Tag Archives: veteran

Alabama G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship Information

This nationally renowned program was created by Act 633 and approved October 1947 by the Alabama Legislature. It is administered by the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs and is governed by the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 31-6-1. The veteran must meet the following qualifications to establish eligibility of his/her dependents. A dependent is defined as a child, stepchild, spouse or the un-remarried widow (er) of the veteran.

Military Service:

The veteran must have honorably served at least 90 days of continuous active federal military service or honorably discharged by reason of service-connected disability after serving less than 90 days of continuous active federal military service.

Disability Requirements:

The veteran must be rated 20% or more due to service-connected disabilities or have held the qualifying rating at the time of death, a former prisoner of war (POW), declared missing in action (MIA), died as the result of a service-connected disability, or died while on active military service in the line of duty.

Residency Requirements:

The veteran must have been a permanent civilian resident of the State of Alabama for at least one year immediately prior to (a) the initial entry into active military service or (b) any subsequent period of military service in which a break (1 year or more) in service occurred and the Alabama civilian residency was established. Permanently service-connected veterans rated at 100% who did not enter service from Alabama, may qualify after establishing at least five years of permanent residency in Alabama immediately prior to the filing of an application or immediately prior to death, if deceased.

Student Entitlement:

As of Fall 2009, children and stepchildren of qualified veterans may receive five standard academic years (10 semesters) at any Alabama state-supported institution of higher learning or a prescribed course of study at any state-supported technical school without payment of any tuition, mandatory textbooks or instructional fees.

Additionally, eligible spouses and un-remarried widow(er)s of a qualified veteran rated as 100% permanently and totally disabled may also receive five standard academic years (10 semesters) at any Alabama state-supported institution of higher learning or a prescribed course of study at any state-supported technical school without payment of any tuition, mandatory textbooks or instructional fees.

Exception: As of Fall 2009, a spouse or un-remarried widow (er) of a veteran rated 20% to 90% disabled is entitled to three standard academic years (6 semesters) without payment of tuition, mandatory textbooks, and instructional fees or completion of the duration of one prescribed technical course not to exceed 18 months.

Participants in the program prior to Fall 2009 are eligible for four standard academic years (8 semesters) or two standard academic years (4 semesters), respectively.

Note: Applicants applying for benefits under the scholarship program beginning on or after Fall 2014 (August 1, 2014) will be eligible for benefits at the in-state and undergraduate tuition rate.

Note: Applicants who were previously denied benefits based solely on the veteran’s peacetime status may re-apply and receive benefits under the scholarship program at the out-of-state and graduate rate if applicable. Applications for previously denied applicants must be resubmitted and received at ADVA Headquarters prior to August 1, 2015 in order to receive benefits at this capacity.

Number of Awards:

There is no restriction on the number of eligible dependents under the veteran; however, each dependent may only receive the benefit once, regardless of changes in their future dependency status.

Age Deadline:

The child or stepchild must initiate training under our program prior to his/her 26th birthday. In certain situations, a child or stepchild may be eligible for our program up to the age of 30.

Note: This deadline may be extended for previously denied applicants who were denied based solely on the veteran’s peacetime status. In order to receive this extension, applications must be resubmitted and received at ADVA Headquarters prior to August 1, 2015.

Unauthorized Courses:

Our program does not pay for noncredit courses, remedial courses, placement testing, GED preparation, continuing educational courses, pre-technical courses, or state board examinations.

Supplies:

Our scholarship program does not pay for supplies such as pens, paper, notebooks, tools, art supplies, uniforms, computer software products, etc.

Book Purchases:

The G.I. Dependent Scholarship Program will only pay for those textbooks that are required for the courses in which the student is officially enrolled. Our program does not pay for the purchase of reference manuals, access codes, suggested reading materials, study guides, or recommended workbooks, etc. Reimbursement will not be made.

Alabama State Supported Schools:

