State program reaches out to veterans who need help

January 7, 2010 by · 22 Comments 

Richmond Times Dispatch

By Michael Martz

Since terrorists struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 230,000 troops have been deployed to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq from Virginia military bases.

Now, a state program is trying to help those coming back to find help for problems they might not even want to discuss.

The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program is using a tiny budget to reach a big problem — veterans with behavioral-health problems, ranging from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to traumatic brain injuries.

More than 813,000 military veterans live in Virginia, including more than 38,000 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. And that doesn’t include the families of service members who have been deployed.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as we’re concerned,” said Mary Anne Bergeron, executive director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards. “When they come back, families expect the same person. Well, they’re not getting the same person.”

Bergeron’s association represents community agencies that are joining with the fledgling program to find services for veterans of all eras, but especially the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Veterans don’t have to have endured combat experience to get help from the program, which is part of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

Beal Carter, for example, is a former U.S. Army cook who left the service 30 years ago. He has struggled with depression and the loss of his right leg, which was amputated almost 10 years ago because of a staph infection he picked up in a Veterans Administration hospital in upstate New York.

This week, Carter got a new wheelchair ramp for his South Richmond home, thanks to the work of the Wounded Warrior Program and volunteers for ElderHomes, a local nonprofit organization that provides housing assistance for people with low incomes.

“It’s like God is putting them in my life at the right time in the right place,” said Carter, 50, who grew up in the Northern Neck and was homeless when he moved to Richmond more than a year ago.

The 23-foot-long modular ramp is one of about 300 that ElderHomes has built and installed in the past three years at no charge for disabled Virginians with low incomes.

The Wounded Warrior Program helped make it happen, just as it did in fixing Carter’s handicap-accessible van, which he needed to get to doctor’s appointments at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a short drive from his home on Bells Road.

“It’s really about community collaboration,” said Edward M. McIntosh, an Army veteran who serves as coordinator of the Wounded Warrior Program for the region that includes the Richmond area.

McIntosh served in the Persian Gulf War and the conflict in Somalia in the 1990s, before he earned a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Now he’s trying to connect veterans with the services they need, whether from the federal VA system, the state’s system of local community services boards, or nonprofits such as ElderHomes and Caritas, which helped Carter furnish the house that a VA supportive housing program found for him.

“It’s partnership and collaboration, using the existing resources in the most efficient and effective way possible,” said Catherine Wilson, a retired Navy captain who is executive director of the 2-year-old program.

The program is operating with an annual budget of $2 million, of which $1.7 million was awarded through a competitive grant process to the five health planning regions of the state. But since its founding in mid-2008, the Wounded Warrior Program has:

•received a grant for almost $400,000 from the from the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative to help train service providers in how to care for someone with traumatic brain injury; •held training sessions for providers in all five regions on traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder; •prompted community services boards to identify veterans who already are receiving services, creating a database that can be used to ensure that veterans and families get all the help to which they are entitled; and •partnered with the Department of Defense’s Real Warriors Campaign, which is aimed at veterans who are reluctant to seek help. “They are trying to reduce the stigma,” Wilson said. “It’s OK for real warriors to ask for help.”

Contact Michael Martz at (804) 649-6964 or mmartz@timesdispatch.com .

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22 Responses to “State program reaches out to veterans who need help”
  1. Jocelyn Johnson says:

    my email is angelinflight_888@comcast.net . Could you tell me if you have any charitable donations of reroofing a 100% disabled veterans home in washington state and skagit county? thank you!
    Jocelyn Johnson

  2. Ms Johnson;
    I will get the information provided from your area and send it to your attention, if your home is built by the use of a VA grant then they will assist in getting the home repaired, as you have grant funds that are available, so if it has been then called the SAH Office for your area and they will assist. I will get back to you in a few days with the answers that I have found out for you. To the veteran, I thank you for your service to our country, froma 100% disabled veterans to another. John S. Lewandowski, Chairman of the Board, DVCH

  3. Patrick: Thank you for your service to our country and I have a few suggestions and that is to contact Homes for the Troops in your area, also the American Legion’s, VFW and other veteran based organization as they have at time personnel that can assist. If you still can’t get the help that you so much need, get into touch with me and I will hopefully have more information for you. Founder/Chairman of the Board

  4. Cecelia Ann Dunn says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am not sure whether or not you can help me with this “Special Request” but here it is: My father, along with myself and my husband are all disabled veterans. Right now we are all living in Kingsport, TN. My father was born and raised in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Both him & my mother have traveled all over the world. Now he is 85 years of age and wants to return home to New Hampshire so when he passes on, he will be closer to my mother who passed away in 2008. Is there any organization that could help him find an Assisted Living Facility and help with the move as well? Any information would be greatly appreciated. My father can be reached at 423-343-0024 anytime. He is blind and can no long drive.

