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puc reducks

HAPPPY FOURTH OF JULY 2011

Fly your flag.

Be grateful for this great nation of ours.

Each one, teach one.  Each one, help one.

This story is for Phred, who has been helping and healing vets in his own way for many years.

Bars offer vets more than drinks

The Los Angeles Times

DALE CITY, Va. — The minute one of her regulars comes into VFW Post 1503, Dori Keys starts to pour. Rich gets a Captain Morgan and Diet Coke. Sam drinks Old Crow on the rocks. Bruce likes Miller Lite.

The men she serves have one thing in common: They are American combat veterans. After seven years of listening from behind the bar, she knows a lot more about them than what they drink.

For instance, Bruce Yeager, 62, came in one day complaining about a sore on his foot that wouldn't heal. A former Army medic in Vietnam, he knew what was wrong. But it took Keys to persuade him to see a doctor. She even drove him. His gangrenous leg was amputated a few weeks later, the result of diabetes linked to his exposure to Agent Orange.

“I listened to Dori because she is a real good person,” Yeager said. That's about all he can put into words before his eyes mist up.

When it comes to dispensing health care, war veterans are a hard group to reach — and a growing group, thanks to ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Combat vets came up in a military system that rewards toughness and discourages complaints, particularly concerning psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

A researcher in Ohio thinks bartenders like Keys might be part of a solution.

“In social work, you try to meet the clients where they are. If that happens to be a bar, then that's where the first line of help needs to be,” said Keith Anderson, an assistant professor of social work at Ohio State University. He is lead author of “The Healing Tonic,” a report on a pilot study that explored the family-like relationships between bartenders and vets at VFW canteens around Ohio.

The results suggest the women behind the bar — most of them happen to be women — could be an untapped resource for steering vets in crisis toward professional help.

Moreover, Anderson said, such an approach might prove especially useful in rural parts of the country, like Nebraska and Iowa, which in recent years have supplied a disproportionate number of military members but tend to have fewer traditional channels of social work than do urban areas. He is now working with the Department of Veterans Affairs on training materials that can be tested in VFWs, American Legions and other veterans groups.

“We're hopeful that we will be able to develop a program that is feasible and effective,” he said. “We're not suggesting bartenders become professional counselors or psychologists. We're just hoping that with a little additional training in how to recognize common problems, they can help link up veterans with services.”

Keys, the VFW bartender in this Washington, D.C., suburb, tucked between the Army's Fort Belvoir and the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., is a prime example of the potential. A 53-year-old mother of three who rides a Harley, she spends more time with the men who fought in places like Berlin and Baghdad than even some of their families do. Those who still have families, anyway.

At lunchtime — today's special: spaghetti with meat sauce — she can close her eyes and recite the order in which the creatures of habit will sit on the stools: “Bob, Sam, Donnie, Mac, Benny, Dave, Jerry, Jim … ”

The VFW post is the biggest in the country and a portrait of the human damage of war. Veterans of every major battle since World War II are represented. They lost 85-year-old Vinnie Salzillo last month; he was at Iwo Jima. About two dozen of the younger ones aren't old enough to buy a beer, but they've done two tours each in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some guys like Rich Silva, 47, sitting in his battle fatigues, are still on active duty. He's fought in Panama, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, and twice each in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few weeks ago, a thunderstorm sent him diving under his bed, an incident he later confessed to Keys at the bar.

“When my wife divorced me, I had nobody to go to,” he says now as she wipes down the bar, out of earshot. “Dori spent 10 or 12 hours talking to me. She was working a double shift that day. Then she made sure I got a ride home.”

They talk. She listens. No civilian saloon looks like this. The men who come here aren't looking to get drunk or see who they can take home. They come for the fellowship of service, to sit where they can talk or not talk, where no war story is too stale or horrific to tell.

Service members returning from today's battlefields are routinely assessed for PTSD. That wasn't the case after the Vietnam War, the conflict most of Post 1503's members survived. They're in their 60s and 70s now, a generation of warriors who came home to a country that was more angry than grateful. A lot of them turned to one another and still do.

Nearly a third of Vietnam vets came home with PTSD, said Dr. Sonja Batten, who works on mental health policy for the VA. More than half the vets now under the agency's care for PTSD fought in Vietnam, she said, noting that modern treatment can be effective no matter how long ago the war.

Veterans with high levels of combat exposure tend to have more parenting problems, higher divorce rates, lower levels of happiness and poorer health — the stories Keys hears at the bar all the time. She is what social workers call a gatekeeper, ideally positioned to watch for those considered at risk.

