Tag Archives: Veteran

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run: Updated

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run updated

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Thanks to some last minute donations The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the 5th honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Marine Sgt Kirstie Ennis!
Kirstie lost her leg due to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
This upcoming May, we ride for her!

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

 

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Boston's 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Wheelchair Van Ramp Vs. Wheelchair Van Lift

Choosing a wheelchair ramp over a lift system is a matter of budget and personal preference. Both can get you safely in and out of a new or used wheelchair van; however, handicap lowered-floor vans with ramps tend to be less expensive, take up less space and are more fuel-efficient compared to a full-size van, which is used for most wheelchair-lift applications.

Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchair van conversion ramps normally come in permanent van conversions where the floor is lowered to allow enough headroom for entering and riding in the vehicle. Most lowered-floor vans come with wheelchair ramps and kneeling systems that lower the wheelchair van and reduce the angle of the ramp. There are two styles of wheelchair ramps—one type folds up in a vertical position, and the other type slides out from the floor of the van.

New and used handicapped accessible vehicles with wheelchair ramps come with either a manual or power conversion. Power wheelchair ramps operate by remote control or by a switch located either on the dash or just inside the side-door panel. Push a button and the door slides open, the ramp extends out and, in cases where a kneeling system is needed, the van lowers. (In case of a power failure, the ramp can be easily operated manually.) Guide your wheelchair or mobility scooter inside and push the button or switch, and the system reverses. Manual systems are spring-loaded to easily fold out and retract into the van.

Wheelchair Lifts
A vehicle wheelchair lift is a mechanical device used to raise a person in a wheelchair effortlessly into a vehicle. Wheelchair lifts are typically installed in full-sized vans.

There are several wheelchair lift types: cassette lifts that slide out from under the van, horizontal folding lifts that provide users better vision through the windows, vertical folding lifts that enable passengers to enter the van without deploying the lift, and platform wheelchair lifts, which are the most basic of wheelchair lifts.

Hydraulic lifts are the most common type, since they allow for heavier steel construction and higher lift capacity. The other type is the electric lift, made with lightweight aluminum and lighter lift capacity. Lifts require either a lowered floor or a raised roof to provide enough headroom for wheelchair passengers to ride comfortably inside their chairs.

Wheelchair lifts work when space limitations or height requirements make a ramp prohibitive. Wheelchair lifts are often less expensive than a lowered-floor conversion with a ramp, but there are other considerations that include difficulty parking due to their size, high gas prices, and if the floor isn’t lowered, then the wheelchair user can’t see out the windows.

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets will be placing 64,000 flags on the graves of our beloved veterans for veterans Day, Flagging will commence following a brief ceremony at 10 AM on Saturday November 7. Please bring a long shank screwdriver to make starter holes for the flags.

Removal will take place on Sunday November 15 at 10 AM.

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the third honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Army Specialist Sean Pesce of West Haven, CT!
Sean was shot 13 times Afghanistan and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
This upcoming May, we ride for him!

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Second Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the second honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: SSG James Clark of Hinsdale, NH!
James lost his leg and part of a foot in an 2009 Afghanistan deployment.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Second Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

North Carolina Wounded Vet Run 2015

NC Wounded Vet Run 2015

Check out the Facebook Page

First Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the first honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Peter Damon of Middleborough, MA!
Peter lost both his arms in Iraq.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Peter Damon

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club is a Federally recognized 501c19 War Veterans Organization.

Along with countless volunteers and patriots, we are erecting the first in the State of Massachusetts, 9/11 Mass Fallen Heroes South Shore Memorial located at 777 Plymouth Street Holbrook, Mass.

The Memorial will include a section of steel beam from the World Trade Center and lighted glass panel etched with the Names of the Massachusetts victims of 9/11, those that sacrificed during the massive rescue efforts at ground Zero, Names of warriors that made the ultimate sacrifice fighting in the global war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and those that died from the invisible wounds of war.

To help fund the Memorial, we are providing the opportunity to purchase engraved memorial bricks. These bricks will be permanently installed at and around, the base of the Memorial. Future plans exist for the expansion of the memorial.

For more information please visit their website!

Tomorrow is the New York Wounded Vet Run

New York Wounded Vet Run

Tomorrow Is The Greater Boston Stand Down Event!

Greater Boston Stand Down Event

Accessible Preparations for Memorial Day

Hosting a Memorial Day Party is the perfect way to kick off your summer adventures, and here are some tips on how to make sure your gathering is accessible and fun for all!

Choose Your Location
To ensure all of your guests are able to easily maneuver around your party and its surroundings, make certain there are ramps, lifts or unobstructed entryways available for guests in wheelchairs. Another thing to consider is parking. If some of your guests will be arriving in wheelchair accessible vans, they might need a little bit of extra room to deploy a lift or ramp.

You can host an accessible Memorial Day party if your home or apartment is less than wheelchair-friendly. Local parks often rent out pavilions or picnic areas for gatherings, and these areas often boast open spaces and paved paths, making them a great bet for guests in wheelchairs.

Perfect Your Spread
From grilling up veggies and even fresh fruits, to stocking up on refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat, making sure you’re serving up tasty treats is perhaps the most important part of throwing a great, memorable party. When planning your party’s spread, always take into consideration any possible allergies or food restrictions your guests might have. If you’re sending out invites, it might be a good idea to ask guests of any food requirements right on the invitation, so you’ll be armed with the right information when it comes time to shop and prep.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Every good party needs some entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full band though—making your own fun is easy! You could set out the board games for some old school fun or create a dance floor on your deck or living room with plenty of room. Start a game of trivia, charades or bingo, you could even break out the karaoke machine and make some hilarious and potentially embarrassing memories.

Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering all of the brave men and women who served (and continue to serve) in our country’s Armed Forces. As such, if you have a disabled veteran attending your party, think of ways that you can honor him/her in some special way.

VA Adaptive Sports Program

Mission Redefined
Your courage, your determination and your drive all led you to serve America proudly. Those same characteristics will also lead to satisfaction and success in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans who are physically active simply have more fun! To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team.

Get started by learning how disabled Veterans can benefit from adaptive sports. If you have questions, contact them at vacoadaptiveSP@va.gov.

