Pets for Patriots – Connecting Our Four-Legged Friends with Veterans Can Help with PTSD

Soldier embraces his canine companion. (Photo: Public Domain)

Soldier embraces his canine companion. (Photo: Public Domain)

November 18, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is dedicated to helping different charities that help our four-legged friends. Donations to the CFC help organizations such as Pets for Patriots and this goes a long way in caring for our veterans.

Pets are known for helping symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and actually boosting the immune system, according to Elements Behavioral Health.

“Pets have measurable positive impacts on the humans who care for them.”

Having a pet to care for helps take the focus off the experiences the veteran has gone through by focusing on the pet’s needs.

Pets for Patriots mission is to help “veterans from WWII to active duty find a new pet friend while giving the most overlooked, undervalued shelter animals hope and a home.”

CFC founder and executive director, Beth Zimmerman, stated that the foundation is a lifeline of support for both the pets and the veterans who adopt them.

The foundation began in 2010 and have helped to give “the most overlooked and undervalued dogs and cats a home,” Stated Zimmerman.

MilitaryTimes reports, “It’s the fourth-year Pets for Patriots has been part of the CFC, she said, and the group has seen donations grow exponentially. Pledges in 2015 topped $162,000, more than double the nearly $70,000 raised in 2014. This year, Zimmerman said, the goal is to reach $200,000 in pledges via the CFC, which is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. It runs from Sept. 1 through Dec. 15, but each area campaign designates the time frame within those months to conduct its local campaign.”

Though the veteran is responsible for the adoption fee, discounts and waivers are offered. When a veteran adopts one of these ‘last-chance’ pets, a gift card of about $150 is sent to them. Also, available to the veteran and their new pet is “ongoing veterinary care from veterinarians in the network who agree to give a discount of at least 10 percent” as well as other retailer discounts.

Since 2010 many lower-income veterans and elderly veterans have been involved in the adoption of over 1,209 pets. If they cannot afford to pay for their pets needs because of a temporary hardship, there are programs to assist them.

Through their various programs last year, 447 who needed assistance with adoption where helped. The price tag for that assistance was $72,640.

So far, this year Pets for Patriots has spent $11,300 for veterinary care alone.

The foundation is growing leaps and bounds. According to Zimmerman, joining the CFC has helped to reach people who are inspired by our work, and who may not otherwise know about us.”

Zimmerman goes on to say, “As we grow more robust, we’re getting more requests. There are also a lot more therapies available for pets. The good news is it helps more pets; the down side is, it’s more expensive.”

Pets can be a huge part of a veteran’s healing process. There are no prejudices from a pet and they will accept the owner without noticing or caring if their human is disabled or impaired in any way. Their devotion is 100 percent and an incredible source of comfort and attention.

If you are interested in either giving to or adopting a pet from Pets for Patriots click here.

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Written by Lorra B.

Decorated Army Veteran with PTSD Sues Airline for Banning Service Dog

A soldier with a Therapy Labrador Retriever. (Photo: Public Domain)

A soldier with a Therapy Labrador Retriever. (Photo: Public Domain)

October 31, 2016

By Lorra B.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder strikes many veterans and Lisa McCombs is no exception. After serving honorably for four years in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it is her service dog, Jake, that she relies on to help her combat the panic and stress associated with PTSD.

Her Labrador retriever has accompanied McCombs without incident whenever she has flown but all of that “changed one year ago, when she was barred from boarding a regional American Airlines flight with Jake, who was wearing his service vest and was properly documented at the time,” reportsThe Washington Post.

Army vet Lisa Mccombs, of Gulfort, Miss., and her service dog Jake. (Screenshot credit, WLOX-TV)

Army vet Lisa Mccombs, of Gulfort, Miss., and her service dog Jake.
(Screenshot credit, WLOX-TV)

According to her federal lawsuit, McCombs was attempting to fly from Manhattan to Kansas and as she was getting ready to board the plane an airline agent came up and asked “in a condescending tone, ‘ummm, are you going to fly with that?’”

Not only was McCombs reportedly humiliated she also spent the next 48 hours in limbo being interrogated and unable to return home. She was, according to the report, stressed out, ‘verbally assaulted by two agents’ to spoke loudly and rudely while insisting she explain in detail her ailments that would require her to have an accompanying service dog.

“I don’t understand why I’m being treated like this!”, McCombs cried. “He is my service dog! I have PTSD, look at me, I’m an anxious mess!”

Because McCombs became frustrated and upset and cursed aloud the Airlines threatened to have her arrested.

This nightmare went on for two days. McCombs was assured that she would be able to catch a flight the next day, with Jake, but when she tried to board the plane the exact same disaster began all over again.

McCombs for forced to book a flight with a different airline and rack up and additional costs exceeding $600.

