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FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2013

50 years later Korean War veteran Bobbie Lee Kleckley receives the Korean War Service Medal from Congressman Patrick Murphy during ceremonies held Monday, May 27 at the American Legion Post #171 in Fort Pierce.

Mitch Kloorfain chief photographer

Veterans to gain new nursing home Patrick McCallister For Veteran voice

Florida will likely get a new veterans’ nursing home in the next

few years, but it’ll be losing a passionate advocate for veterans at the State Capitol next month. Jim Brodie, director of legislative and cabinet affairs for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs,

told the Florida Veterans Council that the state legislature approved a study to see where best to build a new veterans’ home. That was at the council’s last regular meeting, Thursday, May 16. Funding for the study will be available after July 1, when the state begins its 2013-2014 fiscal year. “We were pleased the study budget was approved,” Brodie told council members at the meeting. He said that a number of bills the state veterans department favored passed, too. “Your Department of Veterans

Affairs had a very good session,” Brodie said at the meeting. Florida’s 60-day legislative session ended on Friday, May 3. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs is separate from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Among other things, the state department operates six nursing homes with 120 beds each, and an assisted living facility with 150. Steve Murray, communications director, said that the homes stay near capacity. “I think everyone will agree

See NURSING page 8


FDVA legislative director, Jim Brodie, retires

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Veteran Voice is a weekly publication designed to provide information to and about veterans to veterans and to the broader community. Veterans are an integral part of their Florida communities, which currently have individual organizations of their own, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America and many other groups with a narrow focus, but no convenient way to connect to a wider population of veterans and to the community in general within a limited geographic area, their community. The mission of Veteran Voice is to publish a weekly source of information that will provide, in one place, a listing of resources available to veterans, articles about changes in policies or organizations affecting veterans and events of interest to veterans as well as articles about veterans of interest to the general public. Veteran Voice LLC is organized as a partnership of experienced newspaper executives with an interest in veterans and in the communities of Florida veterans and friends. Veteran Voice is a start-up intended to address a perceived lack of information readily available to veterans on programs and policies affecting them and objective reporting of veteran affairs to the public. To our knowledge, and based on comments from leaders of local veterans organizations, there was no media or website currently meeting this need until the launch of Veteran Voice. We hope you agree, and will support this publication with your subscription. Without subscriptions there will be a limited number of people we can help, without which this mission will not be realized. As part of our commitment to supporting local veteran communities, we will donate 10 percent of our profits each quarter to qualified veteran charities recommended by you, our readers and subscribers. Please let us know what you think by emailing or mailing your comments to us at 1919 S.W. South Macedo Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.

County Veterans Service Officers St. Lucie County, Donna Carlsen Phone: (772) 337-5670 Fax: (772) 337-5678 Dorothy J. Conrad Building (formerly the Walton Road Annex Bldg.) 1664 S.E. Walton Road, Suite 205 Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 By appointment Mon., Tues, Thurs, Fri * 8:30 am-4:30 pm Wed * 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Lucie County Community Services Bldg. (Corner of Avenue D and 7th Street) 437 N. Seventh St., Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Walk-ins Mon. and Fri. * 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Brevard Veteran’s Services Office 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Bldg. B, Suite 102, Viera, FL 32940 Office: (321) 633-2012 Fax: (321) 637-5432 Mon., Tues. and Thurs., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed. and Fri, 8 a.m.-noon Manager: Glenn McGuffie Indian River County Joel Herman Vero Beach 2525 St. Lucie Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Ph: (772) 226-1499 Fax: (772) 770-5038 Sebastian Square 11602 U.S. 1, Sebastian, FL 32958 Ph: (772) 589-6597 Fax: (772) 581-4988

Veteran Voice The Voice of Experience

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Martin County Tony Reese, Veterans Service Office Supervisor Nick Ciotti, Veterans Service Officer (772) 288-5448 Veterans Services Office Martin County Community Services 435 S.E. Flagler Ave., Stuart, FL 34994 Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. VA Life Insurance Ctr., Phil., PA 1-800-669-8477 VA Regional Office - 1-800-827-1000 VA Medical Ctr, W. Palm Beach 1-800-972-8262 Pharmacy, VA Medical Center 1-800-317-8387 Military Retired Pay Activities, Cleveland, OH - (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force ONLY) 1-800-321-1080 Military Retired Pay Activities, Topeka, KS - (Coast Guard ONLY) 1-800-772-8724 Survivor Benefits (SBP), Denver, CO - 1-800-435-3396 Stuart VA Clinic - (772) 288-0304 Okeechobee County Veterans Services office (863) 763-6441, Ext 5. Fax: (863) 763-0118. Orlando VA Medical Cente 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, FL 32803 (407) 629-1599 or (800) 922-7521 Telephone Care (407) 599-1404 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. - Fri. (800) 645-6895 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mon - Fri (321) 637-3625

