If you haven’t heard of the Veterans Farm at Orting, you’re not alone. No one has, because six m...read more
If you haven’t heard of the Veterans Farm at Orting, you’re not alone. No one has, because six months ago, it didn’t exist.
Sure, it was an idea, a thought, a conversation among members of the Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC). But the scale of the project was enormous and the budget was zero. With no plan and no money, there was no way to build a program with the opportunity to impact the lives of veterans and their families through Eco-therapy, agripreneurship and habitat restoration. No way to share information on the many veterans programs and services that could help with the transition from military to civilian life. No way to provide permaculture classes that would lead to sustainable gardening and farming practices while growing organic food, preserving natural wetlands and re-introducing native species. These were big plans that needed big budgets and years to put them in place… or were they?
Between September 2015 and today, more than 500 volunteers have spent over 2,000 hours turning a field into a farm. The Veterans Farm at Orting is happening and it’s happening because of the support veteran and community volunteers.
And regardless of who the volunteers are or where they’re from, it always seems to happen the same way. A dirt-covered, sweaty volunteer leans on their shovel, looks back toward the farm plots, takes a deep breath, and under the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier says to the person next to them, “Do you know what I’d do with one of these half-acre plots?”.
That’s when you know they get it. They understand what the VCC is doing at the Veterans Farm, and they want to be a part of it. The Veterans Farm is a blank canvas and it sparks the ingenuity and creativity in all of us. It brings out ideas and passions we didn’t know we had. Countless volunteers have said they had no interest in farming until they spent time at the Veterans Farm and connected to nature in a new way.
The Veterans Farm at Orting provides several opportunities for veterans and community members. Permaculture classes are held regularly and open to the entire community. There are also 6 half acre farm plots which will be available to veterans willing to take the responsibility for cultivating the land. You can find out more at the Veterans Conservation Corps site or by contacting Jason Alves at 360-725-2224, firstname.lastname@example.org.
So please come out and answer this question for yourself “What would you do with a half-acre and couldn’t fail”?
As many pay tribute to Lemon for his basketball career, we also pay tribute to the “Clown...read more
As many pay tribute to Lemon for his basketball career, we also pay tribute to the “Clown Prince of Basketball” for his military service.
While it’s not shocking that George “Meadowlark” Lemon III was instrumental to the game of basketball while playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, it may not be well known that this icon in sports history also served his country.
That’s right, before Lemon was passing the ball to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, he wore a different uniform.
A young Lemon had set his sights on being a Globetrotter from a very early age, but was unsuccessful at landing a spot on the team during his first tryout.
Then, in 1952, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and his basketball dreams were put on hold.
Lemon’s second opportunity to become a Globetrotter would actually come while serving his country in Austria, where he would try out again for the team during their visit to Europe.
The result this time: a 40-game contract for a European Globetrotters tour that would eventually lead to his career as a Harlem Globetrotter.
Lemon will be remembered by many as one of the most influential Globetrotter players; however, we also honor and remember George “Meadowlark” Lemon III for his dedication to country and military service.
The VA Art Competition and Show provides veterans with an opportunity to be acknowledged for thei...read more
The VA Art Competition and Show provides veterans with an opportunity to be acknowledged for their artistic talents and skills. Participants must be active outpatients or inpatients of VA Puget Sound Health Care System before entering the competition. Find out more and how you can participate, or for more information contact Sarah Punshon at 206-277-6161 email@example.com or Jeanne Hopkins at 253-583-2905 firstname.lastname@example.org
From over 45 nominations submited by veterans served, fellow Vet C...read more
2015 Vet Corps Awards
From over 45 nominations submited by veterans served, fellow Vet Corps members, supervisors, and college presidents faculty and staff 13 Vet Corps members and 1 regional coordinator where recognized for thier hard work and dedication to the veterans of Washington State. June 30th marked the end of the 2014-15 Vet Corps service year seeing over 9,000 individual veterans across the state connected to made aware of or educated about the services avaialble to them on and off the college campus. Vet Corps celebrated this extreamly succesful year with an end of year service project and awards ceremony in Longview Washington.