Alabama A & M University – Normal
Alabama Southern Community College – Monroeville and Thomasville
Alabama State University – Montgomery
Athens State College – Athens
Auburn University – Auburn, and Montgomery
Bevill State Community College – Fayette, Hamilton, Sumiton, and Jasper
Bishop State Community College – Main, Carver, and Southwest
Central Alabama Community College – Alexander City and Childersburg
Chattahoochee Valley Community College – Phenix City
Enterprise State Community College – Albertville, Andalusia, Decatur, Enterprise, Fort Rucker, Mobile, and Ozark
Gadsden State Community College – Gadsden, Anniston, and Centre
George C. Wallace Community College – Selma, Dothan, Sparks, and Hanceville
J.F. Drake State Technical College – Huntsville
Jacksonville State University – Jacksonville
James H. Faulkner State Community College – Bay Minette, Fairhope, and Gulf
Shores
Jefferson Davis Community College – Brewton
Jefferson State Community College – Birmingham, Pell City, and Clanton
John C. Calhoun Community College – Decatur, and Huntsville
Lawson State Community College – Birmingham and Bessemer
Lurleen B. Wallace State Jr. College – Andalusia, Greenville, Luverne, and Opp
Marion Military Institute – Marion
Northeast Alabama State Jr. College – Rainsville
Northwest Shoals Community College – Muscle Shoals and Phil Campbell
Reid State Technical College – Evergreen
Shelton State Community College – Tuscaloosa
Snead State Jr. College – Boaz
Southern Union Community College – Wadley and Opelika
Trenholm State Technical College – Montgomery
Troy University – Troy, Montgomery, Dothan, and Phenix City
University of Alabama – Birmingham, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa
University of Montevallo – Montevallo
University of North Alabama – Florence
University of South Alabama – Mobile
University of West Alabama – Livingston
*Online courses are covered under this program if offered through the schools listed above.

Eligibility Limitations & Terminations:

Dependents are eligible to participate in the program only as long as they remain the legal dependent of the veteran from which they derive their eligibility. In the event of a divorce action, the former spouse or stepchild will be ineligible to participate effective the date of the divorce. Any educational financial obligations entered into after the divorce date will be the responsibility of the former spouse or stepchild.

Widow(er) forfeits all entitlements upon remarriage without further consideration of reinstatement.

Application Assistance:

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs maintains offices throughout the state which can furnish information and assist you in filing your application. To find your nearest Veterans Service Office, visit the Veterans Service Office Locator Page for contact options.

Out-of-state applicants may receive additional information by contacting:

Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs
Alabama G.I. Dependents Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 1509
Montgomery, AL 36102-1509

Phone: (334) 242-5077

Links:

State Supported Schools

Alabama G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship Pamphlet

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During Transition, Find Strength in Serving Others

(Original article: http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/military-transition/during-transition-find-strength-in-serving-others.html)

Marines undergo water survival instructor test.

When the going gets tough, we have a saying in the Marine Corps: don’t go internal. When you’re in an uncomfortable or painful situation, it’s only natural to focus internally on the discomfort you’re experiencing instead of staying focused externally on the mission at hand.

Much like your time in service, your military transition isn’t going to be a rose garden. In fact at times it’s going to be very unpleasant. What got us through the hard times during our service was our commitment to putting the welfare of others ahead of ourselves. Think about it: whenever we go internal, whenever we start thinking about ourselves, we become weaker. When we think about the mission and focus our thoughts on serving and supporting others, we become stronger – and when that happens, nothing can stop us.

The U.S. military is perhaps the most diverse organization on the planet. It’s the ability to harness this diversity and channel it towards a common goal that makes us the greatest fighting force on earth. There’s one common principle that every individual service member shares: a desire to serve something greater than him or herself. This is our strength!

It’s extremely easy to go internal when making your transition. Trying to figure out what career to pursue or what you want to do with your life is a daunting task. It’s overwhelming and it’s exacerbated by the fact that you no longer have your buddies around to kick you in the butt when you start to feel sorry for yourself.

When you start to get discouraged and frustrated during your transition, and you can begin to feel yourself going internal, draw strength and direction from your inherent desire to serve something greater than yourself. Ask yourself:

  • How can I make a positive difference in the lives of others?
  • What kind of service can I provide to my community?
  • What can I do to make the people around me better?

Service is your guiding principle throughout your transition. When you joined the military, you raised your right hand and swore to serve the nation. When you left, no one told you to put your hand back down. You never stop serving; you’re just choosing to serve in another capacity.

When the going gets tough, don’t go internal. Focus your energy on becoming an asset to your community and you will find your way.

About the Author:

Michael Abrams is an Afghanistan veteran and Founder of Four Block, a veteran career development program based in New York.  He is the author of Business Networking for Veterans as well as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University.

OFCCP Event – Building Partnerships to Employ Individuals with Disabilities

We cordially invite you to join us as we begin…

Building Partnerships to Employ Veterans & Individuals with Disabilities

Presented by
Birmingham District Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
and
Alabama Department of Rehabilitative Services


Employers, join us and learn how you can partner with local recruitment and referral sources that have a pool of qualified veteran and disabled applicants seeking employment opportunities. Connect with other community based organizations, federal contractors, and state employment agencies in the effort to build a diverse workforce!