2015 Schedule of National Events
2014 Annual Report to Congress

The Grant Program
The Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities disabled Veterans and members of the Armed Forces have to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels. Learn more»

Training Allowance
Interested in becoming a Paralympic athlete?
The VA National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events Office provides a monthly assistance allowance for disabled Veterans as authorized by 38 U.S.C. 322(d) and Section 703 of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 for qualifying athletes training in Paralympic sports.

Through the program, VA will pay a monthly allowance to a Veteran with either a service-connected or non-service-connected disability if the Veteran meets the minimum military standards or higher (e.g., Emerging, Talent Pool, National Team) in his or her respective sport at a recognized competition. Besides making the military standard, an athlete must also be nationally or internationally classified by his or her respective sport federation as eligible for Paralympic competition within six or 12 months of a qualifying performance.

Athletes must also have established training and competition plans and are responsible for turning in monthly and quarterly reports in order to continue receiving the monthly assistance allowance. The allowance rate for an athlete approved for monetary assistance is the same as the 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) rate, which in FY 2013 ranged from $585.11 up to $1,104.64 per month, depending on the number of dependents.

Download the VA Training Allowance Standards

Download the VA Training Allowance Briefing

To learn more about the specific sport standards or the monthly assistance allowance, email them at vacoadaptiveSP@va.gov.

#22KILL: Battle Buddy

Become a Veterans’ Advocate and “Battle Buddy”
You do not have to be a trained professional to help someone in need. You don’t have to be a veteran to empathize with their situation. People in a crisis sometimes just need someone to talk to because they feel alone and unheard by those who are closest to them.  They may feel too ashamed to call out for help from their friends and family and can benefit from speaking to an anonymous individual.  By not feeling judged, they can feel more comfortable about opening up and and talking about their situation.

Criteria:

  • Have a genuine love and respect for veterans and all active military members. You do not have to be a veteran.
  • Have a cell phone, and be willing to take calls/texts at any time from a veteran wanting to talk

Roles/Responsibilities:
As a Battle Buddy, you will have a profile listed on www.22kill.com’s  public directory, and veterans in crisis will be able to find you and call you if they want to talk. Your commitment is to simply be someone who cares and to listen if a veteran ever calls. That’s it. Don’t judge; don’t push. Just having someone to talk to who genuinely cares and will listen can make a substantial difference. If you do feel there is a crisis, you can call 911 or have someone else call.

 If you are not comfortable with being a Battle Buddy there are other ways you can help as a Veterans’ Advocate. We encourage you to join Team #22KILL in connecting and growing the veteran support system. Become a volunteer for their events and community projects, and share their page with your network of friends, family, and every veteran you know.

Sign up and become a Battle Buddy today!
Please Visit www.22kill.com for more information

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Give Back to Veterans in Need This Holiday Season by Donating an Item on Veterans Inc.’s Holiday Wish List!

Donations are accepted 24/7 at our headquarters on 69 Grove Street in Worcester, MA.

Gift bags will be assembled using the donated items on Friday, December 19th and will be ready to be distributed to our veterans in time for Christmas.

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Veteran Art Project

Veteran Art Project - Lt. Ricky Ryba

Veteran Art Project

Wars end, soldiers return. Uniforms are folded and pictures placed on the mantle. And though new lives begin, veterans carry their service with them long after they return home.

For many, reintegration is coming to terms with those two halves: the veteran and the civilian made anew.

That bifurcated existence is the basis for the Veteran Art Project, a captivating visual experiment by a 27-year-old photographer who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate.

The idea is simple enough: Devin Mitchell, a junior at Arizona State University, finds a room, a mirror and a subject, and then takes two pictures. One is a picture of the subject in uniform, the other in civilian attire. Afterward, Mitchell uses Photoshop to combine the two.

The first photo, which was taken this past August, shows a man staring into his bathroom mirror and adjusting his suit. Staring back is the same man, Lt. Ricky Ryba, in blue Navy fatigues. The resulting image transcends time and place.

The photos are published on Instagram for ease of access. Mitchell calls his work “artistic journalism,” and notes that the only prerequisites for his subjects are that they are veterans and that they can still fit into their uniforms.

“I don’t interview them, all I ask is if they’re veteran and if I can come and take their picture,” Mitchell said. “This is an opportunity for people to speak without having to say something.”

Initially, Mitchell had a difficult time finding people interested in being photographed, but after picture 13, he says, his inbox was flooded.

 

Holiday Mail for Heroes: Give Something That Means Something

Holiday Mail for Heroes- Give Something that means something 2014

Program Overview

With many service members and veterans separated from their families this holiday season due to deployments and hospital stays, the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes (HMFH) program empowers people to “Give Something That Means Something” by sending a card of thanks and support to the members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Beginning in 2014, the program will take on a different look, as Red Cross chapters across the continental U.S. and Red Cross offices on military installations overseas will take complete control of the program. There will no longer be a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards are sent.

Moving forward, local Red Cross offices will collect, sort, and distributing the holiday cards using an events-based approach in their local communities. Local Red Cross offices will:

  1. Hold events to sign or make holiday cards
  2. Schedule card-sorting times.
  3. Coordinate card delivery to the military, vets and families in their communities.

These changes will allow local Red Cross offices to better concentrate on reaching out to the members of the military, veterans and families in their community—neighbors helping neighbors.

Questions & Answers

What is the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program?
The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season. We are inviting the public to send cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and military families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season.

What is the address of the P.O. Box for the program?
There is no longer a national P.O. Box for the program. Instead, Holiday Mail for Heroes is being conducted at the Red Cross office in your local community. Check with your local Red Cross for times and locations of events and for opportunities to get involved.

Why is the Red Cross changing the format of the program?
We have made this change for several reasons including:

  • A reduction in U.S. military forces overseas, particularly in the Middle East and across Europe.
  • Increased costs of conducting the program.

I contacted my local Red Cross office and they are not participating in the program this year. Where do I send my cards?
There are two options for sharing your holiday cards:

  • Ask your local Red Cross office for military and veterans organizations in your community where you can send your cards directly.
  • Check the participating chapters tab for updated information regarding the closest Red Cross chapter in your area participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes.

I don’t know anyone in the military; how do I participate?
You don’t need to know anyone in the military. Red Cross workers will distribute cards to members of the military and veterans around the world. Contact your local Red Cross for times and locations of card-signing and card-making events.

