Vietnam Veterans of St Lucie County

 "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

                      Port St. Lucie, Florida   ~  Volume 2   Number 2




                                                                         From the President




Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to the new addition of our VVA566 chapter newsletter. It has been a very productive time for the chapter. We have added new members and held fundraisers and enjoyed each other’s company at the chapter picnic. As the membership grows it allows us to contribute and participate in many functions that benefit our veterans and the community we live in. Our new meeting place at the Port St. Lucie community center seems to be working out for us. At some point in time when the chapter gets large enough we can look for a more permanent location.

I want to thank the members that have stepped up and have taken positions on committees. The committees perform a vital function, and create a sense of commitment for the good of the chapter. Sharing responsibility in the workings of the chapter will only make us stronger.

The ladies of the chapter AVVA are trying to revitalize their group and need more members. If your significant other can help out that would be great and it would benefit the chapter as well as give them a chance to join in the fun. The ladies are an important part of the chapter and their help is greatly appreciated.

Our next event will be the POW/MIA service to be held at Veterans Memorial Park in Port St Lucie on September 22nd. This is a very moving service and it is drawing a larger crowd each year. We will be making plans at our next meeting so please mark your calendar and make plans to attend.

In closing I want to ask everyone to consider contributing something to the newsletter. A story, a memory or something you think will be of interest to our membership. If you have an idea or want to talk about it give me a call and we can work on it.


You’re Brother,

Joe Lusardi

                                                                                 Viet Nam Pictorial History


New Vietnam Veteran License plate for Florida 

Senate Bill 922



Section 13. Effective October 1, 2012, section 320.089, 802 Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 803

320.089 Members of National Guard and active United States 804 Armed Forces reservists; former prisoners of war; survivors of 805 Pearl Harbor; Purple Heart medal recipients; Operation Iraqi 806 Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans; Combat Infantry 807 Badge recipients; Vietnam War Veterans; Korean Conflict 808 Veterans; special license plates; fee.— 809

(1)(a) Each owner or lessee of an automobile or truck for 810 private use or recreational vehicle as specified in s. 811 320.08(9)(c) or (d), which is not used for hire or commercial 812 ENROLLED 2012 Legislature CS for CS for SB 922, 2nd Engrossed 2012922er Page 29 of 46 CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.


COLA for disability benefits

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill July 9 that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 1.9 percent for veterans who receive disability benefits. H.R. 4114, the Veterans Compensation Cost of Living Act of 2012, would make the COLA increase effective on Dec. 1 of this year

Judicial Benchmarks: 'Stolen Valor'

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act in a 6-3 decision. The law made it a crime to lie about having received a military decoration or medal, but the Court found that a false public claim to have received those honors isn't a crime. As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, the law's "sweeping, quite unprecedented reach ... puts it in conflict with the First Amendment."

According to Tejinder Singh, writing at the Court's blog, "The Court concluded that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because the Government had not shown that the statute is necessary to protect the integrity of the system of military honors -- the interest the Government had identified in support of the Act."

Regardless, those who make fraudulent claims to military honors are deserving of our deepest contempt.

For those of you who don't know; there is an ongoing project to build an
education center for Vietnam veterans. Click on the link for more information.

 Who is on the Wall?

First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear. Then click on their names. It should show you
a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals.
This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it.
I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.
The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio's and other information on our lost heroes.
Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.
Pass the link on to others, as many knew wonderful people whose names are listed.



VA Encourages HIV Tests for All Veterans

National HIV Testing Day Is June 27

WASHINGTON (June 26, 2012)- The Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraging all Veterans to be tested for HIV at least once in their lives.

VA offers HIV testing as part of its comprehensive, world-class care for the men and women who have served this Nation in uniform,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Testing, regardless of age or risk factors, is an important step to healthier, longer lives.”

Some VA facilities offer HIV testing on a walk-in basis or through routine primary care appointments. Others offer testing as part of special health fairs. More information about the benefits of being tested is available at

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, designed to raise awareness of the importance of early detection, which can help prevent the spread of the virus, extend life expectancy and reduce overall medical expenses.

It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one out of five are unaware they are infected.

VA operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care systems in the country. With a health care budget of about $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.3 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 90 million outpatient visits this year. VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.