PRESENTERS:
Department of Veteran Affairs
Alabama Career Center
Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation
Still Serving Veterans

WHEN
June 25, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon (CST)

WHERE
Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services
3000 Johnson Road SW, Huntsville, Alabama 35805

COST
Free

Federal contractors make a contractual promise to provide equal employment opportunity. Community, faith-based, and other organizations want to find jobs for their constituents. OFCCP wants to forge partnerships between job-seekers and federal contractors. Together, we can build a diverse workforce!

To R.S.V.P. contact Christopher Williams at
williams.christopher@dol.gov -or- (205) 731-0820
Should you require accommodation, please inform us when you R.S.V.P.

Still Serving Veterans’ 9th Annual Fall Golf Tournament

October 6, 2014 marks the date for Still Serving Veterans’ 9th Annual Golf Tournament. This four person scramble tournament will be hosted at Cherokee Ridge, a beautiful golf community nestled in the serene landscape of Union Grove, Alabama. Proceeds will go toward supporting the many programs and services Still Serving Veterans offers to the Veteran community.

The cost for this event is $150.00. This price includes breakfast, lunch, green and cart fees, participation in the tournament, and participation in other competitions such as Men’s Longest Drive, Women’s Longest Drive, Hole-in-One, Closest to the Pin, and more.

More details coming soon. For more information, please contact Shannon Drake at sdrake@stillservingveterans.org

Save the Date

Blue Pants Brewery’s “We Care Wednesday” Supports SSV

bluepantslogonewgrungeMadison-based Blue Pants Brewery is hosting a “We Care Wednesday” that will support Still Serving Veterans on June 11. The event will run from 3pm to 10pm and will feature live music from local artist Robby Eichman. A food truck will also be present. $1 of every purchase made during the event will be donated to Still Serving Veterans to support their mission: assisting Veterans and their families find jobs, receive their benefits, and find resources within their community to meet all needs.

Blue Pants’ brewers started out as homebrewers, playing with ingredients, and learning which tastes they love. They use their skills and creativity to create unique, or just exemplary beers, that may not fit any particular style category but are always good. Brews currently available are:

  • SPARE PAIR Pale Ale 6.0%
  • BOURBON WEE HEAVY Strong Scottish Ale 13.0%
  • WEEDY’S Double IPA 8.5%
  • WORKMAN Common Lager 5.0%
  • AMBER WADERS OF GRAIN Amber Lager 5.0%
  • SLIP ROSE Strawberry Saison 6.5%
  • KNICKERBOCKER Red Ale 7.0%
  • BREECHES ESB English Bitter Ale 5.0%
  • HIGHWATER Hoppy Tripel 9.0%
  • PINSTRIPE Stout 8.0%
  • TUXEDO BLACK IPA 7.0%

Performer Robby Eichman plays sunny Rock and Roll by employing the use of loop pedals, guitar, tambourine, and harmonica. He plays a mix of covers and originals. Robby was also named one of the top three vocalists in the Tennessee Valley. He wears his catchy influences on his sleeve and plays catchy music, which has proven to charm crowds into staying for “just one more song” until last call time and time again.

Blue Pants Brewery is located at 500 Lanier Rd. Madison, AL 35758 (map)

Donate to Still Serving Veterans

Visit Still Serving Veterans’ Website

Visit Blue Pants Brewery’s Website

Visit Robby Eichman’s Website

 

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Resource Spotlight: Companion and Service Dogs for Veterans

Article by Emma White

Companion and Service Dogs: A New Way to Help Veterans

Men and women in active service go through a great deal in the course of their work, and the sad fact is, many are permanently altered, either physically or psychologically, by what they experience. For Veterans who return home and resume life outside the military it’s a hard road to travel, and it’s one that can have many obstacles. One of the most profound and the most prevalent is the difficulty of coming to terms with combat experiences, and the feelings of isolation that often result. For some Veterans, their experiences can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, making the adjustment to a “normal” life even more problematic.

The results of a number of major studies show that Veterans have a very high risk of depression and PTSD: 20% of those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have either or both of these disorders. For PTSD that’s more than five times the rate at which it occurs in the general population. People with PTSD often have insomnia, experience difficulty concentrating, and are quick to anger. Many live in a state of hyper-vigilance, highly stressed, sensitive to movement and noise, and with a tendency to overreact to even small stimuli. These very distressing symptoms are all things that contribute to the high rates of substance abuse and suicide among Veterans, but they are symptoms that can be treated, with therapy, medication, and the passage of time.

