VERY GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE HOT SPRINGS EIS

By Bob Krause, President, VNRCkcci-debate-bobk-2016

The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the closure and re-purposing of the VA Hospital at Hot Springs was just announced a couple of days ago. It recognizes our VNRC proposal and  may be the first step toward the creation of a national burn center for veterans and others who have been or will be in the future scarred by war.

Six percent of all US combat casualties and a likely higher number of civilian casualties are from burns. Nearly all of these casualties have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also due to the events that created the burns. While the Department of Defense does have an excellent burns center in Texas, the VA does not have a unit that specializes in new regenerative and reconstructive technology for burns.  We are pleased that the VA EIS process has seen to recognize the viability of our Medical Miracle proposal.

The VNRC’s “Medical Miracle” proposal stands intact as the only fully developed re-utilization proposal  for the Hot Springs VA campus listed in the “Preferred Alternative” recommendation of the EIS.     We will wait for the Secretary’s final signature on the EIS. Once this occurs, a reversal of  the EIS can only occur by Act of Congress.  During the interim I and others will be contacting the VA, the Hot Springs Community, the national veterans community, our European partners and others to begin the push to solidify our position.

I will by writing more about this in the near future.

albiaflagmemorial-2015

NEW BLOG! Is your thinking stinking. You might try Centering Meditation

 

My name is Vicky. Welcome to my new blog on Centering Meditation.  My inspiration is to relate this blog to Centering Meditation and veterans and veterans who suffer or who have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST)and or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as well as other war related disorders. Any civilians who have been affected by these melodies are encouraged to read along as well.

 

What is Centering Meditation?  It is sitting quietly in silence. If you are new to Centering Meditation, then starting with a few minutes daily and gradually increasing the time to spend in silence. I personally do Centering on a daily basis, yet others might start with once a week, then increase the practice over time.

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A fine visual example of Centering Meditation comes from ‘Open Mind, Open Heart’ by Thomas Keating. Keating says to visualize a wide river.  On the river is an assortment of boats and flotsam of different shapes and sizes.  There are many people sitting and standing, talking and doing various activities on the boats.  The flotsam includes furniture and other objects floating gently down the river. If you can imagine that the objects on the river are the day to day situations, experiences and places in our lives.  The river which is carrying us along is often ignored or only given a casual glance – just enough so we don’t get stuck on a sandbar or hit hidden rocks or debris. Yet the river is a constant immense reality and always the same.  It is always murmuring of her discoveries if only we will listen.  Centering Meditation offers to create an awareness of the interior space beneath the hub bub of what’s happening in life.

How do you do Centering Meditation?

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed.
  • Sit comfortably with eyes shut or if that doesn’t work, focus on an object in the room
  • Have a bell or watch handy so you can keep time.  There are free apps on meditation bells that are easy to download, otherwise a watch or clock will be sufficient.
  • Next chose a sacred word or phrase. There are a number of sources to help select your chosen word or phrase.
  • As the mind wonders and you have other thoughts crowding in, then slowly bring your thoughts back to the sacred word or phrase.

The intention of Centering Meditation is to develop a deep sense of awareness first to our interior silence even if it is only for a number of minutes daily.  The first step to centering is the intention to make the effort.  As a friend mentioned to me the other day as we discussed meditation, she said that her partner David ‘created space’ for meditation.  I was impressed with that saying and liked the idea that we create space in our often busy schedule.  This thought had me thinking that I can create space for centering, as well as the idea to ‘create space’ for other writing projects, my businesses, and attention to my family and friends.  It could even be applied to physical exercise and other areas of life that we choose and are passionate about.  I can go on and on and burrow into the subject but will leave it there for now.  There will be many more thoughts and observations that I want to share as we sojourn along the winding path of centering.

Future posts will cover such questions as:

  • How does Centering heal or enhance the healing of PTSD, MST of TBI
  • Is Centering Meditation faith driven, or solely a process, or both faith and a process?
  • What does it look like?
  • How does it compare to other meditations?

There are a slew of other questions. It’s an exciting journey for me as I’ve practiced Centering for over five years.

I can honestly say that you might not see any outward signs that I have changed so much.  One thing I can say is that I have a rich source of internal life, a peace and strength derived from my times of centering, coupled with my reading of scripture and prayer.  As I have mentioned at a workshop I attended last year, centering becomes a “lifestyle.”  Not that everything is peaches and cream, far from it because normal ups and downs happens in my household as it does in everybody else’s.   But there is a source, ‘the river’ which we give attention to, even if it’s for a short time, that becomes the tangible and constant source.  Is Centering Meditation effective for the traumas of life and war?  A number of studies say yes.  That’s a subject for the future.

 

So welcome to ‘VNRC Centering Meditative’ blog!  Please feel free to comment and join in the conversation.  I do have the right to approve any comments before allowing them to be published so please be respectful and stay on the subject with the spirit of curiosity and openness to learn.  My intention is to have many more people join with me and the community of those who do Centering Meditation.