Press Release

July 13, 2012

No. 12-17

Mokie Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

Statement of VVA National President John Rowan

On IOM’s Major Report on PTSD Treatment Programs

(Washington, D.C.) -- The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science today released the results of yet another study which assesses PTSD treatment programs and services in both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. This hefty, 380-page report, Treatment for Post-trau­matic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment, is the first of two mandated by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.

While VVA commends the IOM Committee for its hard work in summarizing information from both VA and DoD, a careful reading of this newest report can find many of its recommendations for PTSD assessment and treatment re-worded from IOM and RAND reports of five and six years ago. As an example, one “new” implementation recommendation calls for the departments to “encourage and support the use of evidence-based methods for PTSD screening, treatment, and rehabilitation.” This recommendation has appeared in at least two previous IOM reports and has been a VVA rallying cry to both agencies and Congressional committees for the last decade.

One new recommendation that VVA applauds, however, is important to note: “To study the efficacy of treatment and to move toward measurement-based PTSD care in the DoD and VA, assessment data should be collected before, during, and after treatment, and should be entered into patients’ medical records….” It is the fervent hope of VVA that both departments will finally adopt actual outcome metrics for use with each individual patient instead of just collecting numbers of individuals who enter, pass through, or drop out of treatment programs.

Otherwise, VVA finds little new in this latest IOM report other than the addition of specific recommendations involving Military Sexual Trauma, PTSD, and co-morbidities. However, VVA holds out hope that these recommendations will at last be taken seriously by both DoD and the VA and implemented to aid our soldiers and veterans suffering from this insidious malady of war.

It will take strong leadership on the parts of President Obama and Secretaries Panetta and Shinseki to ensure that these recommendations are actually taken to heart and integrated into the treatment and services provided by both departments. Maybe then more mental demons in more troops and vets can be lessened



Gary Sinise hopes new documentary inspires others to give back to U.S. wounded warriors

 By Hollie McKay

Published July 13, 2012


LOS ANGELES – When Gary Sinise took on the role of wounded U.S. serviceman Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forest Gump” in 1994, little did he know it would have such a profound impact on the rest of his life, both personally and professionally.

Today, Sinise spends much of his spare time entertaining and raising money for U.S. troops, veterans and their families with his group The Lt. Dan Band. His experiences have been captured in the documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good,” which debuts on the Documentary Channel this Sunday.

“I just felt a call to action after what happened on September 11th. I had been involved with a lot of different veterans’ organizations supporting Vietnam veterans groups and the Disabled American Veterans organization which I got involved with after 'Forrest Gump,' and September 11th just shook me,” Sinise told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I felt a call to action to help our country through a difficult time."

"We were deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan our troops were getting hurt. After being involved with veterans over the years and especially Vietnam veterans who came home from war had the door shut in their face, they were treated badly and the thought of that happening to our returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan was troubling to me," he said. "When freedom is in jeopardy in America these are the ones called to action and called to serve. When our backs are against the wall they will always be the ones to step forward to help bad things from happening to our country and our citizens.”

Director Jonathan Flora's film documents Sinise’s inspiring journey, following several of the band's performances for our servicemen and women, and honoring the remarkable efforts of first responders, their families and the citizens who support them.

“I’m not in it to be a composer or a recording star. I have a good career as an actor, that is what I do for a living. The band is completely and totally separate, it is part of a spiritual mission to serve the needs of men and women in uniform and people that are serving our country,” Sinise continued. “The band folds into a mission to lift spirits and morale and show support. When I first started USO tours it was just handshaking and pictures, and on the very first tour in Iraq I asked if they would let me bring (my musicians) on tour and entertain. I am an actor, but I didn’t want to go up there and do a monologue. That wouldn’t be entertaining for anyone.”

And while not everyone has Sinise’s public profile, or musical skills for that matter, he said all Americans can and should play an important part in supporting our troops.

“I would encourage people to look to the great military charities. Look within your own community, your own small town. They may need help with grieving families, communities need to reach out to those people and show them their sacrifices are appreciated,” he added. “Giving back can happen at home. Buy groceries or drive a wounded warrior someplace. If the documentary can inspire people, then hopefully it does its job.”

“Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good” premieres on Documentary Channel Sunday, July 15 (8PM ET/PT). Throughout the premiere on-air, watch for a promo code redeemable for an exclusive, free download of the Lt. Dan Band's original song "A Letter Home" at

Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.

Kristen Sellas

Casework Director

Veterans & Military Affairs Liaison
Office of Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis, FL-09
Tel. 727.773.2871

Fax 727.784.6471







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