If one of her regulars doesn't show up for a couple of days, she calls and checks. Sometimes she can tell something's wrong from the look on a face. When Phil (she won't give the vets' last names unless they do) came in one day a few months ago, she could tell right away it was the first anniversary of his wife's death.

“Stuff just comes to me,” she said. “I try to console them and say, ‘Maybe you need to talk to somebody and get some help'.”#

World-Herald staff writer Roger Buddenberg contributed to this report.
tsiya

It should be remembered that our ancestors fought for independence from all powerful, oppressive government, which some of you are working hard to reinstate.
puc reducks

How about one feel-good moment to celebrate this day.
Phred

Puc ... in spite of Bob's very insulting remark, thanx for posting that article.  Brought a little tear to my eye.

Folks that never experienced what the vets in that story experienced will never understand what goes on behind the scenes in local clubs like the VFW ... and that's too bad.

I'll be headed down to our local VFW in about an hour.  It'll be a celebration instead of the Memorial and Veterans day tears and guess what ... politics won't even enter into it.

Thanx again Puc.

-----

Remember, it's not the amount you paid to join, it's the price you paid to be eligible.
tsiya

THE FOURTH VERSE


http://youtu.be/I0fQd858cRc
jasmine

Phred wrote:
Puc ... in spite of Bob's very insulting remark, thanx for posting that article.  Brought a little tear to my eye.

Folks that never experienced what the vets in that story experienced will never understand what goes on behind the scenes in local clubs like the VFW ... and that's too bad.

I'll be headed down to our local VFW in about an hour.  It'll be a celebration instead of the Memorial and Veterans day tears and guess what ... politics won't even enter into it.

Thanx again Puc.

No politics?  Can I join Wink   Happy 4th to you

-----

Remember, it's not the amount you paid to join, it's the price you paid to be eligible.
bieramar

I'm just back from our local celebration at the Tijeras NM Vietnam Veterans park - and the dedication of a large American Flag metal sculpture.

Tijeras Village has averaged a population of about 500 since the Civil War - the names of 57 Tijeras native-born Vietnam vets are inscribed on the plaque in the park; a significant percentage of patriots.
puc reducks

Jimmy Cagney singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy"--picture quality is poor, but the music and dancing are superb!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R1jiVcIGcg
jasmine

puc reducks wrote:
Jimmy Cagney singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy"--picture quality is poor, but the music and dancing are superb!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R1jiVcIGcg


Great stuff Puc.   I'm heading out to the fireworks later, and to celebrate with the rest of St Augustine, and oh yes, the massive amount of tourists in town.
Phred

Quote:
No politics?  Can I join    Happy 4th to you


LOL ... good one ... sure, just send me your DD214 and I'll sign you right up.
jasmine

Phred wrote:
Quote:
No politics?  Can I join    Happy 4th to you


LOL ... good one ... sure, just send me your DD214 and I'll sign you right up.


If I knew what a DD214 was, I'd send it  Very Happy
puc reducks

You're welcome, Phred.  Brought tears to my eyes, too.  If we'd all only help each other, maybe there'd be no more wars.

A day of celebration--no politics--for all bands of brothers is a great thing!



Thinking a DD214 must be discharge papers?
bieramar

tsiya wrote:
THE FOURTH VERSE
http://youtu.be/I0fQd858cRc


Ordinarily only the first verse of the poem is sung, except at formal occasions when all four verses are (and sometimes only the first and fourth are sung as a political statement).

I think we all here know that the first "4th of July" - the one we celebrate today - was in 1776.

Possibly some of us don't know that the song associated with the 4th didn't become our National Anthem until 165 years later (Congress passed the Bill in 1931 and President Hoover signed it into law), so the political significance of the words in the fourth verse in reference to the Founding Fathers is nil.

EDIT: The melody of the National Anthem is an old British drinking song - Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 wrote his poem to be sung to the Brit music, as most everyone in the U.S. knew that drinking tune.
bieramar

puc reducks wrote:
Thinking a DD214 must be discharge papers?


Yes; one issued at the end of each contracted period of duty - I've got two; one at the end of the first 4 years, another at the end of the next 6 years.  They document stateside and foreign duties and dates, among other things.

Very important to document that a veteran actually served in a foreign war during armed combat and hostilities - in order to be accepted as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  

Simply being a military veteran doesn't merit membership in the VFW.
puc reducks

bieramar wrote:
puc reducks wrote:
Thinking a DD214 must be discharge papers?


