up by telling them jokes, and singing a ditty over and over garnered the attention of his occupational therapist. She challenged him to go to an open mic night and try his hand at comedy.
Covered in Episode 20:
I hope everyone had a pleasant President's Day weekend. This week's podcast is an exciting one as it features our new Secretary, Dr. David Shulkin. This is the first interview Secretary Shulkin conducted after swearing in as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The Honorable David J. Shulkin was nominated by President Trump to serve as the ninth Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) and was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 13, 2017.
Prior to his confirmation as Secretary, Dr. Shulkin served as VA’s Under Secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the Nation’s largest integrated health care system, with over 1,700 sites of care serving nearly nine million Veterans.
Covered in Episode 19:
The podcast has officially reached more than 10,000 hits. We are truly grateful that all of you have taken the time to listen. This week continues the trend of great interviews with Navy Veteran Jared Lyon. Jared is the President & CEO of Student Veterans of America. Jared was our #VeteranOfTheDay in January 2016.
Jared Lyon was appointed President and CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA) on January 4, 2016, overseeing all aspects of the organization. He initially joined the professional staff of SVA in 2014 as the chief development officer and executive vice president of operations. In this role Jared forged critical partnerships and secured record grant funding for SVA. Named National Student Veteran of the Year by SVA in 2011, Lyon has come full circle to lead the organization he credits with his educational success.
Covered in Episode 18:
This Week at VA episode 17 features Marine Corps Veteran Joe Chenelly. Joe currently serves as the National Executive Director for AMVETS. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Joe enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in March 1998, serving with the 1st Marine Division, and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in April 2006. He is a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, East Timor and the Horn of Africa. Covered in Episode 17: Hiring freeze exemptions Interview with Marine Veteran Joe Chenelly Joining the Marines Experiencing 9/11 attacks in the military Becoming a Veterans advocate AMVETS mission and Joe's efforts there Addressing suicide as a person and as an organization Supporting VSOs in your community #VeteranOfTheDay Navy Veteran Norris Taylor
Kayla Williams delivered some remarks this week at the Policy Research Roundtable on Women Veterans.
She spoke about her career, the Center for Women Veterans, and data regarding women Veterans.
For some of you, this information will be familiar, but I think you all will appreciate the material.
This Week at VA episode 16 features Air Force Veteran Jim Horton. Jim currently serves as the Director for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Jim served in the Air Force as a pilot. He never planned to give the military nearly three decades of his life, but new opportunities presented themselves and he kept adding on the years. I met with Jim in his office at the national cemetery in Honolulu, which is affectionately called "The Punchbowl" as it sits in a crater on the island of Oahu. Jim has hosted many dignitaries at the cemetery, including former a former Secretary of Defense and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As Jim mentions in his interview, the honor in working at the cemetery is serving the veterans that lay to rest there and the loved ones that come to visit them.
Covered in Episode 16:
This week's podcast is going to get emotional. Our feature interview is with Army Veteran Gordon Wallace.
We first met Gordon at the VA Pacific Islands Health System in Honolulu. He was playing music in the lobby with a fellow Vietnam Veteran. They strummed on their guitars singing familiar songs providing hospital guests with entertainment. Between songs, Gordon began speaking about his recovery. He talked about returning from Vietnam and being shunned by his family. He wept as he recalled being labeled as "baby killer."
We invited Gordon to share more of his story on our podcast and he humbly accepted. Gordon is a native Hawaiian and very proud of his service.
Covered in Episode 15:
On December 16, 1944, the Germans launched what is considered their last major offensive of World War II. Just shortly after the Allied force's successfully invaded Normandy, France, the surprise attack from Hitler's forces caught the Allies off guard. The battle lasted until January 25, 1945. The United States suffered 19,000 fatalities and more than 89,000 casualties.
In commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of this historic battle of courage and fortitude, we invite you to meet Army Veteran Harry Miller.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the 1st Army Headquarters instructed the tank crews to go down to an ordnance depot and take whatever they needed for the tanks. “We had to take good parts off of one tank and put it on another. We finally got three tanks and a tank destroyer that would operate and run, and had a gun,” he said in an interview with VA. They took the three working tanks and sent them to their C Company. Those three tanks ended up taking out three German tanks, which ended up being members of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitlerbeing, Hitler’s old body guards.
Episode 14 of the #VApodcast features Marine Veteran Christian Benedetto.
Christian Benedetto was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in November 2013. In the nearly 25 years that have passed since his military service with the United States Marine Corps in the First Gulf War and the early 1990s, he felt something was terribly wrong with him, yet he believed he was hiding it well. After being diagnosed, Christian founded and launched the PTSDJournal.
PTSDJournal is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers and their loved ones. Each issue delivers in-depth research articles, personal narratives and alternate solutions that highlight the causes of PTSD and the keys to recovery. PTSDJournal advocates for the PTSD community, focusing on early intervention, diagnosis, treatment, and awareness initiatives. Each issue provides physicians, scientists, doctors, patients and families an outlet for PTSD awareness and educate the PTSD community and the general population about how to live with PTSD and where to get help.
Covered in Episode 14:
* An ExploreVA Facebook chat occurring on January 25 at IVMF's Facebook<https://www.facebook.
* Interview with Marine Veteran Christian Benedetto
* Christian''s decision to join the military.
* How service introduced him to diversity
* Leaving the military
* Being diagnosed with PTSD
* Launching the PTSDJournal
* Using the East Orange VAMC
* Research and apply for health care benefits with VA
* #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran George Watson<http://www.blogs.va.
Episode 13 features Army Veteran John Lee Dumas.
John Lee Dumas is the host of EOFire, an award winning Podcast where he interviews today's most successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week. JLD has interviewed over 1400 Entrepreneurs and EOFire has over 1 million monthly listens.
Covered in Episode 13:
* The value of VAntage Point
* Interview with Army Veteran John Lee Dumas
* John's decision to join the military.
* Powerful story from his deployment
* Leaving the military
* Using Puerto Rico VAMC
* Locating a VA facility using our directory
* #VeteranOfTheDay Marine Corps Veteran Betty Moseley Brown
Special midweek episode for you with the State of VA.
As part of a two day MyVA Advisory Committee meeting, VA Secretary Bob McDonald and Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson spoke about the significant progress made in the five strategies of the MyVA transformation in 2016. This includes improving the Veteran experience, improving the employee experience, improving internal support services, continuous improvement and enhancing strategic partnerships.
A few highlights of the MyVA progress made in 2016:
McDonald and Gibson recognized the progress that has been made over the past two years, but emphasized that there is still more work to be done and that the VA must continue to serve Veterans by putting their needs first.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe new year. Our first episode of 2017 is with James "Jim" Davis. Jim is an Air Force Veteran and currently does Veteran Outreach for Pathways to Housing DC.
Jim has lived an interesting life. For more than a decade, Jim led a nomadic life of homelessness. He wandered around the country, taking odd jobs in the wilderness to barely get by. When he wasn't set somewhere through work, he wandered off to other states looking for adventure. When he finally emerged from the woods and began his journey back into civilization, he used VA to overcome some adversities in his life. Now, he uses these experiences to reach out to Veterans at Pathways to Housing DC. The mission of Pathways to Housing DC is to transform individual lives by ending homelessness and supporting recovery for people with disabilities. They do good work, and Jim is committed to serving his fellow Veterans by connecting with them through mutual experiences.
Covered in Episode Twelve: