63°F
weather icon Clear

Titus addresses veterans’ transportation needs

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., recently held a veterans roundtable in Las Vegas to discuss happenings on Capitol Hill. She is on the House Veterans Committee, and is the ranking member on memorial services.

She reported that she met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald to discuss the budget for the next two years and initiated a conversation on how the VA might become more relevant to service members in the 21st century. Titus said congressional hearings are planned on the appeals process and claims backlog for veterans, as well as the transition assistance program when soldiers transition to veterans status. Ideas are sought on how to better prepare those new veterans to transition through education.

Titus said there are upcoming roundtables planned with veterans service officers about the budget, increased benefits and providing child care for single mothers so they can continue their schooling.

The Regional Transportation Commission gave a presentation at the Las Vegas meeting about its services for veterans and families for rides to the VA medical facility in North Las Vegas as well as to private doctors’ offices. In 2012 the RTC received funding from the federal government to provide free transportation, but by 2013 RTC said there were not enough resources to continue.

In December 2014 RTC began charging veterans, but now will be providing reimbursement and giving bus passes. Of course, forms will need to be completed in order to receive refunds. For information and comments about RTC, call 702-678-8387 and leave a message, or go to www.rtcsnv.com.

Disabled American Veterans began van transportation for local veterans in 1987, and now operates 31 vans in Las Vegas, Pahrump, Mesquite, Laughlin and Henderson. It’s not an entitlement. The DAV requires riders have no wheelchairs, no oxygen tanks, no service dogs (because of allergies) and also enforces other regulations.

Although there are restrictions, the DAV has long been praised for its transportation program. Former DAV National Commander Ray Dempsey has told me that the DAV was the first national veterans organization to provide such services around the country. A related option in Boulder City, the Alternative Transportation Services program in conjunction with RTC, provides rides to disabled individuals, regardless of age, who live in group homes and primarily participate in work programs. For details, call 702-894 4190.

CALENDAR UPDATES

Several veterans events are coming up in Southern Nevada. Purple Heart recipients are planning their national convention Aug. 4-9 at the JW Mariott Las Vegas Resort and Spa. For details, go to www.purpleheart.org.

The groundbreaking for a local Fisher House is set for 10 a.m. March 27 on the grounds of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, 6900 N. Pecos Road, North Las Vegas. The Fisher House program pays for transportation and housing for families to visit their military sons and daughters who are hospitalized. It’s named for philanthropists Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, who founded the program in 1990 after dedicating more than $20 million to build comfort homes for the families of hospitalized military personnel. His nephew, Ken Fisher, is current CEO.

A formal fundraiser dinner for the Fisher House project, sponsored by the Nevada Military Support Alliance, will be held March 28 at the MGM Grand. The keynote speaker is Gen. Richard B. Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Individual tickets are $250. Call Teresa N. DiLoreto at 702-701-4167 for more information.

VA LOANS

The overall housing market continues its recovery and the government has loosened its requirements concerning credit scores and loan eligibility since the recent recession. All along, the VA loan guarantee program for veterans has continued to serve former military members and has grown in popularity.

In 2014, the first quarter saw VA loans account for 8.1 percent of all mortgages. It’s reported by a major lender that 10 percent of the entire housing market is made up of active duty personnel and veterans. VA lending allows veterans to buy homes with no money down and minimum out-of-pocket expenses. Veterans can apply for eligibility at the VA or traditionally more easily through their lenders or Realtors.

Journalist and author Chuck N. Baker is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a recipient of the Purple Heart. He can be heard each Thursday from 8-9 p.m. on “The Veterans Reporter Radio Show” on KLAV 1230 AM.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Veteran uses talents to help other veterans

Robert Serge served in the United States Navy for 20 months as part of an ordnance laboratory test facility. As he puts it, “We designed harbor mines and stuff like that.”

Holistic treatments help many veterans

Last year in one of my columns, I briefly discussed holistic medicine and efforts that the Department of Veterans Affairs had been taking to include such treatments in its care of veterans. Since then, the VA has made some additional efforts to include nontraditional treatments.

Gallery helps veterans explore their feelings through art

Artist and businesswoman Chris Frausto used to reside in Boulder City and owned an art gallery here. It was located on a corner, so it was not considered unusual when she named it the Corner Gallery.

Burns’ Vietnam documentary explores ‘truths’ about war

The Vietnam War. The conflict is burned into the minds of millions of Americans — those who fought in it, civilians who lived through the 1960s, historians, journalists, photographers and filmmakers.

Vets’ families find compassion at home away from home

When veterans and active-duty military personnel need help, it’s very common for other veterans and service people to step up to lend their collective hands. Providing assistance to their fellow brothers and sisters is ingrained in the hearts and minds of America’s military culture.

Ex-Tunnel Rat appreciates ‘penthouse’ lifestyle

Boulder City is currently the home of a veteran whose name is “Fearless.” When someone’s name is “Fearless” it could either be a satirical reference, or it could mean that it’s someone who is in reality a very tough individual. In the case of Fearless Fredy King, it’s the latter definition.

USO helps military as they travel, return to civilian life

The general public knows the combination of letters “USO.” Many even know the type of work the USO is involved in. But if one were to ask those individuals what the letters stand for, and where the organization is located in Southern Nevada, the answer might just involve a blank stare unless the person being questioned is involved with the local military or veterans community.

Teacher’s brush with fame included astronaut

Veteran John Glenn was known by most Americans and indeed was internationally famous. Most Americans also know that Glenn died in December at age 95.

Honor Flight offers awe-inspiring experience

Many individuals, especially those who follow issues concerning veterans, have more than likely heard of the Honor Flight Network. The mission of the group is to honor select veterans, especially those who served in World War II, by taking them on all-expense-paid excursions to Washington, D.C., to visit military memorials.

Nevada celebrates veterans’ achievements

Southern Nevada resident and former Army Sgt. Richard “Dick” L. Moyer was presented with a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor this month for his heroic efforts during the Vietnam War.