Cards are not addressed to anyone specific, so who gets these cards?
Participating Red Cross chapters will determine how to best distribute cards to service members, veterans and family members in their local communities, across the nation and around the world. Cards may be delivered individually, included in care packages or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.

Can I drop cards off at my local Red Cross office?
Yes.

Will my card be distributed to our troops stationed overseas?
Cards are distributed to hundreds of locations domestically and around the world, including military installations, military and VA medical facilities and veterans organizations. Please understand that it is difficult to determine which cards will be sent overseas and which will be sent domestically.

What is the goal for the 2014 Holiday Mail for Heroes Program?
The goal is to share season’s greeting and holiday cheer to the members of our Armed Forces. We do not have a goal for a total number of cards.

Are there other restrictions and guidelines for cards?
In order to make cards as meaningful as possible to a wide audience, we recommend that the public use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member, Veteran, or Military Family Member” when writing the cards. Cards should not contain glitter because some cards may end up at the bedside of a wounded service member and the glitter could aggravate existing health issues.

Can I include calling cards, money or other items in the cards?
We ask that people not enclose any items with the holiday cards. Any items enclosed with the holiday cards will be removed, including photos and other gifts. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.

How can people get involved in the Holiday Mail program beyond mailing a card?
  • Word of Mouth: Check with your local Red Cross office for up-to-date information about the program.
  • Social Media: Connect with fellow card senders through social media channels and help us get the word out through Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #holidaymail.
  • Help Sort and Deliver Cards: If you are interested in helping sort and deliver cards, please contact a participating chapter in your area to see how you can help.

How can people support other Red Cross programs that help members of the military and their families?
Supporting Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces work is simple and we encourage you to make a financial donation by donating online or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

**Contact your local Red Cross chapter directly to find out if they are participating**

Today is the Freedom Fest at Fort Kent, Maine

August 9th 2014 Freedom Fest

Freedom Fest 2014 is an outdoor concert on August 09, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine to raise funds for a
Veterans Museum & Community Center in Northern Maine.
A joint project of Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 and the Fort Kent Historical Society

“So that the future can understand what the past has given in the name of Freedom”


Their Vision
To build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine to showcase and appreciate the sacrifices provided on our behalf so that our children and future generations will understand the true cost of freedom. The Center shall be a living, breathing kiosk of history providing a dynamic educational opportunity for all those in the community!

Fort Kent Municipal Airport

Tickets: FreedomFest2014.bpt.me
ADULT: $40/$35 advance purchase
Under 16: $25   Under 12: FREE 
or visit Albert’s Jewelry or Gas-n-Go Foods in Fort Kent
Bring your own chair or blankets
NO Backpacks
NO Coolers

Contact Information
Duane Belanger – Martin-Klein American Legion
Email: commander@americanlegionpost133.org
Chad Pelletier – President of Fort Kent Historical Society
Email: fkhistory1@yahoo.com

Featuring
Thomas Nicholas Band
Madison Rising
Mallett Brothers Band
Spirit of Cash
Harold Ford
Laura Lucy & the Cash Band
Gunther Brown
Forget, Forget
Randolph S Michaud
Tennessee Haze
Uprooted
Kindered
Along with the cast of Freedom Fighters TV!
Featuring on opening Bike Run from Plourde Harley Davidson , Caribou to Fort Kent lead by the Patriot Guard Riders & First Lady Ann LePage honoring the fallen and respectfully welcomed in Fort Kent by the Saluting Marine SSG Tim Chambers!    Honored to welcome quad-amputee and American Hero SSG Travis MIlls as well!

Featuring a parachute jump by the First Lady of Maine & Travis Mills courtesy of Wreaths Across America!!

Vendors – Partners
VMI New England ● Fort Kent Lions ● Vets Rock ● Young Marines ● Toys For Tots ● Post 133 LadiesAuxiliary ● Fort Kent Knights of Columbus ● Market Street Coop ● Armed Forces Motorsports Foundation ● Maine Veterans Homes ● National Veterans Family Center ● US VA Togus ● Maine Military  & Community Network  ● Gas-N-Go Foods ● Albert’s Jewelry ● Maine Veterans Services ● VetCenter ● Maine National Guard
● VFW Department of Maine ● American Legion Department of Maine ● AMVETS  Department of Maine ● Fort Kent VFW ● Gary I Gordon Division Sea Cadets  ● KTC’s Brainfreeze  ● Mad Town Grillers ● Carter Dogs  ● Wreaths Across America ● Jeni’s Jewelry  ● JSB Arts ● Maine State Council Knights of Columbus  ● the Lunchbox ● Sally Bateau  ● Maine Army Guard 185th Engineer Company ● Honor & Remember – Massachusetts Chapter● Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce

FREEDOM-FEST 2014
Make a Donation — http://www.iamtheamericanflag.com/donate/

Attention Homeless and At-Risk Veterans – We Want To Honor and Serve You

The Massachusetts Stand Down is ONE DAY ONLY on Friday August 22, 2014

Event Location
IBEW Local 103
256 Freeport Street Dorchester

Registration
Veterans MUST Bring Proof of Military Service
Hours: 8:00am 4:00pm
No Administration after registration closes

Contact Information
Call: 6175228086
Email: veteran@voamass.org
Or Log On To: www.voamass.org

Free Services Include
Housing Assistance * Job Assistance * Legal Assistance * Education * Mass Health * Medical Aid
Eye Glasses
* Hair Cuts * Foot Care * Oral Health and Dental Screening * Clothing * VA Benefits * Child Support
VA Boston Healthcare System Registration
* Mental Health Counseling * Counseling * Food Stamps
HIV/Aids Resources
* Female Veteran Programs * Voter Registration * Massachusetts ID and Driver License Renewals

What Is The Massachusetts Stand Down?
“Stand Down” is a military term referring to the brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. Today, Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community based intervention program designed to help the nation’s homeless veteran population.

This event has served as a way of bringing a wide range of specialized resources to help the city’s veterans facing a wide range of problems, from homelessness to mental health needs and everything in between. Stand Down is a once a year opportunity for homeless and at-risk veterans to access a broad spectrum of services in one location

Volunteer
The Massachusetts Stand Down depends on a large number of volunteers to help serve over 1,000 Veterans.
Volunteer areas include:
Veteran and Volunteer Registration * Friendly Site Guide * Clothing Tent * Food Preparation and Service * Family Tent

2014 Stand Down Volunteer Application
For questions about volunteering at Stand Down, contact Melita Little at mlittle@voamass.org or 617-522-8086.

