Applications are being accepted for the inaugural display of Military Hometown Heroes street banners, to be featured in Downtown Topeka from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11, 2017.
Topeka’s Military Hometown Heroes banner program connects the Capital City with other communities in Kansas and across the nation in creating a vibrant tribute for our neighbors who are serving, or have served in the armed forces of the United States.
“This is good for Topeka. It’s a win-win for all of us,” said Scott Gales, president of the Military Relations Council of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. “The banners will create a sense of familiarity. These heroes are our neighbors, friends and relatives.”
Spearheaded by the Military Veteran Project, the banner program also is made possible with support from the Military Relations Council, Visit Topeka and Downtown Topeka, Inc.
“"We wanted to give our community a way to honor and pay tribute to our local veterans and giving loved ones a way to show their appreciation for their veterans service through the Military Hometown Heroes of Topeka,” said Melissa Jarboe, founder of the Military Veteran Project, a volunteer-driven nonprofit focused on prevention of military suicide through research and treatment. MVP is based in Topeka. “We are happy to be able to partner with Downtown Topeka Inc, chamber of commerce and Visit Topeka on this community project.”
Each 24” by 72” banner includes a portrait of the service member, their name, rank, branch of service and a white, blue or gold star to signify an honorably discharged veteran, a currently serving service member, or those who died in the line of duty, respectively. The honoree must be or have been a Topeka resident.
The first 68 banners will appear on Kansas Avenue in Downtown Topeka between Patriot Day and Veterans Day. The program may be expanded to other areas of the community. Each banner will cost approximately $200, including production, installation and removal. The fee can be paid at the time of application. Donations also are being accepted by the Military Veterans Project.
One of those banners will feature Army National Guard LTC Anthony “Tony” Randall. His wife, Jenalea Randall, is a member of the Military Relations Council and spoke about the program this week. Recognition of Topeka’s Hometown Heroes will remind all of us that our freedom requires action, she said.
In the case of LTC Randall, who served stateside after Hurricane Katrina and earned a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, recognizing him with a banner will allow his friends and family to remember his love and commitment – to each of them and his country. LTC Randall was serving as Chief Environmental Officer for the Kansas Army National Guard when he died of brain cancer in 2014.
“Each community has their own approach to this,” Randall said of recognition for veterans and active service members. “I’m glad we will be able to honor Tony and his service in a way Topekans can see.”
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Shaun P. Covington:
Sgt. Shaun P. Covington lost his battle on March 21, 2016, at the age of 25.
Shaun was born October 20, 1990 in Washington, DC. Sgt. Covington was a signal support non-commissioned officer assigned to 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team at Fort Riley, Kansas. Sgt. Covington arrived at Fort Riley in February 2013. He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from April 2011 through April 2012 and Operation Inherent Resolve from June 2014 to March 2015.
Aimee A. Filbeck:
SGT Aimee Alleene Filbeck lost her battle on June 20, 2016 at the age of 39.
SGT Aimee Alleene Filbeck was born March 30, 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from North Little Rock High School. In 1995, she moved to Branson, Missouri where she began working as a contract hotel manager and also served on the Lodging Association Board of Directors for many years.
In 2009, SGT Filbeck entered the United States Army and served her country faithfully. She was 1st in everything and earned several awards and commendations. SGT Filbeck was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In 2015, SGT Filbeck was inducted into SGT Morales Club while deployed in Kosovo. SGT Filbeck was team sergeant for the 763rd EOD Co.
In her spare time, SGT Filbeck enjoyed watching television with her husband and vacationing together. She enjoyed going to the beach and also the shooting range. Most importantly, she loved her family and enjoyed spending time with them.
Brian S. Mancini:
SFC Brian Scott Mancini lost his battle on March 7, 2017, at the age of 38.
Brian was a medically retired Sergeant First Class, Combat Wounded Veteran who served as a Combat Medic with two tours in Baghdad, Iraq. He served over 12 years of Military Service in the United States Army. He was the recipient of two Purple Hearts, the Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Air Assault Badge and Flight Medic Badge. He was medically retried in April of 2011 and returned to work in the community where he was born. Brian was a proud Phoenix native and enjoyed volunteering and advocating for healthier Veterans care options and transitional needs, and was the founder of the Honor House. He enjoyed spending time with his family, friends and Fly Fishing
Melissa Jarboe, Founder Of The Military Veteran Project To Give Testimonial On Veteran Suicide to Veteran Affairs Committee Thursday In Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC (April 24, 2017) — Thursday April 27, 2017 at 10:30am, Military Veteran Project (MVP) Founder and CEO Melissa Jarboe will be testifying at the Veteran Affairs Committee to address the concerns of Veteran Suicide.