It is McCombs contention that American Airlines violated the Disabilities Act and she wants to be compensated for the “reckless disregard” of her rights, her airline tickets, medical treatment and legal fees.

PTSD is not to be taken lightly and affects about “11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and 20 percent of veterans of the war in Iraq,” according to the VA.

According to Service Dogs for America, specially trained service dogs can zero in on symptoms of PTSD and redirect the symptoms of panic, anxiety and nightmares by forcing their owner to focus their attentions on the animal.

American Airlines is not commenting on this issue other than to say, “The process for traveling with a service animal on American is in line with applicable federal regulations,” and that, ‘the company “appreciates and thanks Ms. McCombs for her service to our country.’”

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By Lorra B.

Are The Armed Forces Suffering From Post-Traumatic BIBLE Syndrome?

Soldiers openly praying. (Photo: Public Domain)

Soldiers openly praying. (Photo: Public Domain)

August 18, 2016

By Lorra B.

Once again the Armed Forces find themselves in the news over Christian preferences when Air Force Major Steve Lewis left an open and highlighted bible on his desk.

Recently a lance corporal had been court’s marshaled for pasting bible verses on her desk. Now, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is demanding a stop to Lewis’s declaration of Christianity.

The bible “is very obviously a statement of Christian preference, Christian primacy,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein stated. “Had that been the Book of Satan or the Koran there would be blood in the freaking streets.”

Col. Damon Feltman, the commander of the 310th Space Wing, said, “He has removed the Bible voluntarily because he didn’t want this to cause attention or disruption to his unit. I’ve performed a walk-through of the office and everything seemed to be in compliance with Air Force regulation.”

So, it’s not having a bible on the premises that is a problem, it is what you do with it.

Major Steve Lewis's Desk. (Photo: Public Domain)

Major Steve Lewis’s Desk. (Photo: Public Domain)

Col. Feltman said, “As long as he’s not doing something excessive, the existence of a Bible or the Koran or the Torah or some other religious article is not prohibited, It’s what you do with it when you have it.”

Weinstein described the incident as a “repulsive violation of USAF regulations” as well as the U.S. Constitution. Considering Weinstein gets paid trying to obliterate Christianity from the Armed Forces perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

This is the email from an individual who is around Lewis regularly:

“It certainly gives the appearance of favoritism toward one religion,” says a Peterson military member who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution. “I’m a Christian myself, and it’s concerning. I don’t think people should be promoted or given opportunities based on whatever [religion] they are. It should be about your performance.”

Weinstein certainly agreed and wrote a letter to AFB Col. Feltman:

The egregious Constitutional and DoD regulatory violations of such a brazen display of sectarian Christian triumphalism and exceptionalism have been noted by many USAF members through the years but they have not sought to officially seek redress and remediation from this outrageous display of callous and bold Christian primacy from their respective USAF chains of command due to all-too-credible fears of reprisal and retribution from same.

It is fine, of course, if he wishes to keep his Christian bible, replete with yellow-highlighted verses, in a desk or office drawer or even in a handy, nearby office bookcase but NOT open, yellow-highlighted and at the very epicenter of his USAF work desk for all of his helpless subordinates and many others to view continuously on a daily basis.

Another Airman snapped photos of the open, highlighted bible to turn over as evidence. Yet another whined that the bible is a “blatant case of Christian defiance and Christian discrimination.” This airman wasn’t only offended the open bible but he was “outrageously offended,” according to Fox New.

According to Air Force Instruction:

Every Airman also has the right to individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs, to include conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs, unless those expressions would have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health and safety, or mission accomplishment.

Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.

“Major Lewis has created an around-the-clock Christian Bible Shrine on his official USAF workstation desk that has been in prominent static display for years,” Weinstein said.

Really? A Bible Shrine? The picture clearly shows a bible and nothing else.

Why is the bible such a threat to non-Christians? Is a bible that gives comfort to a large percentage of our Armed Forces so hazardous that soldiers need to be punished with reprimands or even court’s marshaled?

Perhaps when a non-Christian soldier implodes or starts speaking in tongues there would be reason for alarm. Until then, I say let the soldiers have their comfort in their God.

“Perhaps the Air Force should offer complimentary counseling for those personnel suffering from PTBS (Post Traumatic Bible Syndrome)?”

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By Lorra B.


Watch The Final Desperate Moments Of Decorated Army Sgt. James Brown’s Life – Warning GRAPHIC

(Screenshot Credit, YouTube)

(Screenshot Credit, YouTube)

May 19, 2015

by Lorra B. for Silent Soldier

The final moments of U.S. Army Sgt. James Brown’s life are captured on a newly released video. Brown was serving a two-day, DWI sentence. What this video shows is an active-duty, decorated veteran not only bleeding but desperately trying to breathe.

