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Veterans Life

The Voice for Kitsap’s Veterans and their Families

December 2014

Honoring those who bear the scars A visit to the American Disabled for Life Memorial

❚ Compass House: Where second chances are born: pages 6-7

❚ Careers, job sources, and benefits: pages 8-9

❚ Profile: Burt Boyd ❚ Veterans Advisory Board needs you: pages 11-12

Published monthly by Sound Publishing Co. | Updated regularly online on

“Each of you bears upon his body the permanent, honorable scars of dangerous service. Service rendered in order that our great nation might continue to live according to the expressed will of its own citizens.”

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Facing the pool, green glass laminated panels are used to encase the thoughts of disabled veterans. Interspersed are bronze cutouts that capture the somber mood, combined with haunting, transparent life-sized photos embedded in the glass. Jeff VanDerford / Special to Veterans Life

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For those who bear the scars The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. By JEFF VANDERFORD

Special to Veterans Life

T Hard Wood


here are a lot of monuments and memorials in the

nation’s capital, honoring generals and bureaucrats and presidents and wars — wars we won, wars we lost or, as with Korea, a war which ended in stalemate. And now, finally, there is a place of remembrance, a tribute to the brave men and women who fought those wars and came home with permanent scars, disabled for life. On Oct. 5, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was dedi-

cated as a way for sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, wives, husbands and friends to reflect on the price of valor by all of this country’s courageous service members, both the living and dead. Unlike those that line the National Mall or Tidal Basin, the new disabled veterans shrine sits on a 2.4-acre triangle of land between busy streets just south of the Botanical Gardens, in the shadow

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of the Capitol and the Rayburn House Office Building. The initial concept was begun in 1998 by private residents, then propelled to completion through the efforts of dedicated veterans and members of Congress. The central point of the Memorial is a star-shaped infinity pool, with one ceremonial flame in the center. A grove of cypress and gingko biloba trees stands sentry beside the reflecting waters, signifying the persistence of hope, according to Richard Murray, the site’s public affairs officer. “We want people to come, to be comfortable, to understand the suffering our veterans experienced — and still do,” he said. “Above all, we want people to remember.” Facing the pool, green glass laminated panels are used to encase the thoughts of disabled veterans, some famous — such as former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, severely wounded in Italy in World War II — others not so famous, but all heartfelt and genuine. Interspersed are bronze cutouts that capture the somber mood, combined with haunting, transparent life-sized photos embedded in the glass. At night, the images and quotes are illuminated, dramatically highlighting the elements of loss and sacrifice. Strategically-placed granite benches allow the See MEMORIAL, Page 3

“This memorial is my country’s gift to me ... It is a memorial of healing. It is a memorial of hope.”


Continued from page 2 public to offer silent tribute. There’s lots of space for visitors in wheelchairs. Bordering the site to the south is a newly-created garden which, as with the trees when they grow, will eventually help to soften the sights and sounds of traffic while providing a living backdrop, a symbol of renewal. The landscaping was carefully selected to thrive in the tough urban environment. The Memorial was designed and built as a constant reminder to all who visit of the terrible cost of human conflict. And it works. On a recent visit to the capital, my wife Nancy and I took the Metrorail and bus to the site, having seen the dedication ceremony on television. As we wandered through the Memorial, we were immediately struck by the serenity of the scene and how the city sounds receded as we read the quotes and viewed the photos and sculptures. It isn’t as grand as the Lincoln or Jefferson monuments, but it doesn’t need to be. Thankfully, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial will be here forever. On your next trip to Washington, D.C., don’t miss it.

— Jeff VanDerford, a retired reporter for Sound Publishing, served as a Navy lieutenant during the Vietnam War. He now lives in Staunton, Virginia. He can be reached at

— Roberto Barrera, USMC

The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was designed and built as a constant reminder to all who visit of the terrible cost of human conflict. Jeff VanDerford / Special to Veterans Life

IF YOU GO The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is located at 150 Washington Ave., Washington, D.C. It is bounded on the west by Second Street, on the east by Washington Avenue, and on the south by opposing entrance ramps to Interstate 395. The Memorial is adjacent to Bartholdi Park with a clear view of the Capitol Building. The easiest way to reach it is by Metrorail, taking either the Orange or Blue line to the Federal Center SW station. Metrobuses numbers 32, 34 and 36 stop behind the U.S. Botanical Garden Conservatory at Independence Avenue and First Street SW. Look south and you’ll see the green panels in the distance.