WHAT: Media Availability to discuss questions and priorities of testimony from Melissa Jarboe.
WHO: Melissa Jarboe, Founder of the Military Veteran Project
WHEN: Thursday, 27, 2017 at 10:30AM EST
WHERE: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing can be streamed live here.
Note to media: Please email email@example.com to RSVP for the availability or if additional accommodations might be necessary for an interview around the hearing.
Melissa Jarboe is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Military Veteran Project, A volunteer-led non-profit founded in 2012, MVP’s mission is military suicide prevention through alternative treatment and research. Jarboe believes and takes a bi-partisan stand on veteran issues and the Military Veteran Project is a non-partisan organization not affiliated with a political party or candidate. On March 21, 2012 Jarboe's husband SSG Jamie Jarboe passed away after nearly a year of fighting for his life after he was shot in Afghanistan by a sniper leaving his paralyzed from the chest down. Jarboe formed the Military Veteran Project to carry on her husband's dying wish to care for his fellow service members.
Jarboe currently resides in Kansas. Her first book, Sacrificed: Memoirs of SSG Jamie & Melissa Jarboe, a critically-acclaimed account of her experiences, advocacy on behalf of veterans and love story was published in 2014.
Since 9/11 it’s not uncommon to see women in conflict areas around the world. Their numbers in the military have increased, and a new study shows their problems associated with war, too, have increased.
A comprehensive study from the Department of Veterans Affairsshows the suicide rate among women vets has increased 85 percent over the last 25 years.
“You had to be really tough, you know. You couldn't take anything less than excellence,” says Dawn Lafferty.
Lafferty says in her 13 years as a corpsman in the Navy she experienced and saw a lot. It impacted her, just like all her female colleagues.
While they had a common bond in the military, Lafferty believes those bonds untie, and looking for understanding in the outside world gets difficult.
“Just think about it. You know if you are sitting with a group of women who have never been in the military, they don't understand what type of experiences have really taken place,” says Lafferty.
There could be something to Lafferty's theory. Even though female veterans commit suicide at lower rates than their male counterparts, it is six times higher when compared to women in the civilian world. And those female veterans are more likely to use firearms in their suicide attempts.
“Veterans in general, both men and women, are obviously going to be more comfortable with firearms than the civilian population. About 67% of veterans die of self-inflicted gunshot wounds,” says Marlyn Scholl, a suicide prevention coordinator with the VA.
Scholl says there is help out there for veterans within the system. In recent years there's been an increase in mental health staff, an expansion of the suicide crisis hotline, and trying to ensure same-day treatment. But the bigger challenge, she says, is getting veterans to take advantage of the programs.
The study also showed this:
“20 veterans die of suicide every day. It is huge. About 6 of them only, 6 of them are in the VA system. So there is this other 14 that are not associated with VA care,” says Scholl.
If you want to know more about the Veterans Crisis Line call 1-800-273-8255. You can also go to a confidential chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net or text 838255.
Battle In Distress
Midwest Float is proud to offer a pay-it-forward program for our active and veteran military service men and women, and actively collaborates with the Military Veteran Project Partnership to help veterans discover floating as one of the therapies available to them.
Active military and veterans are among those who benefit the most from the unique combination of benefits that floating and sensory deprivation offer. In combination with other traditional therapies, it can be an incredible tool for unwinding the effects of PTSD and its many co-factors, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, the large transdermal (via skin) exposure of magnesium-rich Epsom salts is one of the most effective ways of physically de-stressing the body. Many vets find the solitude of the float tank environment to be a refreshingly different and comfortable space for processing their personal thoughts.
Our #FLOATITFORWARD program provides other floaters an opportunity to give back by donating into a float fund.
Those who are on a Float Club membership can opt to have one of their monthly floats automatically donated into the Float it Forward fund.
Active military and veterans can sign up to be notified when new floats are available in the fund.
Names for assigning Float It Forward opportunities are chosen randomly, and we’ll choose give preference to someone who has not had the opportunity to experience floating before over someone who has already floated. In the event that all subscribed fund recipients have floated before, we’ll simply go down the list sequentially based on subscription date.
No personal identification between giver and receiver will ever occur; this a totally anonymous pay-it-forward model.
Donate To or Receive From The Float It Forward Fund.
To either donate or receive from the Float It Forward Fund, please just send us an email at Floatitforward@midwestfloat.com explaining what you would like, and we’ll take it from there.
Service dogs have special legal protection. One can go anywhere its owner goes, fly free on airplanes and live in all housing, regardless of pet policy.
