NCOA’s Salute to Heroes the Perfect Setting to Honor Vietnam Veteran with iBOT

September 24, 2010

The NCOA Journal has published the amazing story of our friend: Cpl Eddie Beesley, USMC (Ret.). We encourage everyone to take a few minutes and read through his incredible story to see how he received his new – state of the art iBOT wheelchair which was recently presented to Eddie during the NCOA Vanguard Banquet by Tony Orlando.

Eddie Beesley embraces the spirit of a Marine — tough, disciplined, compassionate and always faithful to the Corps. If offered dessert after a meal, he will tell you he doesn’t eat “Pogey Bait”, this explains why he still looks sharp in his Marine Blues.

It is those attributes that have defined a life devoted and shared with his bride of nearly 45 years, Connie. The daughter of a career Navy man, Connie was a volunteer with the USO and met Ed at the hospital where he was recovering from his injuries — they have been inseparable ever since.

Click here to download the full story.

Original Source:

VA Honors Veterans on POW/MIA National Recognition Day

September 24, 2010

Special Benefits Available to Former POWs

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki wants former American prisoners of war (POWs) to be aware of the benefits and services available to them as Americans across the nation show respect and appreciation for this special group of men and women during POW/MIA National Recognition Day.

“These Veterans made great sacrifices for their country in time of war, and it is our Nation’s turn to honor them by reinforcing to them the full range of compensation, health care and benefits they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded policies to cover increasing numbers of former prisoners of war.

Special benefits for former POWs include enrollment in medical care for treatment at VA hospitals and clinics without copayments, as well as disability compensation for injuries and diseases that are associated with internment.

Former POWs are also generally entitled to a presumption of service-connection for certain diseases, based on the length of captivity and the severity of their conditions.

Free dental treatment for any dental condition is also available to former POWs. These benefits are in addition to regular Veterans’ benefits and services to which they are already entitled.

A major benefit for survivors of former POWs include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is a monthly benefit which may be payable to the surviving spouse, children and, in some cases, parents.

Currently, more than 15,000 POWs are receiving VA benefits for service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses. VA is asking former POWs not currently utilizing VA benefits to contact the agency at 1-800-827-1000 to find out if they may be eligible for disability compensation and other services.

Veterans can also apply online at or contact their coordinator for former POWs located at each VA regional office.

More information about VA services for former POWs is available at


September 21, 2010

On September 10, with the help of, The Tyler Project presented Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose as the 2010 Branson Junior High Character Day guest speaker. Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is a 9/11 Pentagon attack survivor who received the Medal of Heroism for going back into the Pentagon FIVE times to save the lives of fellow citizens and to gather human body parts so that people could be identified. In his speech, he talked about patriotism and told his 9/11 story. He also included why America is such a great country to live in, using comparisons to other countries. Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is an awesome person with an incredible story to tell. The whole gym was silent and not a peep came out of the students as Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose spoke. One piece of information he touched base on was that when he was exiting the Pentagon with two arms full of human remains, he saw a little girl’s hand float by, and he kneeled down to pick it up with his pinky because that is all he had open, and stuck the hand in his pocket. He told us how at that moment, he suddenly became angry. At that point of his story, I was speechless and deeply affected. I wish I could remember where I was when the planes hit, but I was only four. I guess what matters is that I know where I am now, and I know the devastation and results of the attacks. He told us a reason why America was attacked; because those terrorists didn’t like what our flag represented: freedom. That just gives you another reason to love your flag. I know it makes me want to put our flag on an even higher pedestal. To know that people fight to protect our flag and what it means is so mind boggling, but true. I feel like I connected with him throughout his speech, even though I wasn’t at the Pentagon and can’t relate to being in a 9/11 attack or anything like that. Maybe, the connection was through our love of patriotism.

Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is an amazing speaker and person. If you ever have the chance to hear to him, take the opportunity.

Front of custom guitar, Back of custom guitar

Over this past 9/11 weekend, I went back to Kansas where Tyler was from for the first annual Sgt. Tyler Juden Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser. The fundraiser included a poker run, door prizes, and a raffle for a custom painted guitar in memory of Tyler.

