Thanksgiving at the Marietta Veterans Center

Thanksgiving Celebration for Veterans and their Families

November 22, 2019

11:30 am – 2:30 pm

Marietta Veterans Center

40 Dodd St. Suite 700 Marietta, GA 30060

Celebrate with other veterans as the MVC gives Thanks for your sacrifice and service to this country.

Food and refreshments will be provided and several veteran-focused service organizations will be present.

Tuscan Tortellini Soup

Many people have shared how much they enjoyed the soup we had on Veterans Day. Since the recipe is so simple, I’ve shared it here, with my comments. Enjoy!

Ingredients to serve 6 people (It scales, if you wish to make more):

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I sometimes use bacon fat instead)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped. (Shirl Cusick is the master chopper)

1 lb. cooked link sausage, like kielbasa, cut into 1/2 thick rounds. (I opted for uncooked, ground, mild Italian sausage, and I would use hot sausage for my own soup)

3 cloves of garlic, minced. (If your garlic is already minced, you’ll need about 5 teaspoons)

1 can (28oz) crushed or ground tomatoes

6 cups Chicken broth

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I used cayenne pepper powder instead, and more than the recipe called for)

salt and pepper to taste

2 packages (9oz each) refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini

1 can (15 oz) white beans (Navy, or canellini), DRAINED

5 oz (about one handful) baby spinach

shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions: In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook until golden brown, (about 4 minutes if using cooked, longer if using uncooked) then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in crushed tomatoes, broth, and red pepper and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add tortellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tortellini is cooked and flavors start to meld, 18 to 20 minutes. (Here, I taste it to see if more salt or pepper is needed). Stir in white beans and spinach and cook until spinach has wilted, 2 minutes more. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cobb Veterans Outreach Meetings

Good Morning,  We have 4 Veterans meetings this month.  You are welcome to come to any and all.

Freeman Poole Senior Center –  2nd Tuesday of each month.  Next is November 12 at 10:00 am

            Speaker is Bernard King, Public Programs Coordinator, Cobb County Emergency Management Agency

Marietta Wellness Center (Powder Springs St.) – 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next is November 13 at 10:00am

            Speaker is Bernard King, Public Programs Coordinator, Cobb County Emergency Management Agency

East Cobb Senior Center is 3rd Wednesday of each month. Next is November 20 at 10:00am

            Speaker is Bernard King, Public Programs Coordinator, Cobb County Emergency Management Agency

West Cobb Senior Center is Thursday, November 21 at 10:00am.

            Speaker is American Legion Post 296 Ladies Auxiliary

Mike Nichols

Veteran Outreach Program Leader

RSVP Program Leader

Cobb County Senior Services

1150 Powder Springs St., Suite 100

Marietta, GA 30064

mike.nichols@cobbcounty.org

770-528-1448

Georgia Veterans Affairs Update

All,

We attended a hospital visit at the Atlanta VAMC on Wednesday:

Issues discussed are as follows:

-Projected dates for new clinic openings:

Pike County Clinic—January 2022

Covington (Newton) Clinic- January 2020 (Furniture delivery December 2019)

South Fulton Mental Health- February 2020

Pickens County Clinic (Jasper)- February 2020

South Cobb Mental Health- January 2020 (furniture delivery December 2019)

West Cobb/Austell Clinic- March 2020

Fulton Eye Clinic- March 2020

Fulton C&P Telehealth Clinic- March 2020

Cobb Multi-Specialty Clinic—New Contract Awarded January/February 2020—projected opening in 2022.

-The VA spoke about using VA fact sheets to spread the correct information: VBA Fact Sheets- https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets.asp ; Community care fact sheets- https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/pubs/factsheets.asp ; Mental health- https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/transitioning-service/articles.asp ; Suicide prevention- https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/data.asp ; VA Mission Act- https://www.missionact.va.gov/ ; Community care- https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/docs/pubfiles/factsheets/VA-FS_CC-Eligibility.pdf

-Phone issues continue to plague the Atlanta VAMC. The system is very old and is now on the priority list to be replaced according to the VA Central Office. Until then please use 404-329-2222 or 404-728-7690 to contact the hospital.

-The VAMC also admits that some of the employee have failed to use the phone equipment correctly resulting in back connections or no connections at all. The VA Central Office call team will be coming down to advise on this issue.

-VA appointments—Medical Support Assistants are forbidden from scheduling appointments prior to speaking with the veteran first. So if this has happened to you in the last 3 months please report it so they can correct it.

-Pharmacy labels smearing—Dr. Davis is going to address this with the pharmacy. He thinks it maybe a printer issue (not heating up enough)—he is going to suggest they put clear tape over the labels in the mean time to solve the smearing and fading problem. He also said that the pharmacy uses the script talk system to assist our blind veterans.

-The VA wanted to remind everyone to get their FLU shots this year. It will ensure that you will be protected–even if you do happen to get the flu it will not be anywhere near as severe.

