Holly Petraeus Touts Consumer Protection for Soldiers

Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs, speaks with servicemembers at Ft. Myer in Arlington, VA. Photo courtesy of the CFPB website.

Military servicemembers, veterans and their families are vulnerable to sometimes unscrupulous lenders for several reasons according to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau website for servicemembers. Several reasons are cited:

  • Lenders are aware that military servicemembers are required to maintain good finances.
  • Lenders are confident they can collect because servicemembers are easy to find.
  • Lenders are attracted because military pay is a steady income that they can garnish.
  • Military families tend to be young and “first time decision makers” when it comes to big purchases.
Blake Farmer, a reporter with WLPN, caught up with Holly Petraeus, wife of the four star general and next CIA director, who now oversees  the CFPB office focused on service members. Petraeus has been visiting military installations and was at Fort Campbell Wednesday.

Petraeus said the number one cause for military security clearance being revoked is now financial problems.

Like many Army posts, just outside Fort Campbell are used car lots, payday lenders and signs advertising special deals for soldiers.

Holly Petraeus and a soldier. Photo by SSG Lorie Jewell, US Army.

Petraeus said a servicemember’s paycheck may not be big, but it comes every two weeks. Farmer reports that law enforcement officials say for-profit colleges are pushing soldiers into programs harder than ever and payday lenders have found ways around interest rate caps. To read Blake Farmer’s story on Holly Petraeus click HERE.

Money problems can also add to the stress already being felt by military families due to frequent moves and multiple deployments. But there are resources to help:

Petraeus and her team at Servicemember Affairs also are looking for military families to tell your story – good or bad – so that others may learn from the experience.


Army Physical Training Changing for Wounded Soldiers

I’m sharing part of a story by Blake Farmer that aired this morning on NPR. He takes a look at changing fitness requirements for injured soldiers who stay in the service and for others who transition out.

A soldier moves into the crescent pose at a daily yoga class offered at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of NPR.

By Blake Farmer of WLPN

The Army is famous — or perhaps infamous — for its high-octane drill instructors. But for many soldiers who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, push-ups, pull-ups and platoon runs have become impossible, so the Army has been developing what it calls “enhanced” physical training.

For soldiers taking a yoga class at the Warrior Transition Unit — which serves war-wounded soldiers — at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, the gentle commands of instructor Hylan Hampton have replaced the yelling of Army physical training.

“Remember that there’s no judgment, no competition with yourself or with anyone around you,” Hampton tells veterans taking the class, leading them through poses — child’s, sunflower, cat and cow.

The men and women taking the class have sustained visible as well as invisible injuries.

Spc. Michael Stefan is a combat medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Seeing soldiers get killed, and working on them and the memories and flashbacks that go along with that, this is the outcome,” he says. “But now I’m at my point in life where I’m transitioning out of the Army, and I have a wife and three kids and one on the way, so now I need to better take care of myself.”

Taking care of himself is more complicated than it used to be. Because of his medication, Stefan is not supposed to get very sweaty.

But a good sweat is just what Stefan needs, says Lauren Geddis, his occupational therapist. She says yoga combines fitness and stress relief for her PTSD patients.

You can listen to the story or read the rest of it here.

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