The Summit County VSC and the VA Vet Center are partnering to help veterans who are struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their families by hosting a Free PTSD seminar at the VSC headquarters in Akron.
Columbus, Ohio (April 9, 2015) – Jeremy Lanham served two tours in Iraq with the United States Army. During that time he was exposed to several large explosions, receiving multiple concussions and suffering injuries to his brain. The injuries went untreated and as a result, Jeremy suffered extreme migraine headaches and was unable to sleep for years.
Jeremy became aware of Sara’s Garden, a facility in Wauseon Ohio that provides Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). HBOT is the administration of 100% oxygen in the presence of pressure, which can help the body heal from conditions in which low oxygen in the tissues inhibits or complicates the healing process.
Jeremy was excited to try the therapy and hopefully find relief from severe migraines and sleeplessness, but traditional health care would not pay for the treatments.
Jeremy’s situation was shared with the VFW of Ohio Charities, which agreed to pay for his treatments on an experimental basis. “When we heard about Jeremy’s struggles to live a normal life due to his war injuries, we were eager to fund his treatments and determine if this could help him, and if it might be an option for other veterans who are suffering similar symptoms,” said Bill Seagraves, Director of VFW of Ohio Charities.
Jeremy’s treatments have been funded with revenue generated by the Ohio Veteran and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) charitable video raffle program. Since its inception, the video raffle program has raised over $13 million to support posts, lodges and charitable causes like Jeremy’s treatments. The funds are split evenly between the organizations and the local charitable causes they support, much of which helps veterans and their families who need a helping hand.
Jeremy received an intensive regimen of two one-hour treatments per day for eight weeks. Since his treatments began, Jeremy has experienced no severe headaches and has regained the ability to sleep soundly for extended periods of time. “I haven’t had that in years and years, and it’s had a massive impact on my ability to function every day,” says Jeremy.
Jeremy is excited not only about his own improvement, but also what this could mean for other suffering veterans if they had access to this type of therapy. “Hopefully we could dramatically minimize the twenty-two veteran suicides that we are currently seeing every day.”
After further evaluation of Jeremy’s results, Seagraves says VFW of Ohio Charities will consider an ongoing partnership with Sarah’s Garden to treat many more veterans with brain injuries.
The American Legion Department of Ohio Charities has partnered with Fallen 15 to honor Ohio’s women veterans with the inaugural Veteran Women’s 5K. The race will be held on March 28th in Dublin, OH.
“The American Legion, our members, and our charity is proud to make this $3,000 contribution to Fallen 15 in support for an event that brings much needed attention to Ohio’s veteran women veteran,” said Suzette Price, Service Director for the American Legion Department of Ohio.
The American Legion and its charity understand the importance of supporting events like the Women Veterans 5K.
“There are over 70,000 women veterans in Ohio who have played, or continue to play, an important role in the mission of the United States military. Events like this allow all citizens in Ohio to celebrate the service and sacrifices that they have made on behalf of our country,” said Ms. Price.
The American Legion is a charter member of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC), a group that been helpful in providing much needed support for charities like the American Legion Department of Ohio Charities. This support, in turn, allows the American Legion to assist and promote events like the Women Veterans 5K and groups like Fallen 15.
One such program is the OVFCC’s charitable video raffle program.
“The charitable video raffle program has been an important part of our efforts to keep post doors open,” Ms. Price said. “Ohio veterans need a place to go and socialize with other veterans, including women veterans”.
Please come out and support the Veteran Women’s 5K run.
Program surpasses $13 million contributed to Ohio charities
Columbus, Ohio (March 26, 2015) – Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. of Middletown, Ohio died in Iraq June 6, 2011 as a result of a rocket attack, leaving behind his wife Samantha and two children. After Michael’s death, Samantha moved from Ft. Riley, Kansas back to Butler County, Ohio. “Michael’s death was extremely hard on me and our children. I still feel his presence every day,” says Samantha.
In the years following Michael’s death, Samantha was able to support her family financially. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances this past year, Samantha fell behind on her mortgage and needed some temporary help.
Thankfully, Samantha became acquainted with Carolyn Coley, wife of Ohio Senator Bill Coley as they worked together in planning an upcoming highway dedication in her late husband’s name. A portion of Tylersville Road in both Butler and Warren Counties will be named the “Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. Memorial Highway” at a dedication on April 26th.
During the highway dedication planning process, Mrs. Coley became aware of Samantha’s recent financial difficulty and learned that she was in jeopardy of losing her home. Mrs. Coley reached out to the VFW of Ohio Charities to see if it could help Samantha.
VFW of Ohio Charities subsequently donated over $4,600 to the Cook family to help Samantha catch up on her mortgage payments. “We were honored to be a part of keeping Spc. Cook’s family in their home,” said Bill Seagraves, Director of VFW of Ohio Charities. “This is the type of charity work we do every day, so it fit right within our mission to help veterans and their families.”
Samantha was grateful for the VFW’s support, saying “Because of the VFW, I have been able to get back on track financially. My mortgage is due on the first of each month and I have a long-term financial plan in place. I just needed a little help to get through an unanticipated circumstance and the VFW was there for me. I want to thank Mrs. Coley and the VFW for working together to make this happen.”
The donation was made possible because of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition’s (OVFCC) charitable video raffle program, which has now generated over $13 million for Ohio charitable causes. Each year, thousands of charitable dollars generated by the raffle program support veterans and their families who are struggling to pay expenses like housing and utility bills.