Companion Dogs can Provide Simple but Important Benefits

Service dogs were first trained in the 19th century to help people with visual impairments, and Veterans have been using guide dogs since World War I. Despite the well-documented benefits of dogs as service animals they weren’t trained to help people with other types of disabilities until the 1970s. These days, dogs and other animals are trained to help people with many different physical, neurological, and psychological disabilities, including PTSD. Anyone who has ever owned a pet—particularly one of the warm and furry kind—will already know that that can be an important source of comfort for someone in distress, but dogs can do a great deal more than provide emotional support for Veterans. Small surveys of companion and service dog owners have already shown that they provide many benefits to their owners, not the least of which is an alleviation of the isolation and loneliness that many Veterans feel.

Most organizations that train dogs for Veterans provide either companion dogs, or service dogs, although some supply both. Often they can accommodate preferences in terms of breed and size of the dog someone would prefer, so for someone interested in a companion or service dog, it can be helpful to think about favorite or suitable breeds while making applications.

There are small but significant differences between a companion dog and a service dog—companion dogs are more pets than anything else, although these organizations do pay particular attention to the personalities of the dogs they select for companion animal training. On the other hand, service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks, and those tasks depend on the individual needs of their owners. For example, a service dog might be trained to help their owner recover from a panic attack, or remind their owner to take medication. Amazingly, some companion and service dogs can actually detect signs of an impending panic attack, nightmare, or similar crisis in their owners, helping them to prevent the attack or reduce its severity.

Companion and Service Dog Organizations for Veterans

Multiple organizations exist with the specific purpose of locating suitable dogs for Veterans who would like a companion animal, or who would benefit from a service dog. The dogs can provide amazing benefits to Veterans, and because these organizations match applicants with dogs from rescue shelters, the animals themselves receive a wonderful gift too, in the form of a new home and a new life.

K9s for Warriors is located in Ponte Vedra Beach,Florida and trains service dogs for Veterans with PTSD.

Paws for Veterans trains service dogs for Veterans with psychological and physical disabilities.

Pets for Vets is one of the largest organizations providing companion dogs, with more than 20 chapters located all over the country.

Soldier’s Best Friend in Glendale,Arizona trains service and therapeutic dogs for Veterans with PTSD or certain other disabilities.

Service Dogs in the Future

As of 2014 the Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting an ongoing study that looks at how service dogs can help Veterans with PTSD. If the study shows that service dogs provide significant benefits, it’s possible that in the future service dog ownership will be made an allowable Veteran benefit, with subsidies for the costs of ownership and training.

 

Sources

Animal Planet. “Dog Breed Selector.” Accessed May 23, 2014.

Clinical Trials.gov. “Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD.” Accessed May 23, 2014. Research evaluating service dogs.

Congressional Research Service. “A Guide to US Military Casualty Statistics.” Accessed May 23, 2014. Statistics relating to recent military operations.

History.com. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.” Accessed May 23, 2014. History of service dogs.

Psychguides. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, Treatment, and Effects.” Accessed May 23, 2014. Emotional and physical symptoms.

RAND Corporation. “Invisible Wounds of War.” Accessed May 23, 2014. Psychological effects of active service.

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After Korean War Veteran Pilot Dies, Family Donates Belongings to Local Vets in Need

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on May 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM, updated May 25, 2014 at 2:40 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – In 1968, Lt. Col. Andy Andrews was sent to Vietnam.

Lt. Col. Robert Joseph Michael “Andy” Andrews with a P-51 Mustang. Andrews was a U.S. Air Force pilot who flew combat missions in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. (Submitted)

An Air Force fighter pilot since receiving his silver wings in 1945 at age 19, Andrews had just finished training on the F-4 Phantom II fighter jet – the backbone of the U.S. Air Force.

“The Phantom was the love of his life,” recalled Andrews’ son Brian. “He loved that plane.”

The Vietnam War was at its peak, and Andrews was stationed in Thailand with the 8thTactical Fighter Wing. During his tour of duty, he flew 102 missions, providing close air support to ground troops.

The F-4 Phantom is a two-seater jet, with the pilot in front (that was Andrews) and a radar intercept officer behind. Andrews jokingly called whoever was in the plane with him “Gib,” short for “guy in back.”

For the majority of the missions Andrews flew in Vietnam, “Gib” was his buddy Matt Henrikson. The two had a close bond, said Brian Andrews, the unshakeable kind of friendship forged in the thick of combat.

Henrikson, who lives now in Virginia, will make the trip next week to say his last goodbyes to his friend.