Donate
To find out how you or your business can donate time and services, please contact:

Stephanie Paauwe, Volunteers of America, spaauwe@voamass.org or 617-522-8086.

In Sickness & in Health: A Husband Invents A ‘Tankchair’ For His Paralyzed Wife

During all the trial and error it took for combat veteran Brad Soden to invent a wheelchair worthy of his wife, nothing motivated him more than her tears.

Liz Soden, partially paralyzed after a traffic accident only three months before their wedding, would often be distraught at missing out on family hikes and camping trips with their five kids.

Brad was determined to do something about it.

“When you get her to cry, I’m motivated,” Brad told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. “I’ll make it happen.”

A plumber without a college degree or any training as an engineer, Brad suffered a few setbacks to construct a wheelchair with tank-like treads rugged enough to work off-road and powerful enough to handle mountain trails.

“We started a couple fires, but we had beer on hand, so we could just put it out,” Brad said.

Watch a video on the ‘Tankchair’ at NBC.Com

The end result was the “Tankchair,” which gave Liz the freedom she craved and soon became Brad’s full-time job.

Husband Invents A ‘Tankchair’ For His Paralyzed Wife

Building the “Tankchair” took some trial and error and set some stuff on fire, but Brad got it done.

“It made it where I could go out and go hiking and camping,” Liz told Lauer. “When we went to the snow, I would sit in the car. Now I can get out, and I can chase my kids around, and I can go with them. Just the hiking and getting out — I’m not a prisoner anymore in the car and in the house.”

Brad hopes to provide Tankchairs free of charge to wounded warriors, but as the chairs are classified as recreational vehicles, they are not covered by insurance. The chair, which can travel up to 30 miles per hour and costs between $12,000 and $15,000, has become a hit with disabled veterans — a new one has a three-month waiting list.

Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Veterans

In recent years, the percentage of veterans who report having service-connected disabilities (i.e., disabilities that were incurred in, or aggravated during, military service) has risen. About twenty-five percent of recent veterans report having a service-connected disability, as compared to about thirteen percent of all veterans. Common injuries experienced by veterans include missing limbs, spinal cord injuries, burns, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries, and other impairments.

This guide is intended to answer questions you may have about your rights as an injured veteran, now that you have left the service and are returning to a civilian job or seeking a new job. It also explains the kinds of adjustments (called reasonable accommodations) that may help you be successful in the workplace.

1. Are there any laws that protect veterans with disabilities in employment?
Yes. There are several federal laws that provide important protections for veterans with disabilities who are looking for jobs or are already in the workplace. Two of those laws –the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – protect veterans from employment discrimination.

USERRA has requirements for reemploying veterans with and without service-connected disabilities and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Title I of the ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prohibits private and state and local government employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability.

2. What does USERRA do?
USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their military status or military obligations. It also protects the reemployment rights of individuals who leave their civilian jobs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) to serve in the uniformed services, including the U.S. Reserve forces and state, District of Columbia, and territory (e.g., Guam) National Guards.

Under USERRA, employers must make “reasonable efforts” to help a veteran who is returning to employment to become qualified to perform the duties of the position he or she would have held but for military service whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability. If the veteran has a disability incurred in, or aggravated during, his or her service, the employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability and return the veteran to the position in which he or she would have been employed if the veteran had not performed military service. If the veteran is not qualified for that position due to the disability, USERRA requires the employer to make reasonable efforts to help qualify the veteran for a job of equivalent seniority, status, and pay, the duties of which the person is qualified to perform or could become qualified to perform. This could include providing training or retraining for the position at no cost to the veteran. See Title 38, United States Code, Chapter 43 – Employment and Reemployment Rights of Members of the Uniformed Services, 38 U.S.C. § 4313; 20 C.F.R. §§ 1002.198, 1002.225 -.226. USERRA applies to all veterans, not just those with service-connected disabilities, and to all employers regardless of size. For more information on the reemployment rights of uniformed service personnel, see DOL’s website at www.dol.gov/vets.

3. What protections does the ADA provide?
Title I of the ADA prohibits an employer from treating an applicant or employee unfavorably in all aspects of employment — including hiring, promotions, job assignments, training, termination, and any other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment — because he has a disability, a history of having a disability, or because the employer regards him as having a disability. That means, for example, that it is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire a veteran because he has PTSD, because he was previously diagnosed with PTSD, or because the employer assumes he has PTSD. The ADA also limits the medical information employers may obtain and prohibits disability-based harass­ment and retaliation.

Finally, the ADA provides that, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense to the employer), applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation to apply for jobs, to perform their jobs, and to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (e.g., access to the parts of an employer’s facility available to all employees and access to employer-sponsored training and social events).

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act applies the same standards of non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation as the ADA to Federal Executive Branch agencies and the United States Postal Service. Documents explaining Title I of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act can be found on EEOC’s website at www.eeoc.gov.

4. I was injured during active duty but don’t think of myself as “disabled.” How do I know if I am protected by the ADA?
You are protected if you meet the ADA’s definition of disability and are qualified for the job you want or hold. The ADA defines an “individual with a disability” as a person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment (i.e. was substantially limited in the past, such as prior to undergoing rehabilitation); or (3) is regarded, or treated by an employer, as having such an impairment, even if no substantial limitation exists. You are considered qualified if you are able to meet an employer’s requirements for the job, such as education, training, employment experience, skills, or licenses, and are able to perform the job’s essential or fundamental duties with or without reasonable accommodation.

As a result of changes to the ADA made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, it is now much easier for individuals with a wide range of impairments to establish that they are individuals with disabilities and entitled to the ADA’s protections. For example, the term “major life activities” includes not only activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, and concentrating, but also the operation of major bodily functions, such as functions of the brain and the neurological system.

Additionally, an impairment need not prevent or severely or significantly restrict your performance of a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting; the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity must be made without regard to any mitigating measures (e.g., medications or assistive devices, such as prosthetic limbs) that you may use to lessen your impairment’s effects; and impairments that are episodic or in remission (e.g., epilepsy or PTSD) are considered disabilities if they would be substantially limiting when active. Some service-connected disabilities, such as deafness, blindness, partially or completely missing limbs, mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, major depressive disorder, and PTSD, will easily be concluded to be disabilities under the ADA.

