Local Veterans Angry Over Secretary Bob McDonald’s ‘Disney’ Remarks

CHICAGO (CBS) – Local veterans expressed anger on Tuesday after the head of Veteran’s Affairs compared long wait times at VA hospitals to lines for amusement rides and Disney.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, the fallout started after Bob McDonald said this o reporters on Monday:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the hours you wait in line?” Bob McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington on Monday. “What’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?”

That didn’t sit well with some of the 700,000 or so Illinois veterans.

“It’s disappointing; it’s wrong. It should have never been said,” said James Balcer, a Marine veteran and former alderman. “It’s as simple as that.”

Balcer was one of more than a dozen vets who gathered days before Memorial Day to discuss their needs.

“You sometimes have to wait a month or two months in order to get seen,” said Frank B Thomson III. “The waiting is entirely too long.”

The two candidates for the U.S. Senate in Illinois were both unhappy.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, said: “The secretary should be embarrassed for making such a comparison.”

Democrat U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth: “The statement is unbelievably tone deaf and hurtful to American heroes.”

Army veteran Rochelle Crump said, “Our veterans would rather be at Disney World but unfortunately they can’t go because they’re sick and they are ill.”

Today, McDonald told NBC News, “If I said the wrong thing, I’m glad I have the opportunity to correct it.”

Source: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/05/24/local-veterans-angry-over-secretary-bob-mcdonalds-disney-remarks/

City Hall Press Conference May 24, 2016

A group of concerned veterans are having a Press Conference on this Tuesday at 11 AM at City Hall on the 2nd floor. The Summary of Issues are as follows:

Summary of Issues of Chicago’s Concerned Veterans

May 20, 2016

We are here to express the concerns of veterans in Chicago and Illinois and to call on those running for elective office to have a well thought out, comprehensive program for the veteran community which we represent. We call on veterans themselves to stand up and be counted; vote for those candidates with a veterans program that supports and benefits our community. Our number one concern is that it is unacceptable for a candidate for national office — presidential, senatorial or congressional — not to have a veterans’ platform as part of their election program. As concerned veterans, we want to outline a veterans program that includes specific proposals. Our concerns:


Illinois Veterans Home

There is no more important case than the State Home for Veterans in Chicago. On September 21, 2014, the state broke ground to mark the beginning of construction for the new Illinois Veterans Home at Chicago. Construction later began and was expected to last approximately 12 to 14 months. Once completed, the process for setting up and staffing the new facility would begin. On July 1, 2015, our state elected representatives allowed the construction project to stop as part of the state budget stalemate. As of today, it remains at a standstill. The cost of the project is $70.5 million; reportedly, the project is 65 percent federally funded by the VA. Since the project was stopped, it is clear it will cost even more when restarted. Stopping construction of the Veterans Home is completely unacceptable to the veterans of this state and their families. Our elderly, sick and disabled veterans have needed this facility for years. Now, due to politics and squabbles, it remains at a standstill.  This is a travesty. Our veterans deserve better and this is one project that should have not been held up because of politics.


Prisoners of War and Missing in Action (POWs-MIAs)

We call for a full accounting of those who were taken as Prisoners of War and never returned to this country and those who are listed as Missing in Action. There is no greater travesty for families, loved ones and the country as a whole than to have left behind those who fought for our country and whose fate remains unknown. There are 83,000 missing persons from previous wars and conflicts. We demand a full and accurate accounting of all those Missing in Action. Additionally, we call for increased support for our Gold Star Families that have lost loved ones in defense of this country.


Homeless Veterans

Veterans’ homelessness is unacceptable and is a disgrace to this nation. Reportedly, one-third of all those homeless are veterans. This is a travesty. The federal and local governments have, in the past, put forth programs to eliminate veteran homelessness. These programs need to be revitalized, made specific and achievable, and to be concretized in order to get all veterans off the streets and into safe, affordable, appropriate, clean and decent housing. This needs to be made a national priority.


Transition from Active Military to Veteran

The transition from military to civilian is a major concern for all those leaving military service and their families. Many are looking for jobs that utilize the skills and talents they developed in the military. Many more are transitioning to school and then into careers. Appropriate, well-paying jobs need to be available to all veterans as they leave the military or complete their schooling. Education benefits need to be enhanced to facilitate military veterans in getting the education that have earned through their service.


A key point in both these arenas — ending homelessness and transitioning veterans — is to focus the resources available so as to unite the veteran community and the service providers. The current system leaves a Gordian knot of organizations at the federal, state and local levels that veterans find almost impossible to navigate. The problems of former military personnel making it in the civilian world are complex, and we need a one-stop shop for all veterans where they can find access to physical and mental health care, jobs, housing, family services, legal counseling, and case management.