On Friday, Andrews will be buried with full military honors at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.

A decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Korean Wars, Andrews died unexpectedly last summer in Huntsville at the age of 87. His body was cremated, according to his wishes, and his family held services both in Huntsville – where his son and daughter-in-law live – and in Colorado Springs, where he spent the bulk of his retirement after his 31-year career in the Air Force.

Brian and his wife Lisa speak fondly and reverently about Brian’s father, and the life he led. Even though his death was sudden, they worked to find a way to pass on his legacy through the donation of his possessions to local veterans in need through the Huntsville-based Still Serving Veterans organization.

WWII and Korea

Andy Andrews was 17 in 1943 when one of his neighborhood buddies – a few years older – came home on leave during World War II, telling stories about flying fighter planes. Andy knew immediately he wanted to fly them, too.

He went to the local recruiting office to sign up, but the recruiters sent him home because he wasn’t 18. When he did turn 18 in November 1944, they called him back and sent him to basic training.

At 19 he graduated from the Army Air Force pilot training program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in October 1945, just a few months after the war ended.

Every member of Andrews’ graduating class was dismissed from service and sent home…except Andrews. He stayed in the service and was assigned to accompany coffins bearing the remains of servicemen as they were sent home to their families.

In 1949, Andrews was one of the youngest to be sent to jet pilot school. Shortly afterward he was shipped overseas to the Korean War, where he flew an F-86 Sabre jet in 61 missions before contracting malaria and being evacuated from Korea.

At some point soon after he began losing his hair – possibly due to his illness. Being a no-nonsense kind of person, he decided to just shave it all off. He got married, and had a son – Brian Andrews – in the 1950s.

My dad’s the kind of guy who wanted to have all the information that was available because he planned everything to the last detail.

A decorated career

Andrews was sent for a year-long tour to Vietnam from 1968-1969. After he returned, he was assigned to positions with the Air Defense Command and NORAD. He had reached the highest rank he could achieve in the Air Force without a college degree, and retired from the Air Force after serving 31 years.

Among his 30 awards and decorations are three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Air Medals, the Bronze Star, a Joint Services Commendation Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals and four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.

It’s unusual for an Air Force pilot to fly nearly 30 years, said Brian. But Andy Andrews loved flying – so much so that he was flying combat missions in Vietnam at the age of 43.

A lasting legacy

Brian and his wife Lisa moved to Huntsville eight years ago, and spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince Andy to move here so they could better care for him. After decades spent flying, Andrews had lung problems and needed to use an oxygen tank in the thin Colorado air. Eventually, he agreed to come to Huntsville. The couple meticulously planned an apartment for him.

“My dad’s the kind of guy who wanted to have all the information that was available because he planned everything to the last detail,” said Brian. “He used to call the apartment manager frequently, and they got to be really good friends. He was friends with the maintenance supervisor before he moved here.”

Late last summer, Andy moved into his new apartment. The Andrews looked forward to introducing him to the strong military retiree community in Huntsville.

But one day later, tragedy struck. The Andrews came to Andy’s new apartment, bringing his favorite chicken pot pie for dinner. Andy had trouble unlocking the door for them, and fell back, breaking his hip.

He was rushed to the hospital, and underwent hip replacement surgery. A few days after surgery his health began declining as he had difficulty breathing.  He died Aug. 3.

Many friends, family and neighbors came out for his memorial services in Huntsville at the Church of the Nativity, Episcopal and in Colorado Springs.

Afterward, Brian and Lisa Andrews had a brand-new apartment, completely furnished, but empty.

“We could have just had an estate sale, but Lisa had the idea that it would be great if maybe there was a veteran who could use some of my dad’s things,” said Brian. “We wanted them to go to a good home, to someone who would appreciate them.”

The couple talked with a neighbor who worked for Still Serving Veterans, a Huntsville-based nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families transition to post-military life through services like job coaching, VA claims assistance and connections to community resources.

SSV arranged to help the Andrews donate most of Andy Andrews’ belongings to local veterans in need. Some of his memorabilia was donated to SSV for display in the office.

“I think he would be very pleased,” said Brian of his dad. “He was a strong supporter of the military. Even as an officer, he really identified with the younger airmen who might need help getting their feet off the ground.”

The Andrews waited purposefully for spring to bury Andy. He qualified for burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but the Andrews chose the Black Hills National Cemetery because Lisa’s father is also buried there, and they have family in the area.

“Dad was a very generous guy,” said Brian Andrews. “I think he would be very pleased with the way this has been wrapped up, and all the people who have benefited from his legacy.”

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