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Capital Journal ď ś November 11, 2013


Sometimes the Largest Sacrifices are the Small Ones... We believe that our servicemen and women have one of the most difficult and important jobs in the world. We support organizations nationwide and we are taking the lead on many projects designed specifically ranging from adopting families whose loved ones are deployed to honoring local heroes on Walls of Honor inside Walmart Stores. Veterans Day ď ś 1

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Veterans Day 2013 | A special publication of the Capital Journal

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All Veterans and Active Service Members,

Veterans, as a thought in the collective conscious, are often grouped together as one monolithic force. Those who fought in any armed conflict or just put on the uniform are veterans. It sounds simple. However, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 75,930 veterans living in South Dakota who have fought in five distinct conflicts. That includes 4,383 who fought in World War II and another 7,494 in Korea. Also, 25,543 fought in Vietnam and 24,794 in the Persian Gulf conflicts of the past 20 years. And then there are more than 16,000 peacetime veterans.

Thank You

for your Service & Sacrifice

Thank You Veterans


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Capital Journal  November 11, 2013



Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

The sharp-eyed observer will notice those numbers don’t add up to 75,930. That’s because there’s a contingent of roughly 3,000 veterans who have fought in more than one conflict. With so many former soldiers spread across through so many eras and conditions, the challenges they face now are understandably different. Below are just three such issues select veterans groups today are up against and what stated and federal departments of veterans affairs are doing to help. They aren’t comprehensive, and much more could be said. Veterans are encouraged to contact their local VA office to find out what programs or benefits are available to them.


Above and facing page: Veterans participate in the Central South Dakota Honor Trip from Pierre to Washington D.C. in 2010 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. “veterans” equates only with “men.” “As a whole they are invisible, they don’t think of them-

been male-dominated organizations, where in the past women were always spouses and auxiliaries, McGrath said.



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not feel comfortable in organizations such as American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars because they have long

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Veterans Day  3

Salutes our Veterans Thank you for your Service

selves as veterans,” she said. Reaching out to them has also been a challenge because of that perspective. Many do


As the armed services have modernized, the VA has started to address the needs of the growing number of female veterans returning from combat. Today 18 percent of active eduty service members are ewomen and in South Dakota -alone there are 7,675 female veterans. McGrath, a s Charlotte awomen veterans program smanager with the Sioux Falls nVA, said many female soldiers eoften have the same mistaknen impression as a lot of the general public that the term

Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

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1st Row (L-R) EN2 Hank Kosters (RET), C/M Albert Zarecky (RET), SGT Clifford Schweigert (RET), COL John Dew

(L-R) CPL Herbert Davis (RET), PO3 Harry Simmons (RET), 1st LT Jack Robinson (RET), LTC Mark Venner (RET) 3r

Hanson (RET), MSG Don Podhradsky (RET) 4th Row (L-R) SSG Hal Rumpca (RET), RM2 Harvey Hill (RET), E-7 SS

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Zilverberg (RET), SPEC Bob Lester (RET), SPEC Jim Lester (RET) 8th Row (L-R) EN2 Claire Peschong , SPEC Erin D

R) PFC Kelley Trebesch, 2LT Travis Tipton, MAJ Dave Moore, SSG Trever Gates, SSG David Trautman 11th Flag R Dick Huber, RET)

Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

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well (RET), SGT Royce Loesch (RET), CDR Gerald Sylva (RET), CPT Theodore Burge (RET), CPL William J. Williams (RET) 2nd Row

rd Row (L-R) SSG Bob Voeltz (RET), PVC John Burrows (RET), SSG Charlie Walker (RET), SGT William Regynski (RET), SSG Palmer

S Harvey Crow (RET), A1C Glenn Sandal (RET), SGT Conrad Otterness (RET) 5th Row (L-R) CPL Don VanBuskirk (RET), CPL

Dreis , HM3 Richard Thompson JR. 9th Row (L-R) SSG Justin Flottmeyer, SFC Jackie Bierman, SSG Nathan Ford 10th Row (L-

Row (L-R) MSG Greg Hall (RET), SPC Leroy Klinger (RET), L-CPL John Fette (RET), PFC Chuck Humphrey (RET) Not Pictured (CPL

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Veterans Day  5

), SGT Loren Vilhauer (RET), SPEC Terry Tople (RET) 7th Row (L-R) SGT Gerald Kessler (RET), CPT Tony Lucas (RET), SPEC Colin

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Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

“As a whole they are invisible, they don’t think of themselves as veterans,”

Charlotte McGrath, a women veterans program manager with the Sioux Falls VA

In the area covered by the Sioux Falls VA, which includes parts of Minnesota and Iowa, there are estimated to be about 6,000 female veterans. However, only about 2,000 a year come into the VA. And it isn’t that they don’t face significant issues. The fastest growing group of homeless veterans in the nation is women. Many veterans have a hard time translating their military experience into a resume, and that seems especially true for women, McGrath said. Also, more than half of women veterans have what is known as a “service connection,” or receiving benefits for physical or mental trauma incurred during their time in service. That is more than double their male counterparts, McGrath said. And the VA wasn’t always as attentive as it should have been for female soldiers, something that it is trying to change. It has ensured that all its health providers offer comprehensive care for women. Its facilities have also been upgraded to be

Above and facing page: Veterans and others gathered in Pierre this fall to remember the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. more accommodating to female patients. VA staff has also been trained to better recognize and respond to female soldiers. “I am amazed at the number of women veterans who say the VA is so much better than it was

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said that when women and men go through recovery programs together, it helps both to integrate into society better. “The dynamics are always so much richer when women are part of the cohort,” she said.