By law, fifty percent of video raffle revenue supports posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local 501c3 charities in communities across Ohio, who in turn assist hundreds of veterans and their families who are in need.
“We want all veterans and their family members, especially widows and children to know that we are ready and willing to help during a time of crisis,” said Seagraves. “The OVFCC’s raffle program has allowed us to help provide millions of dollars in assistance to those in need.”
While the charitable video raffle program continues to garner praise and support from Ohio’s veteran and fraternal groups and the charities they support, they lack certainty in their ability to continue supporting families like Samantha’s in the future. The program was ordered by the Attorney General to be shut down in December 2013, but the OVFCC immediately filed a lawsuit and was allowed to remain in operation under a court restraining order until the issue is decided by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in a trial scheduled to take place later this fall.
AMVETS Department of Ohio officers Merle Pratt & Jim Graham present Rep. Rick Perales with “Legislator of the Year” Award
The AMVETS Department of Ohio presented its “Legislator of the Year Award” to Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) on Saturday at its annual mid-winter conference. Representative Perales retired from the United States Air Force in 1997, his military career culminating as Commander of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
In 2013, Representative Perales sponsored House Bill 325 which would have clarified Ohio law with regard to video forms of charitable gaming. While the bill expired in committee, AMVETS Department of Ohio wanted to recognize Representative Perales for his commitment to helping veterans’ organizations.
“AMVETS appreciates Representative Perales’ dedication to giving our posts the ability to raise funds to support their operating costs and support local charities in their communities,” said Merle Pratt, AMVETS State Legislative Chairman and Past Department Commander and board member of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC). “AMVETS’ goal is to improve the quality of life for veterans, their families, and the communities where they live. Rick Perales tried to help us with this mission, and we are grateful.”
On the heels of the announcement that the OVFCC has helped raise over $12 million for local and national charities and organizations, the Columbus Dispatch tells the story about how the system is still working:
More than a year after state officials temporarily pulled the plug on video raffle machines at veterans posts and fraternal lodges, the wheels are still spinning, and money is flowing.
The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition said yesterday that video raffles have generated $12 million for a variety of Ohio charities in the past three years. The money has benefited vets groups and other charities, such as Buckeye Boys State, Special Olympics and the Wright-Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, which received $100,000 for emergency financial help, employment and counseling for active-duty military families.
Hundreds of local charities throughout Ohio benefit from support
Columbus, Ohio (January 27, 2015) – The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) announced this week that its video raffle program has now raised over $12 million for Ohio charities.
The funds directly benefit veterans’ posts, fraternal lodges and hundreds of local 501(c)(3) charities; fifty percent of the revenue supports the posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local 501(c)(3) charities in communities across Ohio, such as the Wright Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, Buckeye Boys State, Special Olympics and hundreds of individual Ohio veterans in dire need of financial assistance for housing and supplies such as sleeping bags and boots.
As an example, the OVFCC raffle funds have helped provide well over $100,000 to the Wright Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, which helps active duty families in times of need with financial crisis assistance, counseling and employment services.
“Thanks to the charitable video raffle program we are able to provide much needed assistance to members of all branches of the military active at WPAFB,” said Dan Faulkner, VFW Department of Ohio, Hospital and Homeless Veterans Chairman. “These vital funds help put food on the tables, pay funeral travel expenses, and make rent payments during financial crisis for men and women who are fighting to defend our freedom. If not for the charitable funding provided by the OVFCC organizations, I don’t know where these families could get the assistance they need. This is truly essential support.”
Each year, thousands of charitable dollars support veterans who are struggling to pay for housing and utility bills. VFW of Ohio Charities partners with organizations like National Church Residences’ Commons at Livingston to keep veterans in housing.
“The VFW organization and its members have been a valued supporter of our Commons at Livingston permanent supportive housing community for disabled and homeless veterans through cash donations, in-kind gifts, and volunteer activities,” said Jeffrey S. Wolf, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy & Communications for National Church Residences. “National Church Residences looks forward to serving more disabled and homeless veterans with the VFW’s assistance when the Commons at Garden Lake in Toledo opens the summer of 2015. In addition, the VFW has been a generous supporter of our Hospice program serving low-income clients and their families. National Church Residences is grateful for its partnership with the VFW and our efforts to transforming the lives of those we serve.”
A substantial portion of the funds raised through the OVFCC charitable video raffle helps pay the salaries of Veterans Affairs State Service Officers and Claims Benefits Representatives who are responsible for bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars each year in federal claims for Ohio veterans in need and their family members.
“Our claims benefit program is our most important initiative,” said Wayne Hutchison, the VFW State Service Officer. “The VFW Department of Ohio funds salaries for ten claims benefit representatives who are responsible for obtaining and maintaining federal funding for veterans and their dependents. This funding is vital to veterans and their families, and it is all returned directly back into Ohio’s economy. Charitable gaming plays a significant role in the VFW’s ability to both fund the program as well as improve the quality of life for veterans and dependents.”
The OVFCC is 501(c)(6) organization established in 2003 to achieve consensus and develop policy on various issues affecting veterans and fraternal organizations in the State of Ohio. Member organizations have input regarding charitable gaming as well as legislation, rules and regulations that impact veterans and fraternal organizations. The OVFCC is the voice of more than 2.1 million members and their families who are active in more than 1,700 posts and clubs throughout Ohio.
OVFCC President Bill Seagraves can be reached for further comment at (614) 222-1611