VA Health Care

Health care is a major concern. You would think that military records would just be transferred to the VA upon discharge. But the military record system — coordinated through the Department of Defense — is not compatible with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system, so veterans’ records are not automatically transferred. This is unacceptable and needs to be corrected.


VA health care is excellent, but — like all health care systems, private or public — it has its problems. Some veterans are excluded from receiving VA health care. Geographical limitations keep others from accessing the VA. Dental and visual care and family care are not available to all veterans. These can have devastating effects on the ability of the veteran to find work and to cope with everyday life. VA health care needs to be available to all veterans. And the VA needs to remain intact. We stand firmly against efforts to privatize any part of the VA.


Mental Health Services

Mental health care is of particular importance. There have been many calls for increased care of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), substance abuse and other signature injuries of military service and multiple combat tours. It is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day; this is a major concern that must be addressed.. Along the same lines, the VA needs to correct the dysfunction of the Veterans Crisis Line. The VA needs to rapidly expand the number of practitioners in the mental health field, as it is the most rapidly growing sector of the health care needs of veterans. Overall, VA health care expenditures have grown, but at the same time they have been falling as a percentage of total VA expenditures. This makes no sense. VA health care is crucial to the veteran community. The veterans of this country have earned the specialized care that only the VA can give, oriented as it is to the specific, long-term care of the veterans’ community.


Women Veterans

Women are now 17 percent of the military. The number of women veterans is growing by leaps and bounds. Women veterans are often the primary caregivers in their families and most single-parent families are headed by women. Homelessness among women veterans and families headed by women is a particular problem. Community veteran organizations lack the safe haven and gender-specific support for women, particularly at night and on weekends, when many crises occur. Although the VA has moved in the right direction, all VA health care facilities need to have women’s health care on exactly the same level as the care provided for male veterans. Gender-specific services such as mammograms need to be provided in-house. Case management and all the other services that veterans need must be tailored to women veterans as appropriate. Privacy at clinics for women veterans is a major issue. The risk of suicide for women veterans is reportedly 12 times that for non-veteran women and rose 40 percent between 2000 and 2010. Surveys show that women veterans almost unanimously want separate services from their male counterparts. Women veterans are still not fully accepted as veterans who served and made the same contributions as men, so many do not even identify themselves as veterans. We demand that these women, who have served their country with honor, dignity and sacrifice, must be fully accepted and given equal services, benefits and status in all areas.


Veterans Disability Claims

The veterans benefit process is broken and has been for a long time. The last six Secretaries of Veterans Affairs have committed to ending the backlog of benefit applications that currently — on average — take a year and a half and recently constituted over 430,000 cases. The VA only admits to 75,000 cases; much of the backlog has been transferred from the VA to the Board of Veterans Appeals and so are not counted as VA cases. The VA has also transferred resources from educational benefits processing to disability claims to reduce the backlog there. That has created a backlog in education benefits. The key to ending these backlogs is to hire more front-line personnel to handle the cases. These are the personnel assigned to determine whether the cases are valid or not and to process the application. It takes time to hire and train these personnel, but more than enough time has passed over the last decade to have solved these problems. Computerizing the system helping, but the process is labor-intensive and veterans need the people on-site to do the job. Additionally, there are cases under investigation of claim documents that affect veterans’ cases being shredded. This is the kind of error that feeds veterans’ rampant distrust of the VA.


When a veteran raises her or his hand and is sworn into the military service, they have become part of the defense of this country. They are provided for and trained to be all that the military service requires; no expense is spared while they are in the service. But part of that expense is the care for veterans upon discharge from the service and their families who have also served along with the veteran. This country has gone to war, but in many cases has shortchanged those who served once they have left the service. It is time we reversed this shortcoming. We call on all our elected officials to stand up and be of service to the military veteran. We call on the veterans to stand up and be of further service in electing, educating and facilitating our elected officials in these tasks.



Veteran Resource Picnic July 1 2016

Please join us at our

Veteran Resource Picnic

Friday JULY 1, 2016
10:00 A.M.
McKinley Park
3900 S. Western
on pershing road

East of Swimming Pool & Basketball Court
Chicago, Illinois

We will provide LARGE BBQ grill
Hot dogs, Hamburgers & soda

Please bring your own Table & Chairs

Feel Free to bring your own BBQ Grill, food & drink

Donations Welcomed

Download (PDF, 334KB)

Next CVO Meeting May 21, 2016

The next meeting of CVO will be on Saturday, May 21st from 10 AM to 12:30 PM at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in the Conference Room on the 2nd Floor.