The fundraiser was put on by a member of the Patriot Guard who was the ride captain at Tyler’s funeral. He told me that The Tyler Project and I are what inspired him to do this event after he heard my interview on a local radio station in Kansas. I cold not believe it! All I could say to him was “Wow, thanks for doing this.” It just goes to show that one person’s actions CAN inspire others to do something, which is one goal of The Tyler Project, to see patriotism spread. This event raised about $5,000. It was fun, but also very emotional. I started crying when a man sang a song called “Coming Home”. It is about a fallen soldier telling his family goodbye and that he is okay at home with the Lord. It was so hard not to start bawling, because, when I heard that song, I couldn’t help but think of Tyler. They then presented the guitar to the raffle winner who in turn gave it back to Tyler’s parents and sister. As I was leaving the poker run, the man who put on this wonderful event gave me a Patriot Guard patch and made me an official member of the Patriot Guard…what an honor! On Sunday, September 12, the one year anniversary of Tyler’s ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, we stopped by the cemetery where Tyler is buried. It was a beautiful sight. There were flowers, letters, flags, and other items left by Tyler’s friends and other family members surrounding his headstone. I couldn’t help myself and cried.

Overall, it was an amazing three days overflowing with patriotism and inspiration. To have Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose come and talk at my school was just so breathtaking. For him to be a survivor of the attacks, and then share his story and feelings with us is an irreplaceable experience. Then, I saw everyone from Tyler’s hometown and surrounding areas come together to support a fallen hero and his family. It was all patriotism. Isn’t it ironic, that I was inspired by the words of Sgt. Tony Rose at the same time another event was about to take place that I had inspired without even realizing it? Anything you say can affect someone. If we speak more about patriotism, then maybe it will start to spread a bit faster.

Until my next blog,
Young Patriot

Number of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by US Central Command as of 9-20: 5,671

Living Afghan War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor

September 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a Soldier who risked his life to stop Taliban fighters from kidnapping a fallen comrade, will be the first living U.S. servicemember from either Iraq or Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor, White House officials announced Friday.

Please visit the URL below to read this incredible story.

How to Read Your VA Rating Decision

September 15, 2010

The day has finally come. Your claim is over and you have received notification from the VA of the decision. With a little luck you were granted benfits. Either way, approval or denial, you need to know what to look for and how to read your rating decision. I will give you a quick run down of what you are reading in your decision and what is important about all the information.


This section reflects your peacetime or wartime era. It lists what branch of service you were in and your service dates. It also states what type of claim you filed; initial claim, reopened claim, NOD/DRO decision or BVA Appeal.


This section lists in numerical order ALL the conditions that you requested service connection for. It also states for each condition whether you were granted service connection or were denied. If you were granted service connection it gives the rating percentage and the date that you initially filed this claim. This date is called your “effective date.” This effective date is the date that the VA will be paying you backpay on your grant of claim. Please check the effective date and make sure it is the date that you filed your claim and is correct. You could be lossing money if the date is incorrect.


This section lists ALL the evidence that the VA used to determine the grant or denial of your claim. Very important—-you need to read this list and make sure that EVERYTHING you sent to the VA or gave to your Service Officer is listed here. Remember the VA is dealing with thousands of claims and an important piece of evidence you submited may not have gotten to your claim file and gone “missing.” This missing evidence may have been the one piece of evidence that would have granted your benefit. If it is not listed in this evidence section, then VA never used it as evidence.


This section lists for each item in you claim the reason for the grant of benefit or the reason for denial. READ this section. It will tell you why you denied or approved. If it was something as simple as you didn’t supply a completed form and you were denied the benefit, you would simply have to get the completed form to VA for a possible grant of the benefit. What is also important about this section is that for each condition for which you were granted service connection, VA tells you what percentage they assigned AND they must tell you what the NEXT HIGHER RATING for that condition is. Read what the next higher rating percentage is. You may already be at that level and VA errored and gave you a lower rating. If nothing else, the next higher rating information lets you know for future reference that if your condition worsens to this level you need to apply for an increase.

I hope this information has been helpful. Prior to seeing your Service Officer for an increase in your granted conditions read your last decision and see what the criteria is for the higher rating. See your doctor and get “medical evidence” from them (statement, records) to show that you meet the new, higher criteria. Take that information to your Service Officer and file for an increase.

Until next time,

Julie Hensler, NSO
Military Order of the Purple Heart

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