Businesswoman meditating with eyes closed

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Government website for veterans jobs

https://va.iowa.gov/education-employment/employment-centers

Veteran Employment Centers

Each Regional Workforce Development Center has a Veteran’s Employment Representative coordinating all specific services provided to veterans. Services include identifying training opportunities; identifying employment opportunities; ensuring priority for certain jobs; working with Voc Rehab; conducting outreach to employers, community and veterans organizations, unions, local counseling, and social service agencies; developing job interview and resume writing skills; and helping conduct productive job searches.

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CONCERNED ABOUT BAD TREATMENT FOR PTSD VETS? HAH!

By Bob Krause

Yes, there may be a problem here, as described in this story in the Des Moines Register, but the Register is looking at the wrong place for the source of the real problem. The problem for sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is in Congress, the state legislature and the Governor’s office.

Veterans use alternative therapies sometimes because they work (sometimes they don’t) and often because of short staffing at the VA as well as lack of bed accessibility for the worst cases of PTSD/MST. Last year the VA reduced counseling sessions for PTSD/MST from one hour to a half hour and no one blinked (including Gannett and the Des Moines Register). VA cut the services becaue there are not enough counselors to go around. Pills are still substituted for treatment. And, state government comes up short also. When Branstad closed the psychiatric wing at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH) in Marshalltown, no one blinked (including the Des Moines Register) – though it had 20 active and full beds and a waiting list. Sadly, at least three veterans forced out in the closure committed suicide, including a woman with severe MST.
Neither the Governor nor the General Assembly has seen fit to reverse course. More recently, the Veterans National Recovery Center conducted a statistical study of admissions at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH) in Marshalltown using years of data from IVH. The analysis was conducted by one of the very top statistical experts at Iowa State University, Dr. Mack Shelley, chair of the Department of Political Science. With a margin of error of well less than one percent, it found that IVH is actively denying admissions to IVH based on age. That effectively blocks all 9-11 veterans from residential treatment required for more serious PTSD/MST cases. This did not even get a hiccup in the pages of the Des Moines Register. Where do these people go? They go under bridges, to jail, to faith-based ministries or other alternative treatment. So do not focus here when the real problem sits on Capitol Hill.

Bob Krause
President
Veterans National Recovery Center

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2016/09/10/faith-based-ptsd-treatment-draws-professionals-doubts/89897144/

New business following VNRC

The other day I met a veteran who was starting up a new business in the Iowa city area and we got to talking.  I told him about the project with VNRC and he was real keen to support the Black Arm Day which is held this coming March 2017.  Thanks Tim

SSI Housing Vouchers

An interesting article in Huffington Post for Veteran Housing. It basically uses the SSI housing vouchers to get veterans into affordable rental properties

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dee-walsh/leading-the-way-to-end-veteran-homelessness_b_7417144.html

What VNRC proposes is to construct  brand new house/townhouses where the veteran has ownership.  He/she pays a mortgage and pays rates etc.  But there is also the promise of built up equity which can be quite substantial over time.  I don’t know about you, but I personally like the knowledge that I own my own space and I can paint those walls or move things around if I felt like it. Different strokes for different folks.

BLACK ARMBAND PROTEST AT IOWA STATE CAPITAL – CNN iReport

vnrc talk’s about misinformation by bransted ,on closure of beds for ptsd afflicted vets

Source: BLACK ARMBAND PROTEST AT IOWA STATE CAPITAL – CNN iReport

Protesters Speak Out for State Mental Institutions – WeAreIowa

Governor Branstad signed a “Mental Health Awareness Month” proclamation, but some people don’t think it’s enough.

Source: Protesters Speak Out for State Mental Institutions – WeAreIowa

VNRC Chief Calls for Mass Attendance at Governor’s Signing Event

A well-known Iowa veterans’ activist has called on Iowa veterans and their families to turn out quietly en-mass for the signing of a proclamation designating May as Iowa Mental Health Month.

Bob Krause, president of the Veterans National Recovery Center, said that the event will be held in the state capitol.  On Thursday, May 21, Governor Branstad will sign a proclamation designating May as Mental Health Month. The event‎ will be in the State Capitol Rotunda at 11 a.m. The Rotunda is an open, public area of the Capitol.

Krause said, “It should be no surprise that a governor that places a low priority on mental health programs would sign a May Mental Health Month proclamation at the end of May, just as people are leaving for Memorial Day.

“Those of us that have been active on this issue know about the closure of 20 dedicated psychiatric beds at the Iowa Veterans Home. And, we know about the pending closures at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda that will impact veterans and others, simply because there are only 10 dedicated psychiatric beds in Iowa for the over 5,000 9/11 veterans in Iowa that have PTSD,” stated Krause.

“And, we know of the governor’s veto of transitional money to implement the regional mental healthcare system. We know that mental health for veterans and others is not a priority of his. But we want him to know that it is a priority of Iowans. We speak for those that cannot speak for themselves because of their war injury or their mental condition. It is now time for us to speak with the quiet presence of our thoughts and our bodies,” concluded Krause.

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