West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center 7305 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-8262 or (800) 972-8262 Telephone Care (561) 422-6838 (866) 383-9036 Open 24 hours - 7 days Viera VA Outpatient Clinic 2900 Veterans Way, Viera, FL 32940 Phone: (321) 637-3788 1 (877) 878-8387 Mon. - Fri. - 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. St Lucie County PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) Outpatient Program 126 S.W. Chamber Court, Port St Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 878-7876 Fort Pierce Community Based Outpatient Clinic 727 North U.S. 1, Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Phone: (772) 595-5150 Fax: (772) 595-6560 St Lucie Community Based Outpatient Clinic 128 S.W. Chamber Court, Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 344-9288 Stuart Community Based Outpatient Clinic 3501 S E Willoughby Boulevard, Stuart, FL 34997 Phone: (772) 288-0304 Fax: (772) 288-1371 Vero Beach Community Based Outpatient Clinic 372 17th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Phone: (772) 299-4623 Fax: (772) 299-4632

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A roadside bomb gave Port St. Lucie’s Sgt. Michael Burke catastrophic injuries in Operation Iraqi Freedom back in 2007. But the Military Warriors Support Foundation recently gave him a life-changing home through its Home 4 Wounded Heroes program. Judd Kennedy, media and outreach coordinator for the foundation, said it’s not that the home is mortgage-free which makes it life-changing. “Not only are they awarded the home, but they’re enrolled into the financial mentoring program,” he said. It’s a personalized financial and family mentoring program that last three years. At the end of the three years, the foundation turns

It’s a personalized financial and family mentoring program that last three years. At the end of the three years, the foundation turns over the property to the resident veterans. Kennedy said that so far, no veteran has failed to complete the mentoring successfully. “That’s one of the biggest pieces of our program,” Kennedy said. “We’re not giving them a home and running away. We want to help them take baby steps before they start running.” over the property to the resident veterans. Kennedy said that so far, no veteran has failed to complete the mentoring successfully. “That’s one of the biggest pieces of our program,” Kennedy said. “We’re not giving them a home and running away. We want to help them take baby steps before they start running.” Kennedy said the foundation has another home in Port St. Lucie it’ll soon give to a veteran who was catastrophically injured in either operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom, or to a widowed spouse through its Homes 4 Gold

Stars. “It’s a two-story, single-family home with a little over 1,800 square feet of living space,” he said. “It’s three bedroom, twoand-a-half bath, with a one-car attached garage.” In a gated community with homeowner association fees. Kennedy said that mortgage-free doesn’t mean cost-free, which is why the financial mentoring is an important part of the program. Additionally, the foundation has homes to give in Rockledge,

See HOMES page 4

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Military warriors support foundation has area homes to give OEF/OIF veterans


Businessman gives back in big and little ways Shelley Koppel Staff writer

STUART — There are big acts of philanthropy and there are smaller ones. Businessman Todd Harris understands the importance of both. Harris is the owner of two Crown Car Care locations, in Palm City and Stuart, and of Crown Collision Center in Palm City. He is known for his sponsorship of the Stop the Tears Golf Tournament, benefiting United for Families; as the primary sponsor of Stuart’s fireworks display on July 4th; and as a supporter of veterans. At last year’s Stuart Air Show, he gave away a minivan to a disabled vet. Harris recently undertook the sponsorship of the Riverwalk Concert Series in downtown Stuart. Less well-known is the fact that his business, which includes airbrush work, will customize a prosthetic limb at no charge. It’s a smaller act of philanthropy but it means a great deal to the person who receives it. It’s just an idea he came up with. “They want to put a tattoo or picture of someone they love on it,” Harris said. For Harris, each of these sponsorships and acts of giving are a way of being part of the community. “All three of my businesses are in Martin County,” he said. “I feel that my success in life and in my world is attributable to the customers that come to my shops. I

Photo courtesy of Todd Harris Mark Smith (L) of Dangerous Curves, a division of Crown Car Care, and Todd Harris (r) owner of Crown Car Care, stand with Douglas Winterhalter, a veteran who received a van donated by Crown Car Care at the 2012 Stuart Air Show. learned as a boy, the minute you strike success, you give back, and give back hard. It’s something I do and something my parents did. Christians give back. “Success and philanthropy go hand-in-hand, one with the other. If you have one without the other, that one will be short-

veteran voice The Voice of Experience

Veteran Voice is a newspaper for veterans, active military, their families and their friends. We are published weekly by Veteran Voice, LLC. 1919 SW South Macedo Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984 (772) 204-2409 Office • (772) 204-2940 Fax

SUBSCRIBE TODAY $18 YEAR (52 weeks) $12 Veterans or Active Military

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lived.” Harris grew up in Illinois and he has a degree from the University of Illinois in business administration. He also has an M.B.A from Nova Southeastern University. His support for United for Families stems from his own history. He was adopted and his son was,

as well. “United for Families is an organization that helps foster children and adoptions,” he said. “It’s about getting children placed in good homes. They help children.