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WRITE TO US: Veterans Life welcomes letters from its readers. To make room for as many letters as possible, keep your letter to 350 words maximum. Include your name and daytime phone number for verification. Send to P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo, WA. 98370; fax to 360-779-8276; or email


Veterans service officers can help S

everal stories in this edition of Veterans Life direct veterans to services that can help them get ahead in housing and health care. In many cases, getting that hand up starts with your friendly, local Veterans Service Officer. Here’s a directory of VSOs and others assisting veterans. Give them a call. American Legion Post 109, Silverdale Address: 10710 Silverdale Way, Silverdale. Meets on the third Monday of the month, 7 p.m., at All Star Lanes & Casino. Contact: Email, or visit on Facebook. American Legion Post 149, Bremerton Address: 4922 Kitsap Way, Bremerton. 360-373-8983. Online: American Legion Post 172, Bainbridge Island Address: 7880 NE Bucklin Hill Road, Bainbridge Island. 206-8425000. Meets first and third Friday of the month, 7:30 p.m. Online: American Legion Post 200, Belfair Meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Contact: Tom Welch, email American Legion Post 245 Veterans Service Office, Poulsbo Address: 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, downtown Poulsbo. 360779-5456. Open every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Disabled American Veterans ■ 2315 Burwell St., Bremerton. 360-373-2397. ■ 4475 Birch Ave W., Port Orchard. Chapter meetings: Potluck noon, meeting 1 p.m., second Saturday of each month ■ Adjutant/Service Office North Mason Resources, 140 NE State Route 300, Belfair. 360552-2303. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday or by appointment. Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program Address: Kitsap County Department of Human Services, 614 Division St., MS-23, Port Orchard. Contact: Tom Vialpando, program coordinator, 360-337-4811. Online: Marine Corps League Olympic Peninsula Detachment 531 Address: 2315 Burwell St., Bremerton. 360-265-7492. Meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. Suquamish Tribe Veterans Resource Office LaVada Anderson 360-394-8515 VFW Post 239, Bremerton Address: 190 Dora Ave., Bremerton. 360-377-6739. Meets second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. (For a veterans services officer, visit the Disabled American Veterans post at 2315 Burwell St., Bremerton) VFW Post No. 1694, Shelton Address: Memorial Hall, Second and Franklin streets, Shelton. 360-426-4546. Meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 7 p.m. Beverages and snacks are served at 6 p.m. by the Ladies Auxiliary. WorkSource Kitsap County Address: 1300 Sylvan Way, second floor, Bremerton. 360-3374767. Contact: Michael Robinson, disabled veterans outreach, 360337-4727, Or



The VA is bigger than most realize By THOM STODDERT VETERANS VOICE


ost veterans have a lot of misunderstanding with how the VA functions and thus are confused in dealing with the VA for both compensation claims and/or getting medical treatment. Hospitals, clinics, Vet Centers and such provide treatment. They work under their own guidelines, regulations, and budgets. The Veterans Benefits Administration — or, as most commonly called, the Regional Office — manages compensation/service connection for military-related chronic ill-

nesses and injuries, plus other commonly known benefits such as home loan guarantees and education. The Veterans Benefits Administration does not work under a budget. They are the people that confer the legal status on what is “service connected” and what is not. Hospitals, unfortunately, do have budgets. Fortunately, the VA Puget Sound Region has care that is considered very good. VA medical facilities will provide free treatment and medications for service connected medical problems. In some cases, all care is free or a copayment may be required.

Life The Voice for Kitsap’s Veterans and their Families 19351 8th Ave. NE, Suite 106, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo WA. 98370 360-779-4464 | 360-779-8276 (fax) Email: (First initial, last name)



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Both the hospital and benefits administrations have departments, divisions, subdivisions and contractors. There is lots of room for communications to break down. So be proactive and check carefully who will do what and when. Let’s start with making a claim for compensation of a medical issue. Evidence is essential when making a claim for service connection of a medical problem and most frequently comes from military medical records. If these are missing, evidence can come from other sources such as civilian medical records, witnesses, photos, news stories, and old letters home — almost anything supporting a link between the medical issue and military service. Credibility of the evidence is more important than the source. A statement from your wife, who stands to benefit financially from a favorable decision, is not as valued as a former military supervisor whom you have not seen in years. Humorously, a veteran’s wife signed a document attesting his tinnitus was so bad she could hear the ringing in his ears even in the kitchen with the TV on. Again, the strength of the evidence is more significant than where it comes from. The first time any claim is made See STODDERT, Page 5

“When writing to the VA, keep remarks short and to the point. Adding drama to any correspondence can lower the credibility to the readers — VA employees. If there are implausible aspects of your story, explain them in simple terms and get some sort of corroborative evidence.” Stoddert