Veteran of Vet Corps
Glen Boje, Miguel Escalara, Martin Jonquiere, Stephen Killian, Jaime Yslas
This award is for all Vet Corps members that have served a third year or more with the program. For the highest level of dedication any Vet Corps member can demonstrate and achieve, this award acknowledges selflessness, fidelity, service longevity and unwavering loyalty to helping the veteran population.
Angel Gonzalez City Univeristy Seattle
This award is given to an outstanding Vet Corps member who has worked tirelessly at a new location for Vet Corps, to reach an entirely new community of veterans. This award is granted to truly dedicated and industrious individuals that work to build relationships, pool resources, assess a new site and provide outreach to a new population of veterans.
Vet Corps Peace Prize
Robert Gumm Spokane Community College Colville
This award is given for outstanding communication, dispute resolution, cooperation, compromise and an always peaceable foresight. This person must be dedicated to group cohesion and team harmony.
Innovation, Invention, & Institution Award
Rachel Hayes Bellvue College
This award is given to a member who has generated novel and valuable ideas and used these ideas to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, programs or services. The award recognizes creative ideas that have improved the veteran community.
Diversity leadership Award
Mark Von Weber Edmonds Community College
This award goes to a champion of diversity and minority support. This awardee honors the diverse population of our world, and works to increase mutual understanding. This Vet Corps Member promotes the appreciation and wisdom of the many cultures that influence modern society and a globalized world. Building diplomatic relationships, this person instills values that promote tolerance and understanding across boundaries of language, land, and time.
Excellence in Professionalism
Dan Nessley Growing Veterans
This nominee is consistently dedicated to professionalism in dress and demeanor. Ceaseless etiquette and the utmost respect were demonstrated throughout the year. Adhering to high values and principles of integrity, honesty and fairness, this individual consistently addresses others with courtesy and kindness.
Site Collaboration Award
Martin Jonquiere Pierce College Puyallup
This award is presented to the Vet Corps member that has provided outstanding service to individual students or student groups on their campus on a consistent basis, whether through collaboration, personal advising, development of programs, or improvements to college systems and policies that affects students.
S.T.A.R. Award (Service, Teamwork, Attitude & Reliability)
Michael Cox Spokane Community College
This award is given to members that consistently excel in their position; has made outstanding contributions in the area of service and dedication; has promoted teamwork and collaboration; has worked tirelessly to improve their surrounding veteran community; and who has consistently done so with a positive and forward-thinking attitude.
Vet Corps Coordinator of the Year
Melissa Crouse South Sound Regional Coordinator
Regional Coordinator carries with it duties both to the colleges, as well as the veteran clients, the WDVA and the Vet Corps member themselves. Coordinator of the year is an award that is reserved for some one that exemplifies the Vet Corps mission of “Empower and support those who served, their families and our communities”
Vet Corps Member of the Year
Jaime Yslas Seattle University
Honoring the qualities of leadership, service, integrity and commitment, this member carried out his or her volunteer responsibilities the entire year with unwavering diligence and compassion. Using the same criteria as Member of the Month and Quarter, this award goes to the Vet Corps member that served the veteran population and Vet Corps throughout the year as an outstanding servant leader, colleague, mentor, team member and friend.
Over the last month, the construction team has worked closely with onsite archaeologists to put t...read more
Over the last month, the construction team has worked closely with onsite archaeologists to put together 'treatment plans' to preserve archeological findings.
Footings were poured and cured for one half of Neighborhood 1.
Site work excavation and form work continues for the other Neighborhoods in preparation for more pouring footings.
Electrical work continues for stub-ups and preparation is underway to transfer to our own power source.
Underslab plumbing for the entire facility continues; which includes fire lines.
USDOT’s Small Business Transportation Resource Center has partnered with WSDOT’s Headquarters Construction Division and the Office of Equal Opportunity to provide an important workshop for your company about the contracting and subcontracting process with WSDOT.
