By Jim Vines | firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Heart Association has entered into a formal agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to raise awareness of heart disease and strokes among women veterans and service members, and wives of veterans and service members. This collaboration bolsters the VA’s ongoing efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and remains an important issue for women veterans that needs to be addressed.
Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six believes that heart disease is their greatest health threat. In support of the First Lady’s “Joining Forces” initiative, the VA and the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” are partnering to continue to raise this awareness among women veterans, the number one killer of women. “Go Red For Women” is excited about the newest strategic alliance with the VA, because it will provide and encourage military women, both active, veterans and military wives to actively prevent heart attacks and stroke.
The two organizations share a common priority to reach women with important information about heart disease. By combining efforts, they can maximize their resources and improve communication of the “Go Red For Women” messages to women veterans and military audiences. The VA will focus on educating veterans about their risks for cardiovascular disease through the use of “Go Red For Women” online resources. These include “Go Red BetterU,” a free online nutrition and fitness program and “Go Red Heart Match” a database that allows women to connect with others who share similar experiences.
Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today’s active duty military and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and reserve forces. Women are now the fastest growing within the veteran community.
For more information, Call 1-888-MY- HEART (1-888-694-3278 ) or visit www.goredforwomen.org.
Fraud and theft
The Veterans Affairs Inspector Generals office is repeatedly warning about the plague of fraud and theft in a national program that appoints family members and VA-approved fiduciaries to protect $3 billion in assets belonging to veterans considered too disabled to manage their own money.
In the past decade, twice as many Texans have been prosecuted for stealing from disabled veterans enrolled in the VA fiduciary program as in any other state. Veterans’ relatives and trusted members of the community, including police officers, federal employees, optometrists, and attorneys have faced and are facing charges of stealing from disabled veterans whose assets they have been assigned to protect.
Many sordid swindles are perpetuated on veterans too ill or disabled to report the crimes. Some crimes go undetected for years before being uncovered through tips, thieves confessions or the VA’s infrequent checks.
The VA has now set up a new “hub system” to improve this oversight. Texas fiduciaries will be overseen by a Nebraska office. The VA will now require background and credit checks for newly appointed money managers, bans on ATM withdrawals and reviews of bank statements. Unfortunately, most detected fiduciary scams take at least two years to prosecute and perpetrators often receive probation, conditional on repayment. The VA is working on quicker processing and disbursement of recovered assets for the veteran, as well as stronger penalties for the perpetrators. Please be careful in reviewing those that are entrusted with your assets.
Our celebration of the Fourth of July approaches and with that all veterans should be aware of the many stores and restaurants that are willing to give veterans and active duty personnel discounts. What most veterans don’t realize is that these discounts are available all year long regardless of a particular celebration. Once you are ready to pay, announce your veteran or active duty status, then ask what the discount is, not if there is a discount. Some stores and restaurants may ask for identification, so carry a form of identification to prove your veteran or active duty status.
Be careful on the 4th and take time to reflect on the meaning of this day’s celebration. Speak to you again next week.
Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells.