After the Marines and Lioness, Ashton Kroner’s Service Continues

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

1LCVFSFAshton Kroner2

Marine Lioness Ashton Kroner in Afghanistan

Not many women can list “Marine” on their resumes. Even fewer can list “Lioness”, a title reserved for women who have served in combat roles. Ashton Kroner is proud to list them both. Currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for Road Home, a program of The Center for Veterans and Their Families in Chicago, Ashton is one of many Veterans who continue to serve their country and community once the active duty uniform comes off.

Ashton knew in high school that she wanted to join the Marines, so she went to Boot Camp at age 18, completing Basic Training at Paris Island, SC. She learned quickly to follow orders, including the Drill Instructors’ absolute rule of never referring yourself as “I’, “me”, and “mine”. “Like everyone else, I referred to myself as ‘this recruit’,” Ashton said. “Right away you learn that it’s about ‘us’, not ‘me’. Otherwise, there’s hell to pay.”

Coming September 7, 2019

on Monday, 29 April 2019.

1LCVFSFRUCKLogo2019Final 

Why We March

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation presents The Ruck March of Lake County annually to raise awareness about the Veteran suicide epidemic that claims approximately 20 Veteran lives every day.

The Ruck March of Lake County is back for its third year with a new route (see map above). Our passion remains the same: to raise awareness about military suicides and to reduce the number of needless losses.

In 2018 there were 20 suicides per day of active duty military and Veterans, male and female. Alarmingly, the highest number of suicides is among active-duty personnel, the worst in at least six years. Moreover, the overall military suicide rate is much higher than that of civilians. 

The military, VA and advocacy groups are developing new ways to improve mental health care during and after service. Initiatives such as immediate support through the Veterans Crisis Line available 24/7/365 to provide support for Veterans who are at acute risk for suicide, and for those calling on the behalf of a Veteran. We need to get this message out and help reduce this staggering epidemic.

How? It is easy and rewarding.  Just march with us on September 7th and raise awareness.

VA Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (Ramp) launched

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

What is RAMP?

In November 2017, VA launched Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) with the goal of providing eligible Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disability compensation claim.

Initially started as an invitation only program. On April 2, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded RAMP, by removing the requirement that Veterans first receive an invitation from VA in order to elect participation in the program.

RAMP is voluntary and will provide eligible Veterans the opportunity to enter the new, more efficient review process outlined in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 before the law becomes effective in February 2019.

VA’s Center for Women Veterans Social Media Highlights, Connects and Informs Women Veterans

on Monday, 25 March 2019.

IMAGE: CWV graphic

Posted in Women Veterans by Danielle Corazza

The women Veteran population is growing and VA is stepping up to meet the need through innovative programming and services specifically designed to serve women. But, once the programs are deployed, how do we get the word out? How do we ensure that women Veterans self-identify and take advantage of the benefits they’ve earned and deserve? And, how do we capture the sentiment and reality of what women Veterans are experiencing so we can raise those voices to drive effective policy?

New Resource Available: Attorney Provides Help with Family Law

on Wednesday, 15 May 2019. Posted in News

Whitcombe Rebecca GDM3886web 1

Meet Rebecca Whitcome

Coming from an extended family full of Veterans and having a big “soft spot” for Service Members, Rebecca Whitcombe recently agreed to offer her professional legal services to the foundation’s families and friends.

There is free consultation for those who call LCVFSF to register. Other legal services are offered at a reduced rate that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Rebecca expects that most of her “return” will come from the satisfaction of helping Veterans and their loved ones. “I want to ‘give something back’ to the Veterans and family members in the community around me,” she said. “That led me to contact LCVFSF.”

Rebecca’s firm, Whitcombe Law, P.C. is dedicated to dealing with family issues that include divorce, adoption, custody, child support, paternity and pre-nuptial agreements. Rebecca started her own Waukegan-based firm nine years ago after working first as a paralegal and then as a lawyer for other firms. She is a graduate of Cornell Law School.

“We are very happy that Rebecca has agreed to work with us in helping Veterans and their loved ones,” said LCVFSF founder and president Paul Baffico. “If you have a family law matter that you need help with, just call us at 847-986-4622.”

VA Mission Act Update

on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

IMAGE: MISSION Act graphic

The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs. When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

Trusts, Estates and Wills Lawyer To Serve Clients In Need

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. Posted in News

If you are a Veteran who needs a will and powers of attorney for healthcare and property, LCVFSF would like to introduce you to Attorney Sandie Moon. Working through the foundation, Sandie offers estate planning services at much-reduced rates to Veterans and heir loved ones.

A former teacher, Sandie is demystifies the language of estate planning and helping people prepare for the inevitable transition that death brings to individuals and families.

The life-long resident of Lake County brings the communication skills of a teacher to the practice of law. “I was an elementary and middle-school teacher for many years before deciding I wanted to stretch my horizons,” she said. In her mid-thirties, she began paralegal studies and went to work for a Waukegan law firm as a bookkeeper and secretary.

1LCVFSFMoon5 19

A New Way to Help Veterans: Donate Your Vehicle

on Wednesday, 05 December 2018.

       LCVFSFlogo    1LCVFSFapcLogo

Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns.  In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.

Army combat veteran uses her experience to help struggling Lake County Veterans.

on Monday, 06 May 2019.

Garza2

Former Army Sgt. Roxann GarzaTershel said her unit was attacked nearly every time it transported gasoline and water during her 13½-month deployment in Iraq.

"Nearly every convoy I was in was attacked in some way," Garza-Tershel said. "We'd see IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or small-arms fire. Through it all, we were told to just keep moving."

The eight-year veteran said she feared for her life many times when explosives or gunfire tore through her convoy. In one instance, her convoy became "sitting ducks" after it was separated from an armored calvary regiment in downtown Baghdad.

"We went through an intersection when the vehicle in front of us was hit by an IED," she said. "It was the first time I was like, 'Holy cow, that could have been us.'"

Veteran Fishing Club 2019 News

on Tuesday, 28 May 2019.

Veterans Fishing Club Nets Lots of Fish (and Laughs);

1LCVFSFFish5 19

The weather cooperated the morning of May 18th allowing 15 Veterans the opportunity to catch a lot of fish, as well as to enjoy each other’s company. The group gathered at Equestrian Connection, a Lake Forest equine therapy center that includes a 10-acre pond loaded with hungry fish (see the photo).

Adding to the fun was free coffee and scones so generously donated by the Fort Sheridan Starbucks store. After a morning of fishing, the Veterans also were treated to hamburgers with all the trimmings – also donated by Starbucks.

May 18th was our fifth successful sold out meeting of the Veterans Fishing Club thanks to the hard work of Veteran Peer and host/coordinator Bob Gorman. Bob has worked very hard to put this great series together. He needs your help if you want to participate: transportation, equipment, bait, and catch are the responsibility of the participant after the registration fee.

If you’d like to be a part of the Veterans Fishing Club, call us at 847-986-4622…and mark Saturday, July 13 on your calendar. That’s our next meeting. More details to come soon.

Register for the next event on Eventbrite or for more info, call us at 847-986-4622

Space is limited!