    Thank You,

    Mrs. Cecelia Ann Dunn

  5. I just saw your message ad I will contact you tomorrow 8/14/13 to see what I can do to assist in making this happen.

  6. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I do not know where else to turn. My father, who is a Korean & WWII veterans needs in home care. His wife is unable to care for herself and he is 85 years old. They have been elvated 3 times by the State and they says if he is able to even move a finger or stand up, neither one needs help. He is blind and cannot cook for himself or his wife. Both their Dr.’s highly recommend Assisted Living, but the outstanding costs cannot be reach by Social Security alone. He has applied for Aid & Attendance several months ago, but they gave him $174.00 a month for the both of them. This won’t even help pay for someone to come in as they get a minimum of $20.00 a hour. He has begged for an advance in his Aid & Attendance, but to date, he has not heard anything. The VAMC in Mountain Home, we have called several times and begged them to help, but they keep telling us there is nothing they can do, even those they agree he needs assisted living conditions. Where else can we go to get help? Can you do anything at all? Or are we truly on our own? His telephone number is 423-343-0024. Please, anyone call. His name is Arthur L. Wright

    Thank you,

    Cecelia Ann Wright

  7. Cecelia;

    There is a few things that he can do, one is not maybe what he wants but he may need to until they can get him evaluated and that is his primary Care provider admits him for an evaluation for any of his medical issues and then they can request a Regional Exam for furture Aid & Attendance. There are other issues but I would like for you to see if this is something that they want to do????

    John S. Lewandowski, Chairman of the Board, DVCH

  8. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    They are both already set up for a local evaluation through the Dept. of Aging next week. How do we set up or who do we contact for a Regional Exam for Aid & Attendance? Is this done through the VAMC in Mountain Home? His local Primary Care Physician is writing a letter and I am faxing all documentation (His DD-214 & my as well DD-214) along with the letter from his Primary Care Physician to your office. What else do you need or should I do on this end to help speed up the process so I can get him into the Assisted Living Facility? His health is failing fairly quickly and I need to get him in there. I want to Thank You for all your help so far. So anything else that you can help me with, we would all appreciate it very much.

    Thanks, Ms. Cecelia Ann Wright
    Daughter & Disabled Veteran

  9. Cecelia;
    Happy New Years to you and your family. Okay teh main person that can do all of this is the Primary Care physician for yuour Dad and also I would like to know and I also see that you are a disabled veteran? Can I ask what is your capabilities as a disabled person as I may have an idea depending on your condition. I have been through teh Mountain Home VA Medical Center with another patient and I do have a few contact there now, so lwet’s take this slow okay. The only Assisted Living that will get speedy at the moment is if you pay for it or they have Long Term Helath Care Insurance. The VA will take him into teh VA as a Veterans and you, but of course your Mother will not be eligible.

    I need a release from your Dad that I can talk to his Care Physician is need to be fior getting things accomplished. There is a VA Form 21-0845, place my name and address is 147 Duwamish Trail, Winchester, Virginia 22602-1316.

    John S. Lewandowski, Founder/Chairman of the Board, DVCH

  10. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    Happy New Year to you too John! I hope you & your family are doing well so far.

    As far as paying for Assisted Living, that is not possible. Between them they make a total of $2155.00 a month plus $174.00 together through A&A. So we cannot afford it on our own and they do not have Long Term Insurance either and because of their advance age, the cost would be just too great to afford it now. I have all the required paperwork that you requested, however, we are still waiting for his Primary Care Physician to get back from the holidays so he can write the letter and I am going to fax all required papers to you then, hopefully soon. Currently they are living in my home for the moment, but need either Assisted Living or In-Home Health Care. The Primary Care Physician I think would rather see them put in Assisted Living Facility. But I think if they could get In-Home Health Care, I think they would be better off, maybe.

    I am also faxing my DD-214 to you as well to try & check-up on my 4+ years that I have been waiting on the claim. No matter who I call, I always get the same response “it is in a pending status” and that’s it. At the moment I am rated at 80% by VA standards. My claim is for 100%. I know it is probably a slim to none chance, but after waiting 4 years, I might be close, right?

    I will get the other form (VA 21-0845) and get everything faxed to you. Do you still want me to wait until we get the Dr.’s statement or should I fax what I have now?

    Cecelia

  11. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    Just to let you know I finally got all the required paperwork from the Dr. And I turned everything in to Crown Cypress, the Assisted Living place where he wants to go. I talked to Joyce, the Exective Director of the place and I told her your name and that you may be calling her about the VA portion of the pay. So everything is ready. Just waiting to see what you can do, if anything. John, I want to ask you something. Should this really go through, would you know an organization or something who could help with the moving? If so, that would be a blessing. Oh, one more question. Do you have any idea how long this would take before we know anything? Just an estimate is all we were wondering, that’s all. Thanks again for your help. Call me or my father anytime if you need any further info, ok?

    Thanks!

    C. Ann Wright

  12. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    I hate to borther you about this, but I really don’t know where to turn at the moment. I have a chance to move into a cheaper place so I can meet my financial obligations. However, I believe you might of mentioned that you may know someone who could help me move. Would that be a possibility? I can do all the packing, just need someone to move me & set-up my hospital beds and the washer & dryer. The rest I can put together. Hopefully you can help.