Continued from page 4 during the lifetime of a veteran, a VA form 21-526 or VA form 21-526EZ must be filled out. After that, a simple handwritten letter is sufficient for any further issues. In fact, a claimant does not even need to fill out VA form 21-526 at first. Just write to the Regional Office and they will send you what they need for documentation. Once the 526 is completed, it starts building a history or, in VA jargon, the C-file. A copy of every communication sent to the veteran or received from the veteran is supposed to be in that file forever. When writing to the VA, keep remarks short and to the point. Adding drama to any correspondence can lower the credibility to the readers — VA employees. If there are implausible aspects of your story, explain them in simple terms and then get some sort of collaborative evidence to submit at the same time.

Often, a vet speaks with a helpful VA employee who suggests to the veteran that the injury or illness is service connected. In other cases, the veteran knows that the injury or illness is service connected and even gets treatment for it. In either situation, the veteran incorrectly expects that he or she will receive compensation, and waits and waits and waits. Then, he or she finally calls and is told there is no record anywhere of that claim ever being made. The vet is upset, believing the VA has lost his or her claim. In reality, the vet failed to make a formal claim to the Benefits Administration of the VA. Generally, a claim for benefits or an increase in benefits specifically must be made by the veteran, submitted with his or her own signature. A visit to a medical facility should not be considered by a veteran to be a claim of any sorts. The appropriate paperwork is needed and, again, with a signature. Claims for service connection can never be made through a medical facility.

Access to medical treatment is started with an application from a VA medical facility. Then, a decision is made as to what category the veteran will be assigned to. Every veteran is eligible for care, but the category determines if the applicant will be assigned to a care team with a primary medical provider. Not all facilities can serve all the categories, so assignment is based on the rating percentage awarded by the Regional Office with further consideration that the veteran was a POW or is a Purple Heart recipient. Recently discharged combat veterans are eligible for the enhanced Combat Veterans benefit. Emergency care at a non-VA facility can sometimes be provided. Care is needed here, so best call the Hospital Administration ASAP. Medical treatment at a VA treatment facility does not confer the status of “service connection” on a medical problem. “Service connection” is the legal status conferred on a claim that is made only by a Regional Office and only after a rating decision has

been completed. So many veterans get this wrong. This brings us to one final and very important point: read and re-read all that the VA sends you. Determine what is appropriate for your case. The VA is a very large complex organization and, with all bureaucracies, often fails to communicate well within its own. Anger and frustrated are not the answer; just get informed. Last but not least is the VA Cemetery Administration; any funeral facility can assist here. The above information is general so use the following resources: n “Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors” in an excellent handbook, downloadable from the VA’s website for free. www. publications/benefits_book.asp n Department of Veteran Affairs, 915 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98174. 800-827-1000. n VA Medical Center and American Lake facility, 800-3298387.

MAIL CALL Have the courage to report on sexual assault in military Regarding the article, “PTSD: It’s real, it’s treatable, and you’re not alone” (August 2014 Veterans Life): A good article and helpful to those of us with PTSD, but it is a shame that the thousands of men and women who suffer with PTSD from Military Sexual Trauma (MST) have been left out. Each time we are ignored only reinforces the aura of shame we are encouraged to carry when we did nothing wrong. And each time a report is silent about the consequences of this crime only encourages the perpetrators to act again. I am saddened that this publication does not have the courage to speak truth to power. MARY MCLEOD PARMENTER U.S. Marine Corps, 1960-61 Bremerton Editor’s note: Thank you, Marine, for your advocacy. Look for a story on this issue in the January Veterans Life.

Attention: Military Families

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Where second chances are born Transitional home provides a new start for veterans, men on probation By RICHARD WALKER


Veterans Life

ENTRAL VALLEY — The world is a lot faster to Blue Sky Gunhammer, Oglala, since he got out of prison this fall after 20 years.

He expresses amazement at the cellphone pictures someone is taking of his beaded artwork. People were shooting photos with film when he went in back in ’94. At this one-acre goat and chicken farm on rural Central Valley Road, Gunhammer is building a new life. He does his part in helping to take care of the place, which he shares with eight others. The farm is bucolic and far from urban temptations; the nearest bus stop is a

mile away. “It’s far enough out of town that you’ve really got to think about getting into trouble,” he said. If he’s not doing odd jobs for pay — he recently did some house painting and some horse walking — he volunteers in the community. He’ll soon help build a porch for someone in need. He looks forward to resuming his long-ago career as an iron worker. “I like it here because it’s slower,” Gunhammer said. “It’s helped me a lot.” 