Yes; one issued at the end of each contracted period of duty - I've got two; one at the end of the first 4 years, another at the end of the next 6 years.  They document stateside and foreign duties and dates, among other things.

Very important to document that a veteran actually served in a foreign war during armed combat and hostilities - in order to be accepted as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).


Simply being a military veteran doesn't merit membership in the VFW.


Thanks for the info, Bieramar.

Yep. That's why they've got "Foreign" in there!  Wink
Phred

Well, we all had a good time down at the "V" ... hamburgers and hot dogs out on the grill, waterworks for the kiddies, music inside and out and, you're right, absolutely no POLITICS anywhere.  A true breath of fresh air.

On a serious note ... the Post is starting a quarterly event.  We're bringing nursing home veterans in and serving them lunch and, for those that can, even a cold beer.

I went to the one last Thursday and it was great.  The conversation and the stories are wonderful.  There's no formal ceremony, just a relaxing good time for all.

If anyone's interested in joining us, I'll post the next event which should be the 4th Thursday in October.
puc reducks

Phred wrote:
Well, we all had a good time down at the "V" ... hamburgers and hot dogs out on the grill, waterworks for the kiddies, music inside and out and, you're right, absolutely no POLITICS anywhere.  A true breath of fresh air.

On a serious note ... the Post is starting a quarterly event.  We're bringing nursing home veterans in and serving them lunch and, for those that can, even a cold beer.

I went to the one last Thursday and it was great.  The conversation and the stories are wonderful.  There's no formal ceremony, just a relaxing good time for all.

If anyone's interested in joining us, I'll post the next event which should be the 4th Thursday in October.


What a great idea!  I want to donate some desserts.  That OK?  Cookies and an Italian cake.  What cookies???  Will watch for post!!! (Although it's already on my calendar!)
Phred

Well thanx Puc ... what a generous and wonderful idea.  I'll just have to check on special diets ... which I will do.
puc reducks

Phred wrote:
Well thanx Puc ... what a generous and wonderful idea.  I'll just have to check on special diets ... which I will do.


That's a great idea!  If you'd rather have savories, I can do that instead.  Whatever works best for you guys!  Very Happy
bieramar

Vodka soaked muskmelon (cantaloupe) balls are favorites in Iowa old vets homes -- with red, white and blue tasseled toothpicks on holidays.
puc reducks

bieramar wrote:
Vodka soaked muskmelon (cantaloupe) balls are favorites in Iowa old vets homes -- with red, white and blue tasseled toothpicks on holidays.


That's a fabulous idea, Bier!!!  Ab-fab!!!  

I've made "bloody marys on a stick" many, many times.  Vodka, peeled cherry tomatoes, celery salt.  Overnight in the fridge.  Frills (toothpicks w/those thingies at the end) in each.  Slap yo' momma good!
Phred

Well Puc, after I googled "savories", even though I'm still not sure what it is, it does sound good.
jasmine

puc reducks wrote:
bieramar wrote:
Vodka soaked muskmelon (cantaloupe) balls are favorites in Iowa old vets homes -- with red, white and blue tasseled toothpicks on holidays.


That's a fabulous idea, Bier!!!  Ab-fab!!!  

I've made "bloody marys on a stick" many, many times.  Vodka, peeled cherry tomatoes, celery salt.  Overnight in the fridge.  Frills (toothpicks w/those thingies at the end) in each.  Slap yo' momma good!


OK, Puc, bloody marys on a stick? do you marinate the peeled cherry tomatoes in vodka, before the fridge?  Wow, does that sound good.  Maybe marinate the cherries in vodka, worcestersire sauce, celery salt and a little dab of hot pepper sauce.  I am definitely going to try that this weekend.
Enuff

Ok Puc R., I need more information on the Bloody Mary's on a stick.  What do you do with the cherry tomatoes after your peel them.....soak them directly in vodka?   Need more info - these sound better than jello shooters. Smile
bieramar

Chalk up one more essential difference between women and straight men - peeling cherry tomatoes!
jasmine

bieramar wrote:
Chalk up one more essential difference between women and straight men - peeling cherry tomatoes!


If you blanch them in a little hot water, the skin slides off.
JodyB

Florida Vodka ?

I was in an eatery that had an advertisement on the counter for a  Vodka made with Florida oranges. They did not have any to sample, said it was new. Anyone sampled some ?
auntmartymoo

Not yet.  But sign me up!  And that goes for the vodka-soaked tomatoes, too!

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