    Thanks,

    Ms. Wright

  13. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    Here is the info I found on who is in charge of TennCare:

    Mr. Darin Gordon
    Deputy Commissioner
    Dept. of Finance & Administration
    TennCare Bureau
    Nashville, TN
    Email: Darin.j.gordon@tn.gov.
    615-507-6443

    John: The office here only did a telephone interview without making an appointment to come to the house to interview neither one of them. They made an immediately decision based on their answers alone. They didn’t even want to read what the Dr. Wrote & recommended, which is they both need help with dressing, bathing, medication check, etc. as a matter of fact, they only offered them 3 hours a week! Without CHOICES which is a program to help the elderly & others, it will take ever dime they have. And yes, I do feel I have no choice but to sell the only home I have & ever will have in my own life to keep a promise to my mother to take care of my Dad. I am giving my own VA Disability check so they will have something beside a room to die in. So anything at all that you can do would be greatly appreciated. But I will do what I have to do since the Great State of Tennessee doesn’t seem to care. Hell, his wife has been on TennCare her whole life! So why wouldn’t she qualify? She got worse, not better. She got diagnosis with SEVERE DEMATIA!

    Good Luck!

    Cecelia Ann Wright

  14. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    IMMEDIATE HELP!!!

    John: I just tried calling you, but your phone isn’t working. My father is in a terrible state of mind. He does not want to stay here in Tennessee anymore. He wants to go back to New Hampshie ASAP and we have no place to go. Can you help us? We want to go to either Concord or Peterborough. The rents are through the roof up there, but anything you have, that would be “reasonable” say around $400 or $450 would be great. If you can’t find anything up there for us to go to, can you find something in Florida? Say around the Punta Gorda area for $400-$450.00 price? We also need the help to move. Can you help us? How soon can you get us out of here? Call me if you can at 423-343-9613 ASAP!

    Thanks, Cecelia Ann Wright

  15. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    Can I ask a very BIG favor if you? Would you please consider coming to Kingsport, TN and help my father get into this Assisted Living Facility, Crown Cypress? He really needs it badly. One minute he is ready to go to either New Hampshire, Vermont or Florida! It is driving me “Nuts!” And I have no guide ness or anyone to help besides you. Please John, can you come or can you send someone to help us? My father’s name is Arthur L. Wright and his phone number is: 423-343-0024.

    Thanks, C

  16. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    Just wanted to give you an update as of Wednesday, February 5, 2014. My father has paid his deposit on the Assisted Living place (Crown Cypress). He officially moves in March 1st. The realtor has assured me that she has potential customers who want to buy my house asap (hopefully) as my father is depending on my VA Pension to help him pay for the cost of the monthly Assisted Living costs. So anything that you can do to help, please do it NOW! I cannot contact you by phone anymore, so you will have to try to either call me or email me to please give me an update on what you are doing to help. My number is: 423-343-9613.

    Thanks,

    Cecelia Ann Wright

  17. Cecelia;

    Well, there has been a lot going on also in my life, and I am sadden to say that I had to retire as my health had taken a point that I needed to step down, my wife has Stage 3 cancer and I know she needs me also. Our website shows you teh new person in charge and the phone information. I read all of your notes and I am glad that your Dad is going into the home. He is looking for stability in his life and now with going into there he will receive it. My question to you, you are doing everything teh way that I would and you have made decisions that I feel that you are handling things really great, your dad is really proud to have a daughter like you, I know that I would be.

  18. Cecelia;

    I been getting the run around from the girl in the office as tyo where Mr. Gordan is, just seems like he is always out of the office, well, I have a few things that I can do to get that taking care of.

    John

  19. Cecelia;

    I been getting the run around from the girl in the office as to where Mr. Gordon is, just seems like he is always out of the office, well, I have a few things that I can do to get that taking care of.

    John

  20. Cecelia Ann Wright says:

    John:

    First let me say that I am terribly sorry for both you & your wife’s health. No doubt I will be praying for both of you and I hope things will get better for the both of you very soon. I am also sorry to hear that you had to step-down from your position. But I have no doubt that you did the right thing and I am sure your replacement is just as qualified to handle the load that awaits him. Does he know about my father’s case and mine? Take care and don’t be a stranger. You have my email, so anytime you need someone to give you a “hard time” just send me a quick email, ok?

    Thanks,
    Cecelia Ann Wright

  21. Cecelia; Thank you for your kind words and Jorge is getting his feet wet with all that I have done and working on, but I will bring it to his attention in our next meeting. Please tell your Dad that he has to be strong and feel that there is a better day coming and he has to be ready for that day, as they say he needs to maybe just smell the roses and to thank our Lord for his blessings, that been there and I do mean you. God’s Blessings to you both. John

  22. Paul Davidson says:

    BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Form 0845 ,I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/JteUuJ. This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few contract documents.

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