5. If I have a military disability rating or a disability rating from the VA, does that mean I am also covered by the ADA?
Yes, you are probably covered. Although the ADA uses different standards than the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in determining disability, many more service-connected disabilities will also be considered disabilities under the ADA than prior to the ADA Amendments Act.

6. Under the ADA, is a private employer required to hire me over other applicants because I have a disability?
Though it is not required to do so, a private employer may decide to give a veteran with a disability a preference in hiring. The ADA prohibits discrimination “on the basis of disability.” This means that if you are qualified for a job, an employer cannot refuse to hire you because you have a disability or because you may need a reasonable accommodation to perform the job. Even if you are qualified for a job, an employer may choose another applicant without a disability because that individual is better qualified.

Some laws, however, require private employers to give a preference to veterans with disabilities. For example, the Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires that businesses with a federal contract or subcontract in the amount of $100,000 or more, entered into on or after December 1, 2003, take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified disabled veterans. VEVRAA also requires these businesses to list their employment openings with the appropriate employment service and to give covered veterans priority in referral to such openings.

7. Are there any laws that will give me special consideration if I am looking for a job with the federal government?
Yes. Under the Veterans Preference Act, veterans with and without disabilities are entitled to preference over others in hiring from competitive lists of eligible applicants and may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments for which they are eligible.

Federal agencies also may use specific rules and regulations, called “special hiring authorities,” to hire individuals with disabilities outside the normal competitive hiring process, and sometimes may even be required to give preferential treatment to veterans, including disabled veterans, in making hiring decisions.

Here are some of the special hiring authorities that may apply to you if you are looking for a job with the federal government:

  • The Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA) program allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition.
  • The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) can be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions. It allows veterans to apply for jobs that are only open to “status” candidates, which means “current competitive service employees.”
  • The Schedule A Appointing Authority, though not specifically for veterans, allows agencies to appoint eligible applicants who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability.

8. During a job interview, may an employer ask about my amputation, why I am in a wheelchair, or how I sustained any other injury I may have?
No. Even if your disability is obvious, an employer cannot ask questions about when, where, or how you were injured. However, where it seems likely that you will need a reasonable accommodation to do the job, an employer may ask you if an accommodation is needed and, if so, what type. In addition, an employer may ask you to describe or demonstrate how you would perform the job with or without an accommodation. For example, if the job requires that you lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds, the employer can ask whether you will need assistance or ask you to demonstrate how you will perform this task. Similarly, if you voluntarily reveal that you have an injury or illness and an employer reasonably believes that you will need an accommodation, it may ask what accommodation you need to do the job.

9. Do I have to disclose an injury or illness that is not obvious during an interview or indicate on a job application that I have a disability?
No. The ADA does not require you to disclose that you have any medical condition on a job application or during an interview. However, if you will need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process, such as more time to take a test or permis­sion to provide oral instead of written responses, you must request it. Additionally, some veterans with service-connected disabilities may choose to disclose that they have medical conditions, such as PTSD or a traumatic brain injury, because of symptoms they experience or because they will need a reasonable accommodation at work. Once an employer makes a job offer, it may ask you questions about your medical conditions, and perhaps even require you to take a medical examination, as long as it requires everyone else in the same job to answer the same questions and/or take the same medical examination before starting work.

10. Some applications ask me to indicate whether I am a “disabled veteran.” Is this legal?
Yes, if the information is being requested for affirmative action purposes. See EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (1995) at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/preemp.html. An employer may ask applicants to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities or “disabled veterans” when the employer is: (1) undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law (including a veterans’ preference law) that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities; or (2) voluntarily using the information to benefit individuals with disabilities, including veterans with service-connected disabilities.

If an employer invites you to voluntarily self-identify as a disabled veteran, it must clearly inform you in writing (or orally, if no written questionnaire is used) that: (1) the information is being requested as part of the employer’s affirmative action program; (2) providing the information is voluntary; (3) failure to provide it will not subject you to any adverse treatment; and (4) the information will be kept confidential and only used in a way that complies with the ADA.

11. What types of reasonable accommodations may I want to request for the application process or on the job?
The following are examples of types of accommodations that you may need for the application process or while on the job:

  • written materials in accessible formats, such as large print, Braille, or on computer disk
  • extra time to complete a test if you have difficulty concentrating or have a learning disability or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • interviews, tests, and training held in accessible locations
  • modified equipment or devices (e.g., assistive technology that would allow you to use a computer if you are blind or to use a telephone if you are deaf or hard of hearing; a glare guard for a computer monitor if you have a TBI; a one-handed keyboard if you are missing an arm or hand)
  • physical modifications to the workplace (e.g., reconfiguring a workspace, including adjusting the height of a desk or shelves if you use a wheelchair)
  • permission to work from home
  • leave for treatment, recuperation, or training related to your disability
  • a modified or part-time work schedule
  • a job coach who could assist you if you initially have some difficulty learning or remembering job tasks
  • modification of supervisory methods, such as having a supervisor break complex assignments into smaller, separate tasks, provide some additional feedback or guidance on a task, or adjust methods of communication (e.g., give written rather than oral instructions for completing certain tasks)
  • reassignment to a vacant position if your disability prevents you from performing the duties of your current position or where any reasonable accommodation in your current position would result in undue hardship (i.e., significant difficulty or expense)

12. How do I ask for a reasonable accommodation?
You simply have to indicate — orally or in writing — that you need an adjustment or change in the application process or at work for a reason related to a medical condition. For example, if you have a vision loss and cannot read standard print, you would need to inform the employer that you need the application materials in some other format (e.g., large print or on computer disk) or read to you. You do not have to mention the ADA or use the term “reasonable accommodation.” Someone acting on your behalf, such as a family member, rehabilitation counselor, health professional, or other representative, also can make the request.

13. What happens after I request a reasonable accommodation?
A request for reasonable accommodation is the first step in an informal interactive process between you and the employer.