Blue Sky Gunhammer is building a new life at Compass House on Central Valley Road. After completing a 20-year prison sentence, he said the farm-like atmosphere “is therapeutic.” Kipp Robertson / Veterans Life

A great time to buy for low monthly payments. Buying is easy.

This is Compass House, a transitional home for men who got lost on the bad road and are seeking their way back, a place that believes in second chances. It opened in December 2013, with room for 15 men but a current population of nine. Its program of providing a safe and peaceful place to live, where men can focus on improving themselves and securing their future — and providing support services to help them reach their goals — is getting high marks from the Department of Corrections and the Department of Veterans Affairs. All of the men have done time; three are veterans.

“This is a mission for me,” said Hal Fergusson, an Air Force veteran and founder of Compass House. “When I say a ‘mission,’ I mean, I’m a spiritual person. We like to expose, but not impose. We’re not faith-based, but if someone finds faith along the way, that’s all for the better. “Our primary goal is to [help] fellows that have served the country and got into some trouble, and either don’t have family or they have a family that doesn’t want them back. The only thing we insist on is you have to be clean and sober.” Getting your life in order after being behind bars is a tall order. When you get out of prison, you

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1-3:30pm Kiwanis Santa’s Workshop Kingston Cove Yacht Club 3:30pm Free Cookies & Hot Cocoa at the Port Live Music by the Jingle Jam Band 5:00pm Santa arrives by Fire Engine Tree Lighting Ceremony BONFIRES • WINE & BEER GARDEN • FOOD VENDORS

The Kingston Chamber will be accepting non-perishable food donations during these events

get a $500 voucher for three months to help you cover your expenses on the outside. As far as help with goal setting, managing finances, and life skills training, you’re pretty much on your own. The advocates at Compass House believe that in order to combat homelessness, the men must be armed with the tools they need to succeed and help them to become contributing members of society. Here’s how it works. The men who lived here learned about Compass House from a counselor before they got out, or from their probation officer. If the resident is a veteran, Val Hawkins, a veterans services officer, helps them get their VA benefits reinstated. “In those first three months, it’s crucial they find the direction they want to go,” said Mike Toro, one of the directors of Compass House. “We help them with coming up with a plan.” House manager Eric Adkins, a native of Cincinnati, is a former Army NCO who served as a cavalry scout in Iraq and is being treated for PTSD. He is a 4.0 student at Olympic College, where he is studying welding. He is one of two Compass House residents that are in school. He went over the daily routine at the house: After morning chores — there’s a chore list — the men go See COMPASS, Page 7

“They’re here to change. By providing them with a stable living environment, we can help them forget the past and move forward on their future.”

— Mike Toro, member, Compass House board of directors


Continued from page 6 to school, or to work, or to job interviews, or meet with corrections officer Debra Giczkowski. They help maintain the house and grounds — one resident grabbed the ladder and cleaned the gutters. Curfew is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., although there’s some flexibility for jobs. Compass House residents and advocates meet every four to five weeks to discuss challenges or concerns; Giczkowski sometimes attends. “If they have an objection, they’re not afraid to say it,” Fergusson said of the men. “And they’re not afraid to make the necessary corrections.” Fergusson made dinner for everybody at the last meeting. There were no complaints about his cooking, he quipped. Caring for the house and grounds is no small task. This dome house is more than 4,000 square feet, with eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, two living areas, two kitchens and a workout room. The chickens provide a steady supply of fresh eggs for the table. The goats provide entertainment; the ram and doe go to the fence for head rubs from visitors, while their two kids romp and chase. Raised beds will be cultivated for gardens; Gunhammer and another resident, Bone Redbird, who is Port Gamble S’Klallam, have plans for a clambake bed. There is no opposition to clambakes. Some computers have arrived, a donation from a government agency; a computer lab will be set up so the men can write their resumes and do job searches. Kim Toro, Mike’s wife and a director of Compass House, said these men are labor-ready, with experience in painting, drywalling, construction and other skills. Compass House residents have been honing their skills with some remodeling at the house, and advocates have connected them with other work. Toro invites other work opportunities where the men can use their skills, and build their resumes and their selfesteem.