The special animals protect and serve people with disabilities, but fake service dogs are on the rise, and for selfish reasons.
"It's a huge issue," Smoky Mountain Service Dogs Chairman Mike Kitchens said. "People just go on the Internet, buy a vest and slap it on their dog just because they want to go to the grocery store with their dog."
Popular auction websites make it easy to buy a vest and service dog certificates. However, normal pet canines receive significantly less training and financial input than trained ones, such as Vanner, who lives at the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs facility in Lenoir City, Tennessee.
"It's disheartening to those of us that do it appropriately," Kitchens said. "A dog like Vanner is trained for two years, about 15 to 1,800 hours, and it's about a $20,000 dog."
Passing off a dog as a trained service is illegal. It can also be very expensive if the dog hurts someone because the owner is always liable.
"If your animal actually bites someone while that animal is supposed to be under your control, then you would be exposed to liability, and I think that liability would be increased if you represented your animal as a quote-on-quote service dog," Attorney T. Scott Jones said.
The law protects service dog owners from being asked too many questions. Dog trainers say the best way to stop the spread of fakes is personal honesty.
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Nine questions most civilians are thinking about, but are too scared to say out loud. When a civilian like me starts asking a veteran certain questions, things can get awkward, fast. The reality is, though, that even if we have enough tact not to ask, we’re still going to wonder. Let’s face it; in many ways, veterans and civilians are from different planets. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to speak each other’s language, appreciate each other’s culture, and even inhabit one another’s worlds. Here’s what your civilian friends are really wondering about you and what they really mean when some of these uncomfortable questions inevitably slip out.
1. Did you see some really messed up stuff over there?
Crude and insensitive, this question covers all the negative bases. Though we all try to be tactful — and we all know what morbid curiosity feels like — this question is the one that slips out when that curiosity gets the best of us. We’ll probably never actually ask you this, but what we are wondering is if the things we learned about war from the media and movies are actually accurate.
2. Did you ever kill anybody?
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Hopefully, none of us will ever ask you this question, as it’s a sensitive subject and obviously none of our business. Still, if it does end up slipping out, please go easy on us. We’re still trying to wrap our heads around the concept of killing as a necessary evil that’s actually permitted in war at our government’s behest — something that is probably only possible to really understand when you’ve faced a grave threat to your own life and stared down the barrel of someone else’s gun. We ask ourselves if we’d have the courage to do the same — a question that bears no moral judgement on you, but rather whether or not we would ultimately ever have the guts to pull the trigger too.
3. What the heck did you actually do in the military, anyway?
Unless we are military brats ourselves, most civilians sadly have no clue how the U.S. military works. You’re going to need to spell it out for us — don’t tell us that you were a “door gunner” and expect us to get it; say “I shot guns at bad guys from a helicopter.” If you were a cook or worked a desk job, we want to know that too, because we care about you. We understand that every role in the military is essential and requires courage and self-sacrifice, not just the “sexy” jobs.
4. Can I say, “Thank you for your service?”
Many of us were brought up to believe that this is the right thing to do, and when we say it, we sincerely mean it. When facing an active-duty or veteran service member, most of us are keenly aware of the fact that you’re the one who had the balls to serve — not us — and we truly are grateful for it. At the same time, we know that there’s been backlash from some service members who feel that this statement is either inappropriate or insufficient, so we’re often not sure whether or not to say it or keep quiet.
5. Are you suffering, and if so, can I help?
We’re all aware of the prevalence of post-traumatic stress and the pressing issue of the veteran-suicide rate, we also don’t want to force any assumptions on you by asking how you’re doing, especially if the answer is “Just fine, thank you.” All we really want you to know is that we’re eager to be there for you, help you, support you, and listen to you without judgement. We just want to be there for you if you need us, no matter how much we trip over our words when offering our support.
6. Are you still the same person that you were before you went to war?
Maybe we knew each other back in high school, before we both went our separate ways and you enlisted. Reconnecting after following such divergent paths, we may need your reassurance that you’re still the same person that you were before, and if you’re not, we need to know how you’ve changed, so that our friendship can evolve into new and authentic patterns of interaction.
7. Can you only really relate to other veterans now?
We admire and respect you, which is why we want to be your friend. We’re also keenly aware that there’s a huge part of your life that we can never fully understand unless you choose to share it with us. We can’t help but wonder if this means that you’d just rather be friends with other vets (though we hope that’s not the case).
8. What was it really like “over there?”
Everyone knows that there is no real substitute for actual experience. Each news outlet has its own bias, and Hollywood’s representations of warzones are for the most part a lost cause. For many of us, while we might be able to ask an uncle about Vietnam or a grandparent about World War II, having the chance to ask a member of our own generation about the realities of war is a rarity. While we might be hesitant to ask, we’re intensely curious about everything from where you slept and what you ate to what it feels like to lose a friend on the battlefield.