The process will involve determining whether you have a disability as defined by the ADA (where this is not obvious or already known) and identifying accommodation solutions. An employer also may ask if you know what accommodation you need that will help you apply for or do the job. There are extensive public and private resources to help identify reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with particular disabilities. For example, the website for the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides a practical guide for individuals with disabilities on requesting and discussing reasonable accommodations and on finding the right job. See JAN’s website at www.askjan.org.

14. I am not sure whether I will need a reasonable accommodation. If I don’t ask for one before I start working, can I still ask for one later?
Yes. You can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or when you start working even if you did not ask for one when applying for a job or after receiving a job offer. If you are already receiving a reasonable accommodation, you may also request a different or additional accommodation later if your disability and/or the job changes, or if another accommodation becomes available that will help you.

Generally, you should request an accommodation when you know that there is a workplace barrier that is preventing you from competing for or performing a job or having equal access to the benefits of employment. As a practical matter, it is better to request a reasonable accommodation before your job performance suffers.

15. What can I do if I feel that an employer has violated the ADA by not hiring me or providing a reasonable accommodation?
If you believe that your employment rights have been violated on the basis of disability (or for some other discriminatory reason), there are actions you can take:

  • Claims against a private or a state or local government employer:To take formal action, you must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The charge must be filed by mail or in person with the local EEOC office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. The 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if a state or local anti-discrimination law also covers the charge.The EEOC will send you and the employer a copy of the charge and may ask for responses and supporting information. Before a formal investigation, the EEOC may select the charge for EEOC’s mediation program. Mediation is free, confidential, and voluntary for both parties. A charge will only be mediated if both parties agree to participate in the process. Mediation may prevent a time-consuming investigation of the charge.If a charge goes to mediation but is unsuccessful or is not selected for mediation, the EEOC investigates the charge to determine if there is “reasonable cause” to believe discrimination has occurred. If reasonable cause is found, the EEOC will then try to resolve the charge with the employer. In some cases, where the charge cannot be resolved, the EEOC will file a court action. If the EEOC finds no discrimination, or if an attempt to resolve the charge fails and the EEOC decides not to file suit, it will issue you a notice of a “right to sue,” which will give you 90 days to file a court action. You also can request a notice of a “right to sue” from the EEOC 180 days after the charge first was filed with the EEOC and may then bring suit within 90 days after receiving the notice.

For a detailed description of the process, visit our website at www.eeoc.gov/charge/overview_charge_filing.html.

  • Claims against a federal government agency: If you are a federal employee or applicant and you believe that a federal agency has discriminated against you, you have a right to file a complaint. Each agency is required to post information about how to contact the agency’s EEO Office. You can contact an EEO Counselor by calling the office responsible for the agency’s EEO complaints program.The first step is to contact an EEO Counselor at the agency where you work or where you applied for a job. Generally, you must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 days from the day the discrimination occurred. In most cases the EEO Counselor will give you the choice of participating either in EEO counseling or in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program, such as a mediation program.If you do not settle the dispute during counseling or through ADR, you can file a formal discrimination complaint against the agency with the agency’s EEO Office. You must file within 15 days from the day you receive notice from your EEO Counselor about how to file. Once you have filed a formal complaint, the agency will review the complaint and, if the complaint is not dismissed for procedural reasons (e.g., because it was filed too late), the agency will conduct an investigation. The agency has 180 days from the day you filed your complaint to finish the investigation. When the investigation is finished, the agency will issue a notice giving you two choices: either request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge or ask the agency to issue a decision as to whether the discrimination occurred.

VMI Announces Partnership With AMVETS

VMI Announces Partnership With AMVETS
Vantage Mobility International (VMI) announced their new partnership with AMVETS to increase support for U.S. active military, veterans and their families. The partnership, which recognizes VMI as an Official Vehicle Mobility Partner, was established as part of VMI’s ongoing effort to bolster its Operation Independence program.

“Our partnership will enable our organizations to reach more and do more for the courageous men and women who serve our country,” said Jeff Weston, vice president of sales and business development at VMI.

AMVETS, which is the first World War II organization to be chartered by Congress, is now represented in virtually every state by national services officers (NSOs). These NSOs provide sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to the veteran. As a leader in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for both citizens and veterans.

“Vantage Mobility has played an important role in supporting our disabled veterans through their Operation Independence program,” said J. Michael Fisher, development director at AMVETS. “The VMI team shares our belief that military men and women deserve the absolute best in care, support and resources in return for their honorable service. We look forward to working VMI to help disabled American veterans find access to quality mobility transportation.”

VMI and AMVETS finalized their partnership in February.

About AMVETS
A leader since 1944 in pre­serv­ing the free­doms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS pro­vides sup­port for vet­er­ans and the active mil­i­tary in procur­ing their earned enti­tle­ments, as well as com­mu­nity ser­vice and leg­isla­tive reform that enhances the qual­ity of life for this nation’s cit­i­zens and vet­er­ans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered vet­er­ans’ ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions in the United States, and includes mem­bers from each branch of the mil­i­tary, includ­ing the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.

About Van­tage Mobil­ity Inter­na­tional
Van­tage Mobil­ity Inter­na­tional is a man­u­fac­turer and dis­trib­u­tor of the most inno­v­a­tive, reli­able, high­est qual­ity and eas­ily acces­si­ble trans­porta­tion in the world. Their full line of prod­ucts include domes­tic and import mini­van con­ver­sions, full-size van con­ver­sions, plat­form lifts, scooter and wheel­chair lifts and trans­fer seats. For more infor­ma­tion, call Aaron Cook at (214) 520‑3430 Ext. 306 or visit http://www.VantageMobility.com.

Veterans Resources

Grants through the Veterans Association for Disabled Veterans
Get help with a disabled veterans grant toward the sale price or conversion of a handicap accessible minivan. This grant is available for disabled veterans with service-related disabilities including:

  • Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet
  • Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands
  • Permanent loss or impairment of vision in both eyes
  • Ankylosis (immobility) of one or both knees, or one or both hips

There is a one-time Disabled Veterans Grant payment by the Veterans Association, toward the purchase of a vehicle chassis and/or adaptive equipment. The Veterans Association will pay for adaptive equipment, for repair, replacement, or reinstallation required because of disability, and for the safe operation of a vehicle purchased with the Veterans Association assistance.

Effective October 1, 2011, the amount of money granted to service connected veterans under the one-time VA Auto Grant Program increased from $11,000 to $18,900. The amount that the Veteran receives will depend on the date that the sale was executed and submitted for reimbursement. Not when the 4502 Application was approved.

