ScoutReport – August 2, 2019
It was a crazy week at ScoutComms as we are working hard for our clients and battling the summer heat. A study out of the University of Akron found that veterans actually earn more than civilians by a significant margin, while our friends in the UK have finally established a standalone office responsible for veterans issues beyond the Ministry of Defence. Congratulations to our friend and client, Marine Corps Reserve Colonel Steve Weintraub of Vet Tix, on his retirement from the service after a remarkable 32 years of service. Check out his great shout out from VA as the Veteran of the Day below. Be sure to share this edition with your friends and colleagues. We also find that children love it as bedtime reading…so give that a shot…you won’t regret it! – Fred
Research finds veterans earn more than non-veterans
A pair of professors from the University of Akron set out to find if veterans earn more or less on average than their peers in the civilian sector and found that not only do they make more but by a significant amount. The “veteran wage differential” study found that military veterans’ wages were nearly $26 an hour while non-veterans averaged just $21 an hour after looking at average wages of veterans and non-veterans across the U.S. between 2005 and 2015. They cite factors including that veterans have higher levels of work experience, are often older and are more likely to be married and have children. Other factors, according to the study, may be that they choose occupations and industries that requires more education and higher skill sets, like engineering, health care and government. In the end this is probably surprising to a lot of people who accept the narrative that veterans are hamstrung in the workforce compared to their peers. Instead we continue to see that military service leads to a very successful post-service life based on that unique experience of growth, learning and service. -Fred Wellman, CEO & Founder of ScoutComms
New office to improve support for military veterans
It is always interesting to step back from our own immersion in the business of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to look overseas and see how our allies are dealing with their own veterans’ populations. I did not realize, until this week, that the United Kingdom had no true national veterans affairs office. What they have had is Veterans UK, which falls under the Ministry of Defence and exists primarily to “administer the armed forces pension schemes and compensation payments for those injured or bereaved through service.” Now, with the launch of a ministerial Office of Veterans’ Affairs, the UK will move closer to imitating the full VA functionality, as the new office will address everything from mental and physical health to education and employment. No word yet on staffing and funding, so it will likely deal with policies and publicity at first, as well as improving coordination between government departments, local authorities and charities. The office is not without controversy though, as the new minister selected to head it, MP Johnny Mercer, has in the past been paid nearly $100,000 a year to work 20 hours a month for a veterans cyber security training academy. Additionally, the office will work to protect from prosecution veterans accused of committing war crimes in Northern Ireland, arguing that they are being harassed unfairly. It will be interesting to see how this office evolves, and whether it lasts beyond Boris Johnson’s stint as prime minister. -Brian Wagner, President of ScoutComms
11 Brothers From Alabama, 158 Years of US Military Service
Raised on a farm in Alabama, 11 brothers have a combined total of 158 years of service to the U.S. military. Seven of the brothers recently reunited at a casino in Mississippi, where they discussed growing up in a family with 16 children and “reminisced about what it was like to be black in the U.S. military in the 20th century in America.” When asked if veterans are respected as much today as they were in the past, the brothers all agreed that they are not.
VA, DoD tout major progress in effort to join electronic health records systems
The joint electronic health record managed by Center Corp has seen greater progress with the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The VA has transferred millions of health records, including lab results and pharmacy prescriptions, and this is the first step in getting the VA on the same records system as the military. Lawmakers have expressed concerns over the connected electronic health record efforts due to their cost and scope, but both departments have maintained that the end result will provide a lifelong health file for service members from enlistment and throughout their lives as veterans.
Veterans could be genetically vulnerable to PTSD, research shows
In a study of more than 165,000 veterans, Yale and the University of California scientists analyzed the voluntarily provided veteran DNA to gain a better understanding of the underlying biology of PTSD. Led by Dr. Murray B. Stein of the San Diego VA Health System, and Dr. Joel Gelernter of the Connecticut VA Health System, the scientists looked specifically for genetic links related to the most common symptom of PTSD, “intrusive re-experiencing of trauma.” They found specific genetic “risk factors” to PTSD, and identified eight distinct genetic regions with strong ties between PTSD and how the brain responds to stress. In a UC news release, Dr. Stein stated that they “can test hypotheses about drugs that might be useful for PTSD,” with further research.
‘In every uniform is a human being’- an Air Force vet is on a mission to take portraits of 7,500 veterans in all 50 states
Stacy Pearsall, a retired Air Force staff sergeant, began her “Veterans Portrait Project” as a self-therapy tactic while recovering from trauma experienced in Iraq in 2007. She continues to lean on her project for her emotional and physical support and now has a mobile photo studio in the Boeing Center atrium at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. While the veterans pose for her photographs, she asks them questions about their experiences and they open up to share their stories. Her goal is to travel to all 50 states to capture black-and-white photographs of more than 7,500 military veterans by the time Veterans Day rolls around in November.
The military is kicking out foreign recruits it needs- for having foreign ties
The military is denying immigrant recruits due to their foreign ties. The idea behind the Pentagon program under which these service members were recruited – Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) – is to “enlist immigrants to harness strategic language and medical abilities in short supply among U.S.-born troops, calling the skills of immigrants a national security imperative.” However, the denials started late 2016, with the reason always being familial ties. According to Jessica Maxwell, a Pentagon spokeswoman, the screening process is time-consuming due to their limited ability, hence why these members are being turned away.
Innovation at the VA continues to push boundaries of medicine
The VA has a history of making strides in healthcare and it continues to be a leader in medical innovation as shown in its Innovation Ecosystem. According to Dr. Ryan Vega, Executive Director of the Veterans Health Administration’s Innovation Ecosystem, this ecosystem creates the ideal environment for new, fresh ideas. “The challenging thing for any innovation, no matter what industry you’re in, is bringing ideas to fruition. And so that’s where we come in. We’re not interested in saying who can do what and what the agenda should be. We’re interested in really supporting these fields, grassroots innovation efforts and helping these ideas come to fruition.”
#VeteranOfTheDay Marine Veteran Steve Weintraub
After 32 years of service in the Marine Corps and multiple deployments across the globe in support of Operation Restore Hope and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Steve Weintraub has retired from the military at the rank of colonel. Steve is also the Chief Strategy Officer for Vet Tix, an organization that gives free event tickets to veterans and service members.
Veterans receive free concert, sporting event, family activity tickets
When over 400,000 veterans and service members send pictures and thank you notes for the amazing experiences and life-long memories provided by a non-profit organization—free of charge, the impact is unquestionable. Photos of smiling families, happy couples, and close friends embracing, with a stadium or stage in the background, turn the words of a mission statement into reality. Veteran Tickets Foundation, or Vet Tix, makes this happen every day.