Left, Compass House manager Eric Adkins listens as founder Hal Fergusson points out facts about Compass House. Kipp Robertson / Veterans Life

Effort began 5 years ago Fergusson, who owns Geneva Real Estate in Silverdale, got the idea for Compass House about five years ago and began looking for a suitable property. In 2013, this property on Central Valley Road, a little over a mile north of Waaga Way, became available. With its size and setting, it was perfect. Fergusson and three others obtained a leaseoption on it and the work began. Compass House filed for and received designation as a charitable limited liability corporation, or LLC, in Washington state, and has filed for designation as a federal 501c3. The furnishings were provided by donors. Hampton Inn provided

comforters, pillows and towels. In the course of Compass House’s genesis, proponents had built contacts with the Department of Corrections, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Association of Black Veterans, Catholic Community Services in Bremerton, Kitsap Community Resources, and Department of Social and Health Services. Those agencies and organizations provide various support services to Compass House residents. Adam Dahl, a 1994 graduate of North Kitsap High School, moved in to Compass House on Nov. 4, after serving one year and a day at Stafford Creek Corrections Center

in Aberdeen. He’s saving money so he can rejoin the pipelayers union. Compass House is helping him to do that, and more. “What it does is it holds me accountable,” Dahl said of Compass House. “It’s a great group of guys. All of the people here are try-

ing to improve their lives. We’ve got each other’s backs.” Redbird did two years in prison; he learned of Compass House from his counselor and moved in on Aug. 28. He’s eager to work — he did some house painting and horse walking with Gunhammer — and plans to study to become a fish biologist for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. In his spare time, he and Gunhammer drum and sing traditional songs. He makes and paints hand drums. If he can’t work as an iron worker, Gunhammer would like to work as an artist. He displayed intricate beaded work he’s completed — key chains, pendants, pouches — since he’s lived at Compass House. A large, beaded Seahawk pendant gets a lot of attention (sorry — it’s sold). His work will be exhibited at Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Studio in Silverdale in spring. No one taught him to

do this art form; his skill is part of his DNA, the act of beading is spiritual to him. “I center myself when I’m beading,” Gunhammer said. It helps connect him with Ancestors who did this work before him. Fergusson is pleased with what he sees in the men at Compass House — men who need a second chance. “We believe in second and third chances,” Fergusson said. Mike Toro added, “They’re here to change. By providing them with a stable living environment, we can help them forget the past and move forward on their future.” HOW TO HELP: Make a financial contribution. Donate bedding, cleaning supplies, men’s clothing, personal hygiene items, yard tools. Volunteer. Hire a resident. Call 360-620-1366 or 9812058, or email Online:

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CAREERS Puget Sound Naval Shipyard hiring 850 entry-levels BREMERTON — Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Bremerton, released the following statement on Nov. 25 after the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility announced it will hire 850 entry-level workers. “A growing workforce at our shipyard boosts a growing middle-class in our community,” Kilmer said. “This announcement is a great opportunity for folks looking to learn new skills and build a career while earning a quality wage. It’s good news for veterans and servicemembers transitioning to civilian life and looking for a job that builds on their experiences serving on our behalf too.” For a list of jobs available, go to www. EmploymentOpportunities. aspx.

New online tool connects veterans to civilian jobs OLYMPIA — The statewide WorkSource system has launched a new online tool that makes it easier for veterans and exiting service members to find jobs in Washington’s civilian workforce. The Veterans Military Crosswalk on goes beyond other websites that simply translate military skills into possible civilian occupations. Crosswalk converts veterans’ Military Occupation Codes into specific jobs that match their skills and experience. The tool works on mobile devices and can send email notification to users when it finds appro-

Job sources n For jobs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility: mil/shipyards/puget/ page/Employment Opportunities.aspx. n For assistance finding a job in the civilian workforce: n For assistance in becoming a licensed health-care provider:

priate job openings. “I can think of no better way to honor our state’s veterans than to make it easier for them to find jobs when they return home,” said Dale Peinecke, commissioner of the Employment Security Department. “The new job translator is a major service improvement for our veteran customers.”

Seasons Greetings

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Civilian Non-Military Welcome Non-Military Welcome

n Navy Band Northwest concerts: Commander Navy Region Northwest presents “A Gift of Music.” Bring your loved ones for an evening of song featuring Deception Brass, a New Orleans-style brass band; and Passage, a rock band that Josh Kerns of KIRO Radio calls “a contemporary face on the fighting force.” The music performed will feature timeless classics, including “March of the Toys” by Victor Herbert, “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson, and a holiday medley sung by the Navy’s barbershop




Continue in health care field after military service OLYMPIA — The state Department of Health helps veterans transition into civilian jobs in health care. “We owe our veterans a tremendous debt of gratitude,” state Health Secretary John Wiesman said. “This is a valuable way to thank them and to help them get started on their post-military careers, as well as help people in our state get access to health care from skilled, qualified professionals.” The department works with other state agencies and non-profit organizations to match veterans with opportunities and expedite the licensing process for veterans and spouses of military personnel who relocate to Washington. It typically takes two weeks or less to

process an application for most veterans. Staff members also help identify civilian professions that are similar to military occupations and work with education institutions to fill any gaps in training. Military services have a significant presence in Washington, and many people who serve want to live and work in Washington after leaving the armed forces. Those who provide health care must have Washington licenses in order to practice in the state. Veterans and those planning to leave the military who are interested in getting Washington health care licenses may call 360236-4700 or send an email to the agency’s licensing program. More information about the services provided by the agency can be found online, www.