This means that if a Veteran was approved for the Auto Grant Program Prior to October 1, 2011, but the sale/purchase of the vehicle is executed (date of sale) after October 1, the Veteran is eligible for the $18,900. If the sale was executed prior to October 1, 2011 the Veteran will only receive $11,000 regardless of when the paperwork is submitted. This means that a sale executed in September, and not submitted for reimbursement until after October 1, would only get the $11,000 grant.

To clarify this another way, if the Veteran was approved for an Auto Grant prior to October 1, 2011 and enters into negotiation with a mobility dealer, orders a vehicle, and/or places a deposit on a vehicle, the Veteran would be eligible for the $18,900 as long as the date of sale and submission to the VA for reimbursement is after October 1, 2011.

Disabled Veterans who wish to convert an existing vehicle may also qualify for an Adaptive Equipment Grant. Adaptive equipment includes, but is not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Contact should be made with your local VA medical center’s Prosthetic Department prior to purchasing any equipment.

The adaptive equipment grant may be paid more than once, and it may be paid to either the seller or the veteran.

Disabled Veterans Loan Program
Loans for disabled veterans are available by seeking funds through other outlets. It is advised that you search for veterans loan programs by seeking out loans available for your specific disability.

You can also find loans to help pay for adapted vehicles by searching for money based on your disability instead of purely focusing on veterans benefits. Search through our Wheelchair Van Loans section to find other loans that apply to you.

We are always seeking to expand funding opportunities for the disabled to help pay for a handicap accessible minivan. If you know of other disability grant and loan programs for disabled veterans, please let us know.


Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program permits physically challenged persons to enter, exit and/or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyance. The VA also provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, Under Vehicle Lifts (ULV), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls, left foot gas pedals, reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, air conditioning and digital driving systems.

Eligibility

  • Veterans who are service connected for the loss, or loss of use of one or both feet or hands, or service connected ankylosis of one or both knees or hips.
  • Veterans who are service connected for permanent impairment of vision of both eyes that have a central acuity of 20/200.
  • NSC veterans are eligible for equipment/ modifications that will allow ingress and egress from a vehicle only.

Note: Eligible service connected veterans who are non-drivers are not eligible for reimbursement for operational equipment.

Required Documentation to VBA

  • The following must be submitted to the VBA:
  • Completed VAF 10-1394, “Application for Adaptive Equipment”
  • Copy of Valid Driver’s License
  • Bill of sale, Invoice, Lease Agreement or Registration Form
  • Window Sticker

If a window sticker is NOT Available you could:

  • Inspect and document the vehicle and items
  • Use a Comparable Vehicle Listing Guide
  • Get an invoice or bill of sale, it must substantiate the items of adaptive equipment
  • Have proof of ownership (Vehicle Title)
  • Have proof of release of disposal of a previously owned vehicle

If veteran paid sales tax, adjust 10-1394 to reimburse Repairs: Marked PAID and include the certification statement signed by vendor


Used Vehicles
Prorated by reducing the standard equipment reimbursable amount for like items by 10% per year. (This includes any add on adaptive equipment previously installed)

Maximum deduction of 90% of the new reimbursement rate will be allowed for vehicles 10 years or older (Vehicles will have a residual value of 10%)

Leased Vehicles
Same guidelines apply for leased vehicles just as if the veteran purchased a new or used vehicle.

Lease must be to the veteran and he/she be responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the vehicle, and not to any business.

Cost limitations will not exceed the allowable reimbursable amounts.

Conversions
Mini- Van

  • Reimbursement for mini-van conversions will be made in an amount equal to or less than the average cost of a conventional van modification, plus 25% (SC only).
  • VA will reimburse for the cost of transporting/delivery of the vehicle.

Full Size Van

  • This type of conversion is considered comfort, far exceeds the space required for transportation
  • The amount should not exceed conventional van conversion

Pick-up Trucks

  • The space modified about half that of a mini van
  • The dollar amount should not exceed mini van conversion

Motor Homes

  • All modifications must be pre-authorized.
  • Only VA approved add-on equipment may be authorized.
  • Maximum reimbursable amounts established for automobile adaptive equipment will not be exceeded for similar items authorized as adaptive equipment in a motor home.
  • Amount authorized and the purchase and installation of an approved lift in a motor home will not exceed the average amount authorized for purchase and installation of similar lifts installed in vans by the authorizing VA facility.
  • VA is not responsible for the removal, modification or reinstallation of any convenience items contained in the motor home, e.g., cabinets, stoves, showers, refrigerators, etc.

Repairs
Routine service to items is not considered a repair e.g., brake shoes, drums & pads or other adjustments (only the power booster). Power Steering and Automatic Transmission service or fluid refills are not authorized (only the transmission itself, or the power steering components).

Maximum reimbursement is for the total amount of the certified invoice.

Repairs, cost of parts and labor, is listed in thee current Mitchell Mechanical Parts and Labor Estimating Guide for Domestic Cars.

Towing is not normally an authorized repair.

Exceptions to the 2 vehicles in a 4-year period rule
Normally only allowance can be provided for 2 vehicles in a 4-year period.

Exceptions to this rule are:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Accident
  • Court of legal actions
  • Costly Repairs
  • Changes in the drivers medical requirements necessitating a different type of vehicle

Required documentation to remove a vehicle of record
Important Note: These vehicles may not be sold or given to family members or any other party residing in the same household of the veteran, or transferred to a business owned by the veteran.

  • Proof of trade-in
  • Proof of sale
  • Proof of other means of disposal, e.g., total loss by accident , act of God, fire, theft, etc.

How to Apply
Please contact your local PVA National Service Officer for assistance with the application.

Operation Independence

Operation Independence wheelchair accessible vehicles for veterans
Operation Independence is an awareness campaign to help Veterans understand and utilize their vehicle mobility benefits such as the auto allowance grant and the automobile adaptive equipment program. These benefits along with the assistance of a VMI Select Dealer can help a Veteran select and purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle that best fits their needs.

VMI is the premier manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans. VMI Dealers, such as VMi New England, are experts in mobility assessment and customization. Together we have combined our knowledge with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to increase awareness with disabled Veterans regarding VA vehicle benefits, and help them get the benefits they have earned while serving our country.

