A Message from Your MFN Team
November is a month of thanks. This month, The Military Family Network recognizes and honors our veterans of yesterday and today for their selfless and courageous service to our nation. We offer appreciation for their service and sacrifice and for the protection and security of our liberties. As a tribute to their love of freedom and country, we celebrate America’s veterans on Veterans Day, November 11. President Bush urges Americans to observe November 11 through November 17, 2007 with ceremonies and prayer, as National Veterans Awareness Week.The Millitary Family Network enthusiastically supports this initiative and invites the members of our community to participate including becoming members, donating time and making contributions to local veteran service organizations like VFW, AMVETS, American Legion, DAV and others. Visit http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view for a list of veteran service organizations needing your support.
We also take a moment to salute our military families during Military Family Month and especially during National Military Family Week from November 18 th thru the 24 th. Time and time again, our nation calls upon our military families to stand by their service member and to put our nation’s needs ahead of their own. And, military families do not disappoint. The Military Family Network celebrates our country’s military families and their sacrifices and successes throughout the year, but it gives us great pleasure during this special time to acknowledge their contributions to the overall fitness and strength of our armed forces. It is through their clear and constant support that our military is the finest in the world.
The Month of November is also a tribute to family caregivers. President Bush states, “ National Family Caregivers Month is a time to recognize family caregivers for their good hearts and tireless support. Their love and devotion exemplify the true spirit of America.” No where is more support and awareness needed than for these unsung heroes who care for a loved one day after day. With tens of thosands returning wounded from war, there is no better time than now to honor our caregivers and thank them for the comfort that they provide.As we head into the holiday season, The Military Family Network encourages you to think about the people you know who might be caring for a loved one because of illness or injury and we implore you to take action to help. Offer to shop for them, drop off a favorite dinner, pick up medications, drive them to a doctor’s appointment, take them out for a movie or sit with their family member while they take a nap. Or help your family, friend or neighbor create a CarePage. A CarePage is a free, personal, private web page that helps family and friends communicate when someone is facing illness or injury. They can share updates about the health of their loved one, record their emotions, worries, and successes. It helps them to enlarge their world and their resources when everything they are going through causes their world to become smaller and smaller. Every little gesture helps more than you know.
The Military Family Network Team
News You Can Use
Get The Military Family Network News delivered right to your email with Google News Alerts: Click here to subscribe
The Art and Science of Caring for Others without Forgetting Self-Care
Charles R. Figley
“Each day as we read accounts of our American troops fighting, dying, and getting hurt in the current wars so far away, my heart goes out to them and their families. But my heart also goes out to the physicians, nurses, and technicians who will be working with these war fighters. It was with them in mind that I offer this brief article on compassion fatigue.” To read more, please visit Gift From Within at http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/artscien.html.
Issues and Answers on the Home Front
Dr. Bridget C. Cantrell
“ Why do combat veterans struggle so much with resolving conflicts or coming to terms with many situations in civilian life? One reason may be the issue of “rank.” In the military, the troops don’t make decisions as equals. You get an order and you follow it. You don’t discuss your feelings. You don’t hear the reasoning behind the order. You simply obey the one who outranks you.
The same is true if you are a leader. When you give an order, you don’t expect to explain yourself, or to have to listen to everyone’s feelings about your order. You expect obedience. Military members often carry this hierarchy of rank over into their personal lives.” To read more, please visit Gift From Withinat http://www.emilitary.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=5139.
Note: Gift from Within is