Posts Tagged ‘veterans issues’

June 19th, 2013 by Bendure

Yesterday, we gathered with Volunteers of America for a panel discussion on veterans issues at the National Press Club.  The panel members, former Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Koby Langley, Jonathan Sherin and Kelly Caffarelli, discussed issues facing many veterans returning from duty including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  Koby Langley is a senior advisory with the Corporation for National and Community Service; Jonathan Sherin, M.D., PhD, is the executive vice president of veteran affairs for Volunteers of America, and an expert on PTSD, TBI, and other afflictions, and he works with a large number of returning vets. Kelly Caffarelli is president of The Home Depot Foundation, which has committed more than $80 million to help returning veterans. Fox’s Chris Wallace acted as the moderator.

Congressmen Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) opened the discussion, speaking about their work on the Veterans Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill. Roe is one of the founders of the bi-partisan Invisible Wounds Caucus, and Walz is a participant. They went on FOX 5 Morning News before the panel to also discuss their work.

Here are some remarks from the panel.

  • Wallace asked the panelists if they had a magic wand and could make one thing happen for veterans, what would it be? Caffarelli said she would make sure that all veterans had homes.
  • Sherin, on the state of mental health of veterans: “This is a national emergency, but also a national opportunity.” He spoke to the fact that every sector had to join together to help: government, media, non profits, etc.
  • Langley discussed the fact that unlike other wars, this war has produced women veterans, who he believes can serve as civic leaders. “This is something we’ve not experienced before,” he said.
  • In closing remarks, Lugar said, “I think there is bipartisanship on this issue and that needs to be maintained.”

At the end, the audience was invited to ask the panelists questions. Here are some comments from that part of the discussion.

  • Caffarelli, “We do talk about the problems a lot. Thirty percent of returning veterans have PTSD. That means there are 70% without.” She pointed out both Lugar and Langley had served, and they were examples of how veterans can be successful after service.
  • Langley echoed Sherin’s sentiment on a collaborative effort to help end this, suggesting ways the community can help as donating capital and community service.
  • Caffarelli suggested that philanthropy plays a leader role in getting more local support for veterans. “Getting local VAs, mayors offices and local resources together. Philanthropy can help start that conversation.”
  • Langley responded to a question from the audience regarding a change in the chain of command relating to sexual assaults in the military on women. How many sexual assaults are acceptable in the military?  “Zero,” he voiced.

    From left: Chris Wallace, former Senator Richard Lugar, Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Kelly Caffarelli and Koby Langley.