VMI and Select Dealer Networks, such as VMi New England, will help give Veterans a $1000 rebate towards a van that will be converted for wheelchair accessibility.

Tips to Save Money When Converting Honda Wheelchair Vans

New and Used Honda Odyessey wheelchair accessible vans for sale at VMi New England Mobility Center
Transforming a Honda Odyssey into an ideal wheelchair accessible van can be an overwhelming experience. Not only are you making important decisions, you are also confronting hefty price tags.

Conversions are not cheap. That is not just true with Honda vehicles either. The process involved in taking a “factory” vehicle and transforming it into safe, smart, reliable wheelchair transportation vehicle is a major undertaking. You will be dealing with skilled professionals who use the best possible equipment–and who expect to be compensated accordingly.

Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep your bill down. Your Honda wheelchair van will never be a “steal,“ but it can feel like a bargain if you follow these recommendations.

Proper Needs Assessment
You should undergo an evaluation from a licensed professional before making a purchase. They will give you a full report of the adaptations you will need in a wheelchair vehicle. They will also talk with you about those different options and what you must have, comparing that to other options.

In some cases, that report may say you will need a ramp. Obviously, you should follow the recommendation. However, the report may leave some discretion in terms of what ramp you will want to buy. Do you really need a full power option or could you function with a spring-assisted ramp? The goal here is to select adaptations that meet your needs while avoiding overspending on those that exceed your actual needs.

Remember, the average wheelchair van may only last ten years. That means you are buying the Odyssey you need now. You are not trying to “have all the bases covered” for your later years. This is not a lifetime decision.

Understanding Funding and Financing Options
You should look for every available source of funding assistance for your Honda wheelchair van. Are you eligible for a federal or state program that can help reduce costs? Is there a mobility rebate available? Did you serve in the military and follow-up on potential Veteran’s Administration assistance? Will your health insurance or worker’s compensation coverage help with the conversion bill? You may or may not find ways to decrease costs, but it is definitely worth a long look.

If you are financing, you should be certain you are getting the best possible deal on your loan. You can get financing for a Honda wheelchair van from your bank, an auto finance company, a home equity loan or a variety of other sources. You should be choosing the best option available. If you have not yet purchased your Odyssey, talk with your Honda wheelchair van dealer. They may be able to bundle the price of your conversions into your auto loan.

Shop Wisely
You should do extensive comparison shopping before making decisions about your disability equipment dealer and conversion manufacturer. You do not want to cut corners on quality or safety to save money, but you do want to be sure that you are getting the best possible deal from qualified professionals.

Making wise equipment selections based on your actual needs, investigating all funding and financing options and being a motivated, well-informed shopper who’s willing to negotiate can help you find the best possible deal.

With a little extra effort, you may be able to dramatically decrease the amount of money you spend on your Honda wheelchair van.

Amputee Veteran embarks on cross-country bike trip from Maine

Rob Jones Journey -  Marine Veteran Cross Country Bike Trip

More than 50,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines have been injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 2,000 of them are now amputees. Marine veteran Rob Jones says his cross country bike trip is for them.

From a distance, the 28 year old looks like any other cyclist enjoying the last of autumn’s splendor in the Camden foot hills in Maine. It’s only up close that you realize this is no ordinary bike trip – since Jones’ legs are man made.

“I’m a combat engineer, so my job when there are IED’s is to find them. I found it with my foot,” said Jones. He lost both legs above the knee in Afghanistan, but not his determination.

He’s riding across the country, 5,400 miles in all, from Bar Harbor, Maine to San Francisco. Calif. He has an entourage of one; his 17-year-old brother Steve Miller.

They will spend around 6 months sleeping on cots in the back of a box truck, eating camping food along the way. They log around 30 miles a day.

Jones can’t stand on his bike to power up the hills because he has no knee joints. Because he has no knees, he can’t use his quads. He powers the bike with his hips and hip. But this Marine says he’s never shied away from a challenge. “The harder you push yourself, the more you’re gonna grow as a person. That’s what life is about for me,”.

Jones powerful message is painfully clear to his kid brother who watches every move he makes from behind the wheel of the support truck. “If someone can do an activity that requires legs, and do it without legs, then you can do anything,” said Miller.

Jones will donate 100 percent of any donations to three charities: The Coalition to Salute Americas Heroes, The Marine Semper Fi Fund and Ride 2 Recovery. He’s hoping to raise more than $1 million.


To follow Jones’ journey across America click here
Rob Jones cross-country bike trip journey


Donate to The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes
To make a donationDontae to The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
click here
Donate to Ride2Recovory

Freedom Fest 2014

Freedon Fest 2014Freedom Fest 2014 is an outdoor concert on August 09, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine to raise funds to build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine.  A joint project of Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 and the Fort Kent Historical Society, more information is available at www.IamtheAmericanFlag.com

Contact Information
Duane Belanger – Martin-Klein American Legion
Email: commander@americanlegionpost133.org
Chad Pelletier – President of Fort Kent Historical Society
Email: fkhistory1@yahoo.com


Headliner
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Thosmas Ian Nicholas - Freedom FestActor, Singer and Songwriter: Most famous for Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year
and Kevin Myers in the American Pie film series


Their Vision
To build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine to showcase and appreciate the sacrifices provided on our behalf so that our children and future generations will understand the true cost of freedom.  The Center shall be a living, breathing kiosk of history providing a dynamic educational opportunity for all those in the community!

FREEDOM-FEST 2014
Make a Donation — http://www.iamtheamericanflag.com/donate/

Companion dogs help veterans heal

Companion dogs help veterans heal

Companion dogs help veterans heal.
A program that pairs four-legged friends with disabled veterans is providing a life-changing addition to many military families. “They’re our heroes,” said one veteran. TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer reports. Featured is  former tank commander ‘Ski’ and his service dog ‘Steve’ of http://abesnet.com–and a cherished client of ours. We have helped Ski repair his current side entry wheelchair van and are currently working with VISIN 1 Brockton Veterans Administration (VA) Center to deliver him a new 2013 Toyota Sienna side entry from Vantage Mobility (VMI). The best part; Steve LOVES riding  up front in Ski’s wheelchair van. Hoorah!

 

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source: http://www.today.com/video/today/53128477#53128477