See HARRIS page 6

HOMES from page 3 Cocoa, Palm Bay and about a half dozen other Florida cities. Most are in the Central Florida area. Kennedy said all were donated by financial institutions. The foundation renovates the donated properties and homes, and posts them on its website,, for applications. Kennedy said a selection committee reviews applications, requests supporting documentation when needed, then decides who to award the homes based on a number of criteria. An important one is local support mechanisms for a particular veteran and his or her family. “We don’t want to put a family in a home that would be out in the middle of nowhere for them,” he said. For example, not all of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities are equipped to handle the care needs of those with spinal-cord injuries. Kennedy said it would do a spinal-cord injured veteran little good to give him or her a home far from the centers that can. Alternately, it’d do a family little good to move it far from other family members unless it’s for something such as being closer to needed medical services. There’s another thing applying veterans need to know. “They cannot currently have a mortgage,” Kennedy said. “We’re not a mortgage-forgiveness program.” Nationally, the foundation has given 320 homes since March 2010. “Our goal is to award more than 1,100 by the end of 2015,” Kennedy said. Burke was unavailable to comment by press time.

Photo courtesy of the Brevard Achievement Center Edward Johnson Jr. was awarded the 2012 AbilityOne Program Employee Award: Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities. The former infantryman sustained injuries from a sniper’s bullet and several roadside bomb attacks during his service in Iraq in 2006, leaving him with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Brevard Achievement Center associate wins national award FOR VETERAN VOICE

ROCKLEDGE — Brevard Achievement Center is proud to announce that associate and Wounded Warrior, Edward Johnson Jr., received the 2012 AbilityOne Program Employee Award: Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities at the NISH/AbilityOne national conference held in San Antonio, on May 8. The annual award is given to honor a veteran with significant disabilities who has shown outstanding achievement in his or her work life. Johnson, a 1991 graduate of Cocoa High School and veteran of the United States Army, was selected by two judging panels from a pool of 50,000 applicants. Johnson’s story began in Iraq in 2006, when a sniper’s bullet made a clean entry through his helmet, grazed his scalp and caused him to lose consciousness and feel disoriented for several days. Five days after the incident, however, Johnson was sent back to the front lines. Over the next three years, Johnson suffered additional injuries from three separate roadside bomb attacks. The combination of his injuries finally led doctors to diagnose him with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and release him from active duty. Re-entering civilian life was not easy for Johnson as he struggled with the effects of his TBI and PTSD. Watching him suffer at home, Johnson’s wife, Serena, took matters into her own hands

“I was fighting a lot of demons when I returned from combat. If I hadn’t found Brevard Achievement Center, I’d probably still be at home sitting on the couch. But, thanks to the overwhelming support I’ve received from my supervisors and colleagues at BAC, I’ve been able to contribute to my family again and feel like a productive member of society.” Edward Johnson Jr. and got him admitted into the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Benning, Ga. For a year, Johnson, his wife and son lived at Fort Benning while he received the care he needed. When they returned to Brevard, however, life still wasn’t the same. “I felt completely alone and not normal,” said Johnson. “I didn’t want to go anywhere but my house.” Fortunately, Johnson’s wife heard about Brevard Achievement Center’s programs and services that help people with disabilities learn to live independently. In April 2012, Johnson joined the ranks of the custodial staff at Patrick Air Force Base through the Achievement Center’s AbilityOne program. Today, he is a changed man. “I was fighting a lot of demons when I returned from combat,” said Johnson. “If I hadn’t found Brevard Achievement Center,

See EDWARDS page 8

Pancakes and VA Seminar in Honor of Flag Day Join The Brennity at Port St. Lucie on Flag Day as we celebrate with pancakes and a Veterans Aid and Attendance presentation! Learn about your pension benefits, know what is available, how to qualify and help with assistance. Michael Fowler, Attorney at Law, will be on site with all the details. The ROTC will also visit our community and pay respect to the flag.