This class will prepare your company to work more successfully with WSDOT, increase your knowledge regarding our contractual requirements, and help you understand how to be paid in a prompt fashion.
Guest Blogger Marny Howell, MA, CRC
Community Reintegration Services
VA Puget Sound H...read more
Guest Blogger Marny Howell, MA, CRC
Community Reintegration Services
VA Puget Sound Health Care System
American Lake Division
In this article, we are going to share with you the differences between Vocational Rehabilitation programs offered by Veterans Hospital Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).
VBA administers various benefits programs for our nation’s Veterans which includes a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. This program has several different monikers; VR&E, Ch 31, or Voc Rehab. This is a Vocational Rehabilitation program for Veterans with 10% Service Connected Disability ratings or higher. If a Veteran does not have a Service Connected Disability rating, she/he is not eligible for this program.
VBA’s VR&E program provides Veteran’s with 5 tracks of services in order to assist them in meeting their employment and rehabilitation goals. These 5 tracks are: Reemployment with Previous Employer; Rapid Access to Employment; Self-Employment; Employment through Long Term Services; and Independent Living.
Commonly, Veteran’s eligible for this program choose to pursue Retraining or Employment through Long Term Services track. VR&E/Ch 31 will assess and evaluate the Veteran’s vocational goal and labor market. If the Veteran has the ability and aptitude to achieve a specific vocational goal and the job is in demand, VR&E will likely support the Veteran’s plan. VR&E or Ch 31 pays tuition, books and fees as well as a subsistence allowance based on the number of their dependents in this track. If the Veteran does not have the capability as determined through a comprehensive vocational assessment to be successful in a traditional academic environment OR the vocational goal they have selected is not in demand, VR&E may elect to not support the Veteran in pursuing that goal and will then assist them in selecting a more realistic goal that will lead him to real employment in the future. Additionally, VR&E is capable of explaining options relating to Post 9/11 GI Bill (Ch 33) benefits while participating in their services (Ch 31).
VHA offers vocational services through our Therapeutic and Supported Employment Services department and are administered by the Mental Health Service, at Seattle and American Lake Divisions of VA Puget Sound Healthcare System. We provide vocational services to Veterans with Service Connected and Non Service Connected disabilities alike. We offer several different programs to Veteran’s interested in either returning to work or participating in work activity all under the Compensated Work Therapy umbrella.
Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Work Experience (CWT/TWE) is a job search program combined with therapeutic work. CWT/TWE provides a work therapy setting to help Veterans identify and correct problem work behaviors as well as learn and/or hone their job search skills. Veterans must be willing to participate in weekly job search activities. Veterans must have a clinical need (not financial need) for work therapy treatment in order to improve basic worker habits, have a specific employment goal, and be capable of conducting an independent job search.
Supported Employment (SE) is a program to help Veterans participating in Mental Health Intensive Case Manager (MHICM) or Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Center (PRRC) with employment goals. The purpose of SE is for Veterans to secure and maintain competitive employment. Through participation in CWT/SE, the Veteran will increase his/her level of functioning and self-esteem, expediting the recovery process, and improving his/her overall quality of life. By providing community-based employment through work skills training and development services, job development and placement services, and employment support to Veteran participants, SE implements the concept of the recovery model by helping Veterans lead normal, healthy lives that allow them to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities.
The Incentive Therapy (IT) program provides opportunities for Veterans eligible for VA Healthcare to participate in therapeutic work treatment at the Medical Center. The core therapeutic component in IT is work. The population served in IT are most often Veterans with chronic mental health issues lacking the emotional or physical stamina to engage in work on a full time basis. The program allows IT participants to: add structure to their day, participate in meaningful activity, interact and socialize with others, and experience a sense of accomplishment.
Through services available under VBA's VR&E Voc Rehab program or VHA's Vocational Services VA is prepared to meet all Veteran's employment needs. Please help us by sharing this information with your colleagues about the differences between these 2 programs so that Veterans are being informed correctly about resources and services for which they are eligible and/or entitled to receive.