veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded two grants of $1.4 million and $2 million to Wyoming to prevent homelessness among veterans.

Announced Monday, the grant will fund services provided by the Southwest Wyoming Recovery Access Program, or SW-WRAP, like housing counseling, legal assistance, temporary financial assistance, and childcare for veterans and their families.

Cathie Hughes, founder and CEO of SW-WRAP, said that making these services visible is one of the biggest challenges.  

Bob Beck

Returning from military service back into so called normal society continues to be a challenge for many veterans.  It doesn’t help if they have difficulty getting Veterans Administration Services.  In Wyoming, the two VA hospitals have been criticized for the amount of time veterans need to wait to get care.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that social service providers say they are trying to provide adequate services to a growing population of vets. 

Aaron Schrank

Robert Sheetz spent five years in the U.S. Navy, working on a flight deck, fixing fighter jets. When he got out, the Colorado native came to Wyoming—to put his GI Bill benefit toward an anthropology degree.     

“I was a 23-year-old freshman coming into the University of Wyoming, coming from an area where I had a huge structure system around me from being in the military,” Sheetz said.  “So I had to kind of learn to build that system for myself and figure out how to be a college student after not being in school for five years.”

Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr Creative Commons

Higher education institutions from around Wyoming are working together to develop strategies to better serve military veterans on their campuses.

The first-of-its-kind, three-day conference features representatives from colleges and vocational schools statewide.  They say veterans returning to civilian life face challenges and have special needs—and entering into a higher education setting adds to that.

Conference organizer Marty Martinez is project coordinator at UW’s Veterans Services Center.  He says becoming a veteran-friendly school is easier said than done. 

Chuck Hagel via Flickr Creative Commons

Veterans’ advocates in Wyoming are upset over reports that staff at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center may have falsified records to make it look like patients were getting appointments faster than they actually were.

Bob DeBernardo is with Veterans of Foreign Wars of Wyoming and receives regular treatment at VA facilities. He says the revelations don’t come as much of a shock.

Memorial Day Special: Hearing Voices - For The Fallen

May 22, 2014
Hearing Voices

For Memorial Day weekend, Wyoming Public Radio brings you the voices of veterans remembering their comrades.

Host Major Robert Schaefer of US Army Special Forces Green Beret and poet, Colonel Robert Schaefer, US Army, hosts the voices of veterans remembering their comrades. We talk with troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, reading their emails, poems, and journals, as part of the NEA project: “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.”

The University of Wyoming has solidified plans to provide financial aid to student veterans affected by the government shutdown.

Spokesman Chad Baldwin says UW has decided to assess each vet’s case individually, and will pay for tuition, university fees and on-campus housing expenses during the shutdown and hope for federal reimbursement later.

Baldwin says that the university is committed to providing this support because of a sense of responsibility towards student veterans.

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg says that veterans attending U.W. will not see their educations interrupted due to a lack of funding caused by the government shutdown.

U.W.’s director of institutional communications, Chad Baldwin, says that the university will delay billing veterans for now, but hopes to recoup costs from the federal government later.

Baldwin says university president Bob Sternberg is committed to aiding the over 400 currently enrolled veterans because of a sense of responsibility to student vets.