Friday, June 14 8:30 a.m. For BreakFast 9:15 a.m. For seminar RSVP to (772) 345-2709

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Photo courtesy of Todd Harris This customized van was donated in 2012 to vet Douglas Winterhalter by Todd Harris of Crown Car Care. Todd Harris of Crown Car Care, Michael Roberts of the Road to Victory Museum and Mark Smith of Dangerous Curves pose with signatures from veterans who signed the replica of the Memphis Belle. Crown Car Care had the replica made for the 2010 Stuart Air Show. The signed replica has been taken to libraries, banks and other places for veterans to come and sign it. It will eventually be placed at the Road to Victory Museum.

Photo courtesy of Todd Harris Todd Harris of Crown Car Care and Mark Smith of Dangerous Curves with a picture of the customized hood of the van Crown Car Care donated to vet Douglas Winterhalter.

HARRIS from page 4

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Children can’t help themselves. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting.” Harris’ parents, Robert and Connie Harris, live in Stuart and are also known for philanthropy. Robert Harris served in the Korean War, and his son has always been interested in veterans’ issues. He raises money for the Honor Flight that takes veterans to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., and he worked with the Road to Victory Museum to donate the van last year at the Air Show. He will be donating another vehicle this year. His concern comes from another deeply held belief. “I love my country,” he said. “Period.”

Harris’ philanthropy in one area often leads to another. His sponsorship of the free Riverwalk Concert Series grew out of his sponsorship of the fireworks display. “My relationship with the Downtown Business Association and Ron Hart started two years ago,” he said. “He’s involved with the fireworks and with the music. He approached me about sponsoring the series and I told him I would.” Harris has a goal of giving away 1/3 of what he makes. He works hard, but work is not his sole priority. “Lately my world has been my family and my business,” he said. “It’s country, God and family.” It’s a formula that has served him and the community well.


Veteran Voice, our weekly subscription newspaper for veterans and the military minded, is looking for a hard working, dedicated and SMART individual to help take this paper to the next level. Serving a four county area from Brevard south to Martin Co. We need a professional “jack of all trades” to help promote this publication, generate subscriptions and editorial submissions, sales leads, etc. Full time plus position, flexible schedule. Send a resume or letter to


Photo courtesy of Todd Harris


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JOHNSON from page 5 I’d probably still be at home sitting on the couch. But, thanks to the overwhelming support I’ve received from my supervisors and colleagues at BAC, I’ve been able to contribute to my family again and feel like a productive member of society.” In addition to winning the 2012 AbilityOne Program Employee Award: Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities, Johnson has received 15 commendations for his military service, including the Purple Heart. Founded in 1968, Brevard Achievement Center employs over 6,000 adults with disabilities throughout Florida and in Puerto Rico through its many programs and services, including AbilityOne. For more information about the NISH/AbilityOne program, visit www. To learn more about BAC, visit


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that there is a need for additional state veterans’ homes in Florida,” he said in a phone interview after the meeting. “Especially in Florida where you have a lot of older World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans.” Murray said Vietnam-era veterans are about 449,000 of the state’s 1.6 million veterans. A state veterans’ nursing home needs about 30 to 40 acres. Brodie said the state’s 67 counties will have chances to offer the FDVA donated land to build on. Murray said that where the proposed new facility might be built is beyond speculation until a study is done. “It’ll look through Florida and where we have homes and don’t have homes, look at the population based on the (2010) census, and get back with us on the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 places.” The Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home, St. Augustine, opened in 2010. That’s the latest addition to the state’s veterans’ homes network. The closest to the Space and Treasure coasts are the Emory L. Bennett State Veterans’ Nursing Home, Daytona Beach, and the Alexander “Sandy” Nininger State Veterans’ Nursing Home, Pembroke Pines. The homes program is the FDVA’s largest budget item. “It is more than 90 percent of our budget and 90 percent of our personnel,” Murray said in a previous interview. “All of that runs from trust funds. No general revenue goes to the homes.” The homes program is financed through a mixture of federal VA, Medicare, Medicaid, insurance and private dollars. When Floridians purchase military-related specialty plates for their automobiles, they help fund the homes. The plates range from an extra $15 to $20, which goes into the State Homes for Veterans Trust Fund. For example, the Florida Salutes Veterans tag raised