Suffering from PTSD, Brown is subdued by riot-gear-clad police officers as he is struggling in his cell. 35 minutes pass and before Brown loses consciousness he can be heard several times desperately telling the officers that he can’t breath.

According to Fox news, Brown, “who was stationed at Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, voluntarily checked in to the El Paso County Detention Center on a Friday in July 2012 to serve a two-day sentence, and was dead by Sunday. Three years later, KFOX-14  has obtained graphic video that shows Brown’s final moments, before he died of what a coroner said was a sickle cell ‘crisis.’”

So what really happened? The details of Brown’s death are puzzling. In the new video Brown can be seen thrashing around and clearly causing himself to bleed. But, what causes Brown to go berserk in the first place?

After being subdued by the officers, and repeatedly telling the officers he could not breathe, he is hoisted over the officer’s shoulders and take Brown into another room where he is injected with lorazepam, a mild sedative according to KFOX.

Things go from bad to seriously worse as Brown tells the officers “I’ve got problems,” and implores the officers to get him water, which, eventually, they do. But after Brown is taken back to his cell, his breathing becomes more labored and he becomes unresponsive.

Brown was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

“The family’s lawyer said at no time was an ambulance or 911 called for help,” reports Fox News.

No illegal drugs were discovered in Browns body and he had no criminal; record.

A statement by the El Paso County Sheriffs Office states, “Mr. Brown’s death was an unfortunate tragedy. The sheriffs office has conducted a thorough review of the facts surrounding Mr. Brown’s death and, based upon all the evidence obtained, determined that his death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition. The specific evidence cannot be discussed because of pending litigation.”

Dinette Robinson-Scott, Brown’s Mother, stated she didn’t understand why her son wasn’t in a military jail as he should have been.

Brown’s mother went on to tell KFOX that “I pray that new laws protecting soldiers in custody will be implemented, that the military adopt new policy procedures in regards to their soldiers being held in custody by an outside agency. If these changes can be made and our soldiers are protected, and another family never has to experience what my family has, then my son’s death would not have been in vein.”

 by Lorra B.

Another Veteran Takes Her Own Life In A VA Parking lot

dMay 12, 2015

By Lorra B. The Silent Soldier.

The VA Hospital once again finds itself in the spotlight. On Monday, 31 year old Michelle Langhorst shot herself in the head while in the parking lot of H.J. Heinz, a Pittsburgh VA hospital in Aspinwall. Langhorst is one in a growing number of veteran suicide statistics.

According to a Medical examiner, Langhorst took her life around 1:37 in the afternoon. Although the VA hospital she was receiving medical treatment has yet to be determined, she chose to take her life in the parking lot of the VA hospital located at 1010 Delafield Road.



The following is a statement released form the VA,“This is a tragic event that speaks to the suffering and anguish that some veterans experience. Our thoughts and condolences go to this veteran’s family and friends.” went on to report that while the VA is continuing to investigate, “Part of the investigation will determine what, if anything, we could have done for this veteran and others who receive care at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.”

At least 22 veterans kill themselves every day in this country.  

Although a briefing by the US Department of Veteran Affairs suggests that “suicides among those enrolled in the Veteran Health Administration decreased by 30 percent it also states that suicides among veteran non-enrollees” soared by 60 percent.

But, Enrollment may not be the problem. It is the treatment received that may not always be adequate, states the briefing, and in some cases patients will commit suicide while waiting months to receive the help they need.

Does the VA owe Langhorst’s family, and those waiting months to receive much needed medical attention, an explanation and an apology…and is that enough?

Written by Lorra B. at Silent Soldier.

Wounded veteran gets new, custom-built home in Sanford

dMarch 23, 2015

SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) –Sanford’s W. 25th St. was partially shut down on Friday afternoon and dozens welcomed Sgt. Jackie Irving home.  

Irving hasn’t just returned from a tour of duty, as he’s already done his time overseas. He and his family are literally coming home to a brand new custom-built house.

“My family is happy, my kids are in there somewhere right now going crazy. I’m happy, they’re happy and I’m grateful for what’s been done for us,” Irving said.

Retired from the Army, Irving did tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan and in 2012, he suffered serious injuries from the blast of an improvised explosive device, including a brain injury.  He is also still dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“What we’re looking for is families that in spite of what they’ve been through, in spite of their injuries, in spite of their circumstances, they just will not let anything get them down,” said Lee Kirgan, VP of construction at Operation Finally Home.

Operation Finally Home is a non-profit that builds mortgage-free homes for wounded and disabled veterans across the country and they say the Irvings are exactly what they look for when choosing a family to help.

“For awhile, I had to wait until it really got into me like ‘OK dude, this is real. Nobody’s playing jokes on you. This is the real deal,'” Irving said.

More at

Disclaimer: This was not written by Silent Soldier.