Military Education Program Bremerton, WA

Washington is home to 632,000 military veterans, and their overall unemployment rate for last year was 7.1 percent. During the last program year — July 2013 to June 2014 — WorkSource career centers placed nearly 21,000 veterans into jobs at an average wage of $35,600 per year. Most centers have veteran employment specialists, whose sole job is to help disabled and non-disabled veterans find jobs. WorkSource is a partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that deliver a wide array of employment and training services throughout Washington. To learn more about the Crosswalk, visit, and click Services for Veterans under What’s Inside. You will find the tool in Employment resources on the left.

quartet. Free and open to the public. Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Everett Performing Arts Center. Dec. 10, 7 p.m., Bremerton High School. Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Shelton High School. Dec. 14, 4 p.m., Oak Harbor High School. Dec. 15, 7 p.m., Town Hall, Seattle. Online: www.facebook. com/navybandnorthwest

DEC. 7 n 21st annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony, 1 p.m., Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport’s Jack Murdock Auditorium. The event commemorates the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, triggering the United States’ engagement in World War II. Schedule: Capt. Dave Kohnke, commander of NUWC Keyport, historical

review of the attack; comments from Pearl Harbor survivors; performances by Navy Band Northwest; reception in the museum lobby. Free and open to the public.

DEC. 11 n Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board meeting, 5:30 p.m., Silverdale Community Center Evergreen Room. Online: meetinginfo.htm

DEC. 11-12 n Fourth annual Seattle Stand Down, Dec. 11, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 12, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mitchell Activity Center, Seattle Central College, 1718 Broadway, Seattle. Online: www.theseattle

DEC. 13 n National Wreaths Across America Remembrance Ceremony, 9 a.m., Washington Veterans Home Cemetery, 900 block of Olney Ave. SE, Port Orchard. To sponsor a wreath, go to www. (the site code for Retsil is WAWVHR). Contact: Sean, 360-792-6941,

MARCH 28 n Military Appreciation Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Services and resources from more than 100 organizations; fun, games and entertainment for children; and assistance for veterans. Online: veterans/VA.htm

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BENEFITS, ETC. Vouchers will help homeless vets find stable housing Eleven housing agencies in Washington state — including four in this region — will receive 335 housing vouchers to help homeless veterans obtain stable housing. The vouchers are part of the Supportive Housing Program of the U.S. departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs. Through the program, homeless veterans receive vouchers through HUD and case management and services through the VA. “Each one of these vouchers represents a step toward finding a permanent home for someone who sacrificed for our nation, but is struggling to find stable housing,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said in an announcement of the vouchers’ availability. Murray’s office said the voucher program helped decrease veteran homelessness 33 percent nationwide since 2010. Public housing agencies in this region that will receive vouchers, with the VA medical center and number and value of vouchers issued: n King County Housing Authority, VA Puget Sound Health

Care System/Seattle: 92 vouchers, $745,134. n Seattle Housing Authority, VA Puget Sound Health Care System/Seattle: 69 vouchers, $485,738. n Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma, VA Puget Sound Health Care System/American Lake: 23 vouchers, $135,665. n Housing Authority of Thurston County, VA Puget Sound Health Care System/American Lake: 17 vouchers, $97,951.

Option sent to veterans waiting 30+ days for care The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began mailing Veterans Choice Cards on Nov. 17 to veterans waiting more than 30 days from their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician for an appointment at a VA facility. “VA continues to focus on implementation of this new temporary benefit so that veterans receive the timely quality care they need in a way that reduces confusion and inefficiencies,” VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald wrote in an open letter to veterans announcing the implementation of the Choice Card

program. The Choice Program is part of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, enacted in fall to enable VA to meet the demand for veterans’ health care in the short-term. Through this initiative, VA medical centers have increased access to care inside and outside of VA, added more clinic hours and work days, deployed mobile medical units, and shared their best practices from VA’s high-performing facilities throughout the organization. According to VA, significant improvements have resulted nationally: n In the past four months, the number of appointments increased 1.2 million over the same period last year. n New patient Primary Care wait time decreased 18 percent. n 98 percent of appointments have been completed within 30 days of the veterans’ preferred date or the date determined to be medically necessary by a physician. n 1.1 million non-VA care authorizations have been made, a 47 percent increase over the same period last year. n Clinic hours in primary and specialty care have increased, and weekend and evening clinics at VA medical centers have been