-The Atlanta VAMC admits that there are issues with the Veterans Experience Office and senior leadership is working hard to change the negative culture that plagued the VAMC for years. They are making progress, but it will take time to make drastic changes in the culture.

-There have been a lot of personnel changes at the hospital (firings, mandatory retirements, reassignments etc). The hospital executive staff is working diligently on removing those responsible for negative behavior and sub-standard care. They are hoping that by removing obstacles to change within the facility will contribute to better patient care and overall service.

-The VA stated that due to veteran population growing so quickly, there is a critical shortage of Primary Care Doctors in the Atlanta VAMC area of responsibility to fill a lot of the new clinics. They specifically spoke about the shortages at the Rome clinic. Finding providers has been a challenge since the VA is not the most competitive when it comes to salary. They asked that if you know any doctors and nurses who are willing to come to the VA to please have them contact Dr. Davis his email christian.davis@va.gov

-Dr. Davis stated that HR is expediting the hiring process for doctors and nurses.

-The Department Commander requested information about homeless veteran issues in Georgia and specifically in the Atlanta area and what was being done about it. They stated that according to the HUD survey conducted in January 2019, there are 345 homeless veterans in the Atlanta Area which is a 45% decrease since 2010.  

-Ms. April Edwards, VA Homeless Coordinator provided information on the homeless issues. She briefed CRRC at Fort McPherson https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/crrc.asp  They stated that the VA was no longer going to “enable” homelessness by providing sleeping bags and other items during outreach, they want to transition them off the street. She stated that veterans must want to get off the street in order for it to work and that reducing homelessness is a partnership with multiple organizations – It takes a village. She also mentioned that some homeless veterans in rural areas don’t want to go to Fort McPherson. HUD is pushing for city and county governments to assist with homelessness in there areas. They also mentioned Operation Reveille- https://www.va.gov/homeless/events.asp

Thanks,

Mark

Mark D. Demers, MBA, CM

Veteran Appeals Officer/

American Legion Department Service Officer

Georgia Department of Veterans Service

1700 Clairmont Road

Decatur, Georgia 30033

Office:404-929-5345

Fax:404-929-5347

E-mail:  mark.demers@va.gov

Website: https://veterans.georgia.gov/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gavetsvc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gavetsvc

American Legion- Department of Georgia: https://georgialegion.org/

Service Officer Tool Kit- https://georgialegion.org/service-officer-training/

American Legion (National): https://www.legion.org/

Georgia Guard Charity Cookoff 11.14.2019

There’s a great charity event coming up to benefit our friends at the Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation.

“Bring the Heat Charity Cook Off Competition! Red White & Boots” – Thursday, November 14, 2019

                                                                                www.bringtheheatcharitycookoff.org

Hosted by the Georgia National Guard Foundation, Rotary Clubs of Cobb County and Mending Heroes, this Adult Only  Event will be held at Jim Miller Park Pavilion, 2245 Callaway Rd SW, Marietta, GA 30008

                       4:30 to 9:00 PM on Thursday, November 14, 2019!                  

Twelve teams will be participating in the “chicken cook off” competition, including members from the GA ARNG, the GA ANG and the State Defense Force, Cobb Sheriff’s Office, Cobb 911, Cobb County Police & Fire, Cobb Solicitors Office, Marietta Police & Fire, Kennesaw Police and Metro Atlanta Ambulance.   

These teams are getting serious about the competition and videos are being posted on the website and social media so check it out! 

Special thanks to Springer Mountain Farms for donating the chicken for the competition!  And a big shout out of appreciation to the “celebrity cook off judges” who are confirmed for this fun event!

We are also very EXCITED to announce that TV and Movie Star, Lucas Till, star of X Games and MacGyver will be joining us as a “SPECIAL GUEST” for the evening!                                                                                              

Governor Brian Kemp and Mrs Marty Kemp have been invited and MG Tom Carden, BG Randall Simmons, BG Tom Grabowski and military leadership from the Georgia National Guard will all be on hand!  Some awesome static displays are being rolled in from our Recruiting Team and Public Safety organizations!

Music!  Put on your “dancing boots” to the live music of “Sons ’N Britches” with barbecue and fixin’s from Williamson Brothers BBQ!

We would LOVE for you to be a part of this fun event!

1. LIKE us on our Facebook Page:  Bring the Heat Cook Off

2. Share the attached invitation with ALL of your friends, colleagues, constituents, business partners, and civic organizations.

3. Invite them to Partner with us as a Sponsor!

4. BUY Tickets and get more information on our website:  www.bringtheheatcharitycookoff.org  

Come on out to CHEER on your favorite team and help us spread the word for some great causes!

Net proceeds to benefit the Georgia National Guard Foundation, the Cobb County Public Safety Foundation and the Veterans Court of Cobb County/Bravo/Victor Fund.   THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Harriet Morgan                                                                                                                

Program Manager

Georgia National Guard Foundation                                                                        

678-569-5704

harriet.h.morgan.vol@mail.mil