We will hold elections to the Executive Committee. We will also discuss the upcoming press conference being organized by former alderman Jim Balcer and others. It will outline a veterans program for candidates in the 2016 elections. CVO has had major input. We will also want CVO members to attend the press conference. The exact time and place will be announced.

We will also discuss a new report, the State of the American Veteran in Chicagoland.

And more…

As always, coffee and donuts will be served and parking will be validated.

Come out and support CVO!

Free Acupuncture Care for Veterans

Veterans Clinic

Vet Wife NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard offers a Veterans Clinic that specializes in treating a wide variety of injuries and disorders that affect combat veterans, including: post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain.

They provide natural and drug-free health options, and can also co-manage a veteran’s treatment plan with their current physician.

Free Acupuncture Care for Veterans
The Veterans Clinic at the NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard offers:

  • Traditional acupuncture
  • Moxibustion – the therapeutic application of heat to acupuncture points and
  • Tui Na – oriental medical massage along acupuncture meridians
  • China Gel – an herbal topical pain reliever

These therapies are excellent for relieving symptoms of chronic pain and PTSD, and a wide variety of other health conditions.

Discounted Services Offered

A discounted rate of 20% will be offered to veterans and/or spouses for the following non-PTSD services:

  • Physical examinations, including medical history
  • Physical therapeutic modalities
  • Rehabilitation, including therapeutic exercise prescriptions
  • Chiropractic manipulative therapeutics
  • Kinesio Taping®
  • Laboratory services
  • Radiology (X-ray) services, including ultrasonography
  • Dispensary items (vitamins, botanicals, herbs, etc.)
  • Orthotics
  • Orthopedic supports or appliances
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy

Discounts for Spouses of Veterans
Acupuncture, including needling, moxibustion and Tui Na, along with all other clinic services mentioned above are discounted 20% for spouses of veterans.

Schedule Your Appointment
Call 630-629-9664 to schedule your appointment at the NUHS Whole Health Center, located at 200 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard, IL 60148.

Veterans Services at National University’s Whole Health Center in Lombard are sponsored in part by a generous contribution from China-Gel, Inc.

Employment Opportunities at BMO Bank – May 11, 2016

Opportunities at BMO bank (Veterans strongly encouraged to apply).


Senior Service Rep role ( Bilingual Spanish) 1position 1600002406

  • Someone who comes for banking and speaks Spanish
  • Someone with previous retail banking experience and comfortable with sales
  • Part-time Role min 30/hrs
  • Drive thru hours are Monday to Friday 8AM – 6PM, Lobby 9AM-5PM
  • Drive thru hours on Saturday 9Am -PM and Lobby 8AM – 12:30PM
  • Grade 3 – Paying between $27,200- 30K ideally between 13.04/hr to 15/hr

Download Job Description

Download (DOCX, 17KB)


Personal Banker/Universal Banker- GLENCOE

  • The candidates does not require to have extensive sales experience, what is really important is to have a strong relationship with the community
  • Someone who understand dealing with customers that have old money and understand that culture
  • Some who lives around and is very involved with the community and had strong partnerships
  • This is a full time role – however for the right candidate this can be a part time opportunity. They will still need to work minimum of 30 hours a week
  • Hours are from 8:45am to 5pm. The branch opens up at 9am however they need to be there 15mins early to get prepared.
  • One night a week (Wednesdays) they are required to work till 7pm – where the whole branch is involved his calling existing clients
  • Salary : Personal Banker – 38-42K
  • Universal banker

Download Job Description

Download (DOCX, 18KB)


Customer Contact (Call Center) Banker – Buffalo Grove

  • The candidates need to have previous sales and call center experience
  • High School Diploma  some college preferred
  • 2-3 years work experience in customer service environment
  • Good knowledge of computers; ie. internet systems
  • Solid interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills
  • Effective organizational and time management skills
  • Salary : Personal Banker – 38- 39K

Download Job Description

Download (DOCX, 17KB)

DePaul University Veterans Hiring Event on May 17, 2016

DePaul’s Talent Acquisition and MERG (DePaul’s Military and Veteran Employee Resource group) are hosting a career event.

They want to meet you

When:  Tuesday, May 17th from 3:30pm – 6:30pm.

Where: DePaul Center, Loop campus, 1 E. Jackson, 11th Floor, Gallery

Meet with the recruiters, hiring managers and members of MERG

RSVP’s are welcome at staffing@depaul.edu but you can still attend if you do not get a chance to RSVP.  There are over 50 open jobs, some are part-time and some are full-time.  Visit www.depaul.edu to apply for these jobs.

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