Help for another generation of American veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is 180,000 members strong and a new force in Washington, D.C., to help a new generation of warriors.
PUGET Sound is the home of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Station Everett and other points of pride, so the welfare of military personnel and their families and returning veterans is about friends and neighbors.
Leaders of an influential new veterans organization were in Seattle last week to recruit members and share the good news of important success in the other Washington. A new generation is rallying under the banner of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, IAVA,
America's armed struggles abroad reveal the courage, honor and sacrifice of the men and women who fight those battles. U.S. veterans through history have shared the horrors of war and separation from loved ones, but each conflict leaves its own mark.
IAVA has been working on disability reform and G.I. Bill upgrades and unemployment reforms. Help finding work for returning vets was center stage in Seattle.
IAVA Deputy Executive Director Todd Bowers and Community Manager Jason Hansman, a Washington native and University of Washington graduate, met with Microsoft to promote training for veterans and their spouses. The technology giant is working with IAVA to "Elevate America's Veterans," a partnership that will benefit from $2 million in cash and $6 million in software.
Another key legislative initiative for IAVA, which has more than 180,000 members, is overhauling the Veterans Affairs's claims-processing system. Kudos for the care available through the VA are diminished by the frustration to get enrolled and treated.
IAVA has worked hard to draw attention to traumatic brain injuries. Another key legislative theme is to eliminate the stigma of combat stress. Suicide rates among active-duty personnel are alarming.
America's newest veterans are rethinking the help needed by those who served their country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the best ways to provide it.
Microsoft and others who have embraced the cause will make a difference.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.