$266,550 in fiscal year 20102011, according to a Florida Department of Revenue spokesperson. Murray said last fiscal year, the tags raised about $2 million for the nursing homes. Brodie told the veterans council that the FDVA now has about $46.7 million in trust, and in the last session the legislature expanded its ability to use some of those dollars for constructing a new home. In the past, the federal government has paid 65 percent of the construction cost and the state used general revenue for its share. “This session there was a major reinterpretation of the use of trust funds to support the FDVA,” Brodie said. He added, “We are pleased with the new broad interpretation.” The Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home cost about $31 million to construct, according to Murray. He said the state budgeted $100,000 for the study. Brodie also told the council that of 42 veterans-related filed bills in the last state legislative session, 11 passed. He said seven were “substantive,” three ceremonial, and one technical. Among the bills that passed was one toughening regulations against groups misrepresenting themselves as veterans organizations when seeking donations. One that didn’t pass would have given veterans in-state tuition rates at Florida’s public universities and colleges. “I’m told this bill will be coming back,” Brodie said. This was Brodie’s last legislative session representing the veterans department. The former state legislator is retiring in June. He politely declined interviewing for a Veteran Voice story about him. Murray said Brodie felt there were more important people and stories to cover. Veteran Voice thanks Brodie for his work for veterans and wishes him a happy retirement.


Red, white and blue tribute

Mitch Kloorfain/chief photographer Ida Damesimo of the Hobe Sound Post 10132 & Auxiliary paraded through the Stuart Memorial Day parade Monday, May 27.

Mitch Kloorfain/chief photographer Lou Palumbo and Irena Gannon of Port St. Lucie cheer the veterans that paraded along southeast Ocean Boulevard during the annual Stuart Memorial Day parade Monday, May 27.

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CLUES ACROSS 1. 007 Connery 5. Presides over meetings (abbr.) 9. Trefoil 10. Father of Paris 12. Asian nut for chewing 13. Machine gun from the air 16. The communion table 17. His razor 18. Father 19. Doctor of philosophy 22. Cologne 23. Black tropical Am. cuckoo 24. Diversifies 28. Razor author 14th C 31. Maple sugar fluid 32. A corp.’s first stock offer to the public 34. The premier bike race 42. References 43. Extremely high frequency 44. Actress Farrow 46. Not good 47. State of annoyance 48. S. China seaport 51. Bengal quince 52. Provide the means 54. A large and imposing house 55. Excessively fat 57. Spars 58. Former wives 59. Repeat CLUES DOWN 1. Podetiums

2. Frankenberg river 3. Feel ill 4. 12th state 5. “Anything Goes” author’s initials 6. Daily time units (abbr.) 7. Cagiva __: motorcycle 8. Drug agent (slang) 9. Study of poetic meter 11. Ceremonial staffs 12. Russian pancake served with caviar 14. Supervises flying 15. Large Australian flightless bird 16. As fast as can be done (abbr.) 19. Before 20. Hall of Fame (abbr.) 21. Constitution Hall org. 24. Atomic #35 25. Ducktail hairstyle


26. Independent ruler 27. Oval water scorpion 29. Modern London Gallery 30. On top 33. Identicalness 35. 2002 Olympic state 36. Tease or ridicule 37. Arrived extinct 38. Opposite of begin 39. Ol’ Blue Eye’s initials 40. South Am. nation 41. Type of salamander 42. S. China seaport 44. Woman (French) 45. 007’s Flemming 47. ___ Domingo 49. A French abbot 50. Gorse genus 51. An uproarious party 53. Point midway between E and SE 54. A waterproof raincoat 56. Spanish be 57. Of I

Photo courtesy of Bill Paterson Republican Party of St. Lucie County Precinct captain, Teresa Shelton, is appointed chairman of Veterans Affairs Committee by Republican Party chairman Bill Paterson. Captain Shelton is a retired Navy nurse who lives in Tradition Village in Port St. Lucie. She is a strong advocate for veterans and a dedicated volunteer at the VA Hospital in West Palm Beach.

Sunday, June 9th 2013 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center





-Real Estate Industry Exhibitors -Speakers & Staff on hand: Realtors, Lenders, Builders, Inspectors, City Building and Code Departments, Property Appraisers offices, Chambers of Commerce, etc. -Get Pre-Approved for mortgages -Refreshments, Giveaways -and much MORE…



Return greetings

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Mitch Kloorfain/chief photographer U.S. Navy veteran George Mayer and his escort, Mitzi Huffman, both of Fort Pierce were welcomed home by more than 1,000 people including Gayle Forster of Palm City during the return of Honor Flight at Palm Beach International Airport Saturday, May 25. Honor Flight brings veterans on a one day trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials built for the wars they served.

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August 1st


Veteran Voice 5-31-2013  

Veterans to gain new nursing home, Military warriors support foundation has area homes to give OEF/OIF veterans, Businessman gives back in b...

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