9. What do you think about this politician/conflict/issue?
I know that it probably gets exhausting when everyone expects you to have the definitive opinion on every issue that makes the headlines. But just recognize that in many ways, your wisdom and experience are the closest that most of us will ever come to understanding what it would actually feel like to be one of the proverbial “boots on the ground.” If you don’t have an opinion, that’s okay too.
Of course, let’s not be naive: Some people really are just ignorant jerks who ask obnoxious questions and assume the worst of you. Your true friends are none of the above, but they still might wonder some of the same things. The bottom line is that your true friends love you, and whatever awkward thing that they say or ask, know that it’s coming from a place of good intentions. A little bit of mutual understanding here goes a long way, and you’ll both grow wiser and more compassionate in the process.
SALUTE OUR HEROES FESTIVAL is on a mission to be one of the largest celebration of service in our country. Organized by the Military Veteran Project, it carries on the traditions of honoring the service and sacrifice of veterans , offering the public the opportunity to show their support for those who serve on our nation's most visible stage in the State Capitol of Kansas, Topeka.
Learn how you or your group can join us in festivities by registering to participate in Topeka Veterans Parade or as a vendor for Salute Our Heroes Festival
Sponsor packages and donation information MORE >>Join OUR team! Individuals and Groups Welcome! MORE >>
Salute Our Heroes Festival & Topeka Veterans Parade is a program organized by the Military Veteran Project a non-profit organization dedicated to prevention of military suicide. The Festival & Parade assist with mobilizing public support for our veterans, connecting our veterans with resources, and assisting organizations serving our veterans.
Military Veteran Project is very honored to announce today the partnership with Azura Credit Union's Community Impact Card Program. MVP was selected by Azura to receive proceeds from their community impact card. When an Azura customer initiates the program the pay a one time $2 fee and then five cents for every purchase (debit or credit) for the next year.
Military Veteran Project volunteers are appreciative to add the support of Azura in our ongoing efforts and look to potential development of programs as we continue with our mission. Military Veteran Project Founder Melissa Jarboe shared her emotional thoughts "The Military Veteran Project looks forward to a continued successful partnership with Azura and know thats that the investment made by our volunteers and members will help continue our mission of Military Suicide Prevention through research and alternative treatments. Community partners and businesses like Azura help connect philatnrophy efforts and make it possible for our community to work together for the greater good and from all of us here at the Military Veteran Project we are thankful for this great opportunity."
TOPEKA- Azura Credit Union announced five additional charities of choice joining the Azura Community Impact Debit Card program on Wednesday January 18th at 10 A.M. at their 1129 S. Kansas Avenue location. The program will now include a total of seven participating charitable organizations. In addition, to announcing the 2017 additions Azura presented funds to TARC and Topeka Rescue Mission for their proceeds from participating in the Community Impact Debit Card program in 2016.
Representatives from all seven of the charities of choice were present:
TARC, current and continuing charity of choice, www.tarcinc.org
Topeka Rescue Mission, current and continuing charity of choice, www.trmonline.org
Boys and Girls Club of Topeka www.bgctopeka.org
Harvesters – The Community Food Network www.harvesters.org
MVP, Military Veteran Project www.militaryveteranproject.org
Supporting Kids Foundation www.supportingkids.org
Topeka Community Cycle Project www.cycleproject.org
As a charity of choice in the Community Impact Debit Card program, when Azura members choose to participate they will select from one of these seven charitable organizations. Members will receive their special Community Impact Debit Card for a one time $2 charge. As members use the card to make purchases, Azura Credit Union will donate five cents to the organization the member selected. The organizations were selected through a committee process and align with one of Azura’s areas of focus: education, quality of life & fundamental needs, health & wellness, and community revitalization.
TARC and Topeka Rescue Mission participated in a check presentation and announcement of the 2016 results of their participation in the Community Impact Debit Card program. The Community Impact Debit Card program was able to raise $30,774.10 for TARC in 2016 and Topeka Rescue Mission received $10,211.10.
“We are beyond thankful for our members who choose to participate in Azura’s Community Impact Debit Card program. This program is a an excellent example of the impact we can make in the community when we all work together. One swipe at a time, we were able to accumulate and give $40,000 in 2016. We are excited to see the possibilities, growth and impact this program can have for our existing and new additions in 2017.” said Jennifer Kirmse VP of Business Development at Azura Credit Union.
If you want to learn more about the Community Impact Card contact Azura Credit Union by clicking HERE