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five or 10 years ago,” McGrath said. As an added benefit of looking out for female veterans, Loree Siegfried, a post-traumatic stress disorder program manager with the Black Hills VA,

World War II and Korea

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Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

veterans don’t develop conditions that require trips to the emergency rooms or hospital. In addition to keeping up someone’s quality of life, it also saves money for both the veteran and VA. With a medical provider checking up on them, there is also less chance someone with delay a needed trip to the hospital, Rath said. A fully outfitted home-base care team can provide support to 90 veterans, and the Sioux Falls VA has teams in Spirit Lake, Aberdeen, Wagner, Watertown and Sioux City. About 308 veterans across the state take advantage of this program, he said. The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. “Some grumpy old men say some nice things about my nurses who do this,” Rath said.

on all veterans who come in to assess their needs and help with any problems that might One of the hallmarks of the arise during integration such recent conflicts in Iraq and as gambling, chronic pain, subAfghanistan is the diagnosis of stance abuse and, of course, PTSD, or post-traumatic stress PTSD. Among its myriad programs disorder. An anxiety disorder often characterized by feel- for PTSD is a 1-800 crisis number for those feelings of emotional numbing overwhelmed. ness, hyper-vigilance “I hear it and anger or irritability, every day: ‘I There is also a smartphone appliit is caused by exposure will not go to traumatic events such to a nursing cation to help manage symptoms that as sexual assault, serious home,’” injury or threat of death. Dr. Dan Rath has been downloaded 65,000 times in 66 Nearly 30 percent of countries. the 834,463 service memThere are also bers who served in Iraq coaching and supor Afghanistan and were port programs treated by the VA have available for famibeen diagnosed with lies and friends, who are often PTSD. Siegfried, the PTSD program aware there is a problem before manager, said the VA does the veteran does. Lori Vosika, a manager for comprehensive assessments


programs that target veterans of the latest conflicts at the Black Hills VA, said it’s important to keep in mind that while PTSD is the signature injury of the current wars, not every service member is going to have it. Many time veterans are just overwhelmed by all their responsibilities. There are so many light stressors such as raising a family, finding a career and going to school. It’s important to normalize the process of turning to the VA if they feel they are under too much pressure. “They don’t have to have PTSD to come in for help,” she said. Zimmerman also said that though the disorder is closely associated with newer veterans, it can definitely been seen in those who fought in earlier wars.

Veterans Day  7

lenge becomes making sure they receive the help they are entitled to as they enter their senior years. Larry Zimmerman, South Dakota’s secretary of Veterans Affairs, said two big challenges for the oldest veterans – those who served in World War II and Korea – is both finding them and getting them to accept help. There are many who are too proud to admit they need help, he said. They have grown accustomed to taking care of themselves and not having to rely on someone else. Many times they aren’t aware of what the VA can offer them. Just recently the department found a 92-year-old World II veteran who had not received any benefits, Zimmerman said. Another complication is providing health care to this aging population, as well as any veteran who has conditions that make them frail or less mobile. Dr. Dan Rath, chief of extended care and rehab with the Sioux Falls VA, said this is especially a concern in the rural areas of the state, where veterans might have to drive into town to visit a hospital. Compounding the problem is the position of many that they don’t want to lose their independence by moving into a long-term care facility, even if that means being closer to help when it’s needed. “I hear it every day: I will not go to a nursing home,” Rath said. One solution the VA is trying is called home-based primary care. Under this program a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner conducts regular visits to a veteran’s home and will coordinate with a team of nurses, physical therapists, dieticians and even pharmacists who will also make house calls. The goal is to provide preventive care in the home so

Capital Journal  November 11, 2013

“In Vietnam, if you went to the counselor, they threw you out and then you went to the counselor,”

Larry Zimmerman, South Dakota secretary of Veterans Affairs

It’s possible World War II probably caused more traumatic brain injury and PTSD than the modern era, he said. His father never spoke of his experiences fighting in the World War II and many others were said to be “shell shocked.” Thankfully it’s something that’s talked about now and help is available, unlike in the past. “In Vietnam, if you went to the counselor, they threw you out and then you went to the counselor,” Zimmerman said.

A ceremony was held at the Korean War Memorial by Capital Lake this fall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of that conflict.

From the secretary

8  Veterans Day

Now is the time to thank our champions

It’s hard to believe that November is already here. The World Series is over, tailgating is coming to an end, there are long lists of honey do’s to complete before the snow flies, and our taste buds are craving the taste of pumpkin. November is also a great opportunity for us to thank our veterans who have served. Our country’s military has left

a legacy like no other fighting force ever assembled. The uniforms they wear, and the flag they carry, are held in esteem wherever they have served. And that is their finest tribute: Across the world, to people who struggle and suffer, the sight of an American in uniform has meant hope, relief, and deliverance. Look around your neigh-

borhoods, your local coffee shops, nursing homes, colleges, and unfortunately the streets. South Dakota’s 75,000 veterans who fought for our freedom are everywhere. Seek them out, thank them and ask if you can do anything for them. Most football teams are made up of 11 players – and it is said that the action of a player who

enables a teammate to score is said to be a champion – we want our team of advocates at the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs to be the champion for our veterans. We want to assist them in receiving the benefits they have earned. We encourage them to contact their local veterans service officer and get the ball to the finish line.

While I may not be the first to thank our veterans for their service, I ask each of you to ensure that I’m not the last one who thanks them. Thank you Veterans! Bless you all and God bless the United States of America! Larry Zimmerman, secretary, South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Day 2013  
Veterans Day 2013