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Hit a rough patch? Veterans Assistance Fund can help The Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans in financial crisis. Your local Veteran Service Officer is an expert on applying to the county’s Veterans Assistance Fund. The service officer’s role

is to help you prepare your application and to serve as your advocate if needed. Step one: Ask the service officer if you might be eligible for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the state Department of Veterans Affairs, or through local posts or chapters of veteran service organizations. Step two: Ask the service officer to help you apply to the county assistance fund. The service officer will ask you to provide required written documentation to support your request. The more documentation you can provide, the faster your application can be processed. You could receive up to $900 in services, and you might be eligible for services at other agencies.

If you are unemployed, not collecting unemployment, and able to work, you will need to register with the Veterans Jobs Service Section at the WorkSource office at 1300 Sylvan Way in Bremerton. WorkSource will give you documentation to prove you have registered with them. You do not need to register with WorkSource if you have been determined by a state or federal agency to be fully disabled, you are temporarily disabled for 30 or more days, you are collecting Social Security, or you are enrolled in an accredited education program. To start the application process, see your local Veterans Service Office (see list on page 4).

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After the war, Burt Boyd finally got to be a sailor


urt Boyd always thought he’d be a Navy man. “When I was drafted, I didn’t expect to pass the eye exam to qualify for the Navy,” Boyd said. “But I wanted to. So by squinting and a bit of memorizing, I did manage to pass. “I stood in line waiting assignment to the Navy, but before they got to me, they filled their quota. They told us the rest of us would be assigned to the Army.” That was in early 1944 and, by March, Boyd was headed to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. “I remember the red clay,” he said. “When it was wet, it stuck to our shoes.” His other memory: two hills “aptly named Misery and Agony, which we had to march over to reach the training areas.” There, he and other soldiers were instructed in the M1 Garand rifle, the carbine, the grease gun (a 45 mm handheld machine gun) and the 30 mm and 50 mm machine guns. “What I recall the most was that there was no ear protection,” he said. From there, he was selected to attend the Armored Force School for communications. “While I was in high school at North Kitsap High, I got my amateur radio license,” he said. “So it was an easy course for me to complete.” Soon, he got orders to go to Fort Meade, Maryland, for processing for overseas duty. “It was there that I had Thanksgiving Day dinner in 1944,” he said. Inside a black scrapbook, there it is — the menu for the day, calling for turkey and all the trimmings. Boyd’s notebook is a collection of memorabilia from his service days. Official duty assignment orders. Photos of him in

uniform. Holiday menus. German Deutschmarks and currency from France. It’s all there, along with notes he made when he had time. “We weren’t supposed to keep a diary,” he said of his days in the war. “But when I could, I’d write things down.” His next move was to his points of embarkation, Camp Shanks and Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York. He spent Christmas aboard the MS Volendam, a Dutch ocean liner converted to a troop ship and leased to the U.S. by the British. “When I went aboard, I so looked forward to seeing the Statue of Liberty,” he said. “But we were in the middle of the convoy and all I could see from one horizon to the other was ships.” The food, he said, was “poor.” It wasn’t until GI cooks came aboard to take over the mess that it improved. “And there were British barbers on the ship. They’d stop in the afternoon for tea. That really upset those who were waiting in line for a haircut.” The voyage to Le Havre, France, took 12 days. There were many rough days at sea, Boyd said. “We disembarked by climbing down rope ladders into personnel landing craft to reach shore,” he said. “The weather was freezing and we had only cots and tents.” Soon they went by train to Fountainebleau, south of Paris. It was a 12-hour ride. When they got there, they were able to take showers and get fresh uniforms. Then they traveled to Metz, France, where Boyd and about 120 others were assigned to the 707th Tank Battalion. The 707th provided armored support for the infantry. In January 1945, Boyd



