Hospitalized Vets BBQ Canceled as Sponsor Drops Out


AN UPDATE AS OF THURSDAY EVENING: Members of the Tampa law firm of Foley & Lardner have agreed to cover the cost of the barbecue. Attorney Chris Griffin contacted WUSF shortly after learning of the story to say members of the firm were willing to help so that the hospitalized veterans could enjoy a holiday barbecue.

Memorial Day is a time to remember military members who lost their lives while serving their country.

It’s also a three-day weekend at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital that staff try to make special for the hospitalized veterans who also sacrificed for their country.

Yet, Memorial Day for Haley veterans had to be scaled back this year.

For want of $500, the 150 veterans at the Haley VA Hospital will not have a Memorial Day barbecue according to Cathy Williams, head of recreational therapy.

“We actually, normally do a barbecue on Monday,” Williams said. “We would have like, Lupton’s BBQ, and we lost our sponsorship. So there was nobody that stepped forward this year to fund that. So, we had to down scale a little bit. But that’s okay.”

So without a sponsor this Saturday, it’s karaoke, a cookout for the balloon volleyball team and baseball for the 55 veterans who can travel to the Rays-Yankees game.

On Monday, the highlight will be a visit by the Buccaneer cheerleaders and a bingo game.

Military Sexual Trauma: How Cable News Reports on MST

Courtesy Dept. of Defense

Courtesy Dept. of Defense

Military sexual trauma (MST) and how it’s reported on cable news caught the attention of Media Matters for America especially after a recent Pentagon report that estimated there were 26,000 cases of military sexual assault in 2012.

The cable news was measured between May 6 and May 19, 2013 during a time period that included the release of the Department of Defense MST report, a major announcement by the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and accusations of sexual misconduct against some high profile military members involved in military sexual trauma prevention programs.

Media Matters measured during those two weeks how much time three major cable news channels devoted to coverage of military sexual trauma:

According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox News devoted 18 minutes, 42 seconds to covering military sexual assault since May 6, when the month’s first sexual assault case was reported. CNN and MSNBC spent 1 hour, 36 minutes and 4 hours, 56 minutes on military sexual assault stories, respectively.

Media Matters also produced a video compiling comments from Fox News show hosts about women. These are “selective” news clips, so be cautious with your assumptions.

Yet, it is telling that an individual would have the temerity to say some of these things on a national broadcast or any broadcast.

The video is only 1:17 long and worth watching if for nothing else but to gain a perspective on how “cavalier” some attitudes are toward women even when they are guests of that cable show.

Blue Star Families Top Concern: Pay and Benefit Changes

bluestarsurveyThe 2013 Survey by Blue Star Families lists changes in military pay and benefits as well as changes in military retirement benefits as the number one concern of more than 5,000 military families who responded.

This is the fourth year that Blue Star Families has collected data to assess the top priorities of military families and what can be done to support their goals. The information is shared with those who can help effect change like lawmakers and support groups from the local level all the way to the White House.

Here’s what military families ranked as their #1 issue (Percentage of Respondents Ranking #1):

  • 35% Military Pay/Benefits
  • 21% Change in Retirement Benefits
  • 19% Spouse Employment Opportunities
  • 16.4% Deployment Impact on Children
  • 16% Educational Opportunities for Children
  • 14% Services for Transitioning Out of the Military
  • 12% Op/Tempo Deployment
  • 11% PTSD/TBI/Combat Stress
  • 7.7% Rising Number of Suicides
  • 7.5% Service Member Educational Opportunities

Additional survey details of interest finds that 72 percent of responding military families rely on social media and say it is important for communicating with a deployed family member. And for the first time, Facebook surpassed email in popularity.

Financial stress is a major concern among military families with 65 percent reporting money problems linked to a spouse’s employment, uncertainty of military life and frequent moves.

You can read the full 54-page survey results here.


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