Updates on POW/MIAs identified, Memorial Day Concert, search for Purple Heart Recipients, Housing Grant for ALS and Veterans Unemployment drops

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 @ 9:59AM

Veterans’ Unemployment Drops in 2013
This week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its employment report of veterans for 2013. According to BLS, unemployment among all veterans in 2013 was 6.6 percent—nearly one percentage point lower than the national average. Unemployment among Post-9/11 era veterans also dropped to 9 percent, but remains significantly higher than civilian unemployment. To the VFW, this means that employment initiatives like the VOW to Hire Heroes Act have produced results, but gaps remain in services for younger Post-9/11 era veterans and female veterans. Read the VFW’s full analysis of the BLS report.

ALS Housing Grant Update
The VA has announced that veterans and active duty military personnel with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, will now be automatically eligible for almost $68,000 in VA Specially Adapted Housing grants to help pay for the costs of building, buying or adapting a home to accommodate service-connected disabilities. Studies have shown that veterans and military members are nearly twice as likely to develop ALS as those who haven’t served. Learn more.

Seeking Purple Heart Recipients
Close to 2 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since the medal was created in 1932, but the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor only has the names of 193,000 recipients in its database. If you or a loved one received a Purple Heart, make sure to add your names to the Hall of Honor, along with photos and narratives of when, where and how the medal was earned. For more information or to submit, click here.

Memorial Day Concert Seeks WWII Vets
On May 25, 2014, Gary Sinese and Joe Mantegna will return to host the Memorial Day Concert on the Mall, along with Gen. Colin Powell. This year, Capital Concerts, the producer of the event, is seeking World War II veterans to help commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion and the 10th anniversary of the National WWII Memorial. Some veterans could be interviewed on videotape and then honored on stage. Interested WWII veterans should contact Celia Straus, writer of the concert, at Celia.straus@gmail.com. Learn more about the Memorial Day Concert.

Two Korean War MIA Recovered
The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of two soldiers who had been missing in action since the Korean War. Identified are:

  • Pfc. James R. Holmes, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, was lost Dec. 1, 1950, in North Korea. He was accounted for on Jan. 14 and will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in May.
  • Cpl. Cristobal Romo, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was lost Dec. 12, 1950, in North Korea. He was accounted for on Jan. 13 and is scheduled to be buried tomorrow with full military honors in Riverside, Calif.

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