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At 90, World War II veteran Burt Boyd still leads an active life. He is a volunteer at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport. Boyd served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. Post-war, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. Left: Leslie Kelly / Right: Burt Boyd became a member of Headquarters Company as a radio operator. He was sent to Epernay, France, for training and then the battalion was sent to meet the 3rd Army. “We crossed the Rhine on a pontoon bridge at St. Goar, the site of the legendary Lorelei,” he said. By April, he was in Eisennach, and then Gotha, and then passed through Ohrdruf. He saw other cities and then, in the first part of May, the advance was halted. “Except for isolated minor combat, the war ended there,” he said. “The surrender on May 8, a few days later, was just another day for us.” Boyd recalled that some of the German soldiers surrendered and volun-

teered to join the U.S. Army. “They had heard that as soon as Germany surrendered, the Russians and Allies were going to fight each other,” he said. “When the war ended, we were in the Russian zone of occupation. As we departed, the Germans begged us not to leave.” His battalion then got orders to Nuremberg to commence occupation duties. “There was a policy of non-fraternization, which meant we were to snub German citizens,” he said. “If we were seen talking to civilians, we could be picked up by military police.” Following that, Boyd and others who had a short time left in the service were taken to one of the camps near Le Havre.

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“The camps were named after cigarettes,” he said. “My destination was Camp Lucky Strike … It was there that we learned that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, leading to the end of hostilities in Japan.” Boyd got to see many processing depots — Namur, Belgium, Frankfurt, and finally, a Signal Service Battalion in Liege, Belgium. “This was the best I ever had it,” he said. “Two hours of duty every other night, and the rest was free time.” It was too good to last. He was sent to Le Havre where demobilizing was happening. He was then sent to the Transatlantic Cable head attachment on

the west coast of France. “When I arrived, I was made a mess sergeant,” he said. “Two French cooks prepared the meals, but when they were caught stealing flour, two German POWs took their places.” For a time he served as a motor pool sergeant and then, in May 1946, he left for home — Keyport, where he, his mother and brother had moved in 1937. After his father died, when Boyd was 12, his mother, who was a stenographer, learned of jobs at Keyport. “My family was from Spokane and we lived in Wenatchee,” he said. “We lived in Seattle when my father was a salesman, and then, after he died, in Bellingham. Washington has always been home.” Right out of high school, Boyd took the civil service exam and scored well. He received an apprenticeship as a machinist at the shipyard in Bremerton. That was interrupted when he turned 19 and was drafted. When he returned in summer 1946, he used the GI Bill to take classes at Olympic College, which was in its first year. “We had our classes at the high school,” he said. “There weren’t any buildings on the OC campus yet.”

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A page from Burt Boyd’s World War II scrapbook.

Continued from page 11 He finished degrees in education and psychology at what was then Western Washington College in Bellingham in 1951. “I was counseled to get out of engineering because there were no jobs,” he said. “They told me that there were jobs in teaching.” He taught two years in junior high. Then he got his master’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon. “I decided that my real interest was in mechanics,” he said. “So I came back to Keyport.” At that time there was a critical shortage of machinists. He achieved a journeyman rating and spent years there as an estimator, preparing bids for government contracts. He retired in 1980, but later worked for a local company as a

Leslie Kelly

financial analyst. While in college, Boyd finally did serve in the Navy, as a reservist for five years. “A couple of classmates talked me into it,” he said. “And when it came time to take a (duty) cruise, I was the only one who showed up.” He and his wife, Doris, married in 1957. They now live in Silverdale at The Cottages retirement community. They have three children. Today, at 90, Boyd is well known at the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport, where he’s

been a volunteer for many years. In his black scrapbook, there are pages of awards given to him for his hours of service to the museum. It isn’t often that he gets out his mementos of his war days and his military service. But when he does, he’s taken back to a time when life wasn’t easy. “It was a hard time,” he said. “Everything, everywhere was rubble. There was so much destruction.” As for his regrets: He has not seen the Statue of Liberty.


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PORT ORCHARD — The Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board is accepting applications for several new members. One position is vacant. Five positions have terms that end on Dec. 31. The Veterans Advisory Board is composed of 17 volunteers from throughout the county who are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners for one-, two-, or three-year terms. All members must be veterans of military or

merchant marine service. A simple majority of the council shall be members of local chapters of national recognized veterans organizations. The Veterans Advisory Board advises the Board of County Commissioners on the needs of local indigent veterans, resources available to local indigent veterans, and programs that could benefit the needs of local indigent veterans and their families. The Veterans Advisory

Board also sends informational emails to veterans; co-produces spring and fall stand downs; and, on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, co-hosts The Unforgotten, Run to Tahoma, in which the remains of deceased veterans are escorted to Tahoma National Cemetery. To apply for appointment, go to VABoard.htm


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Kitsap Veterans Life, December 05, 2014  

December 05, 2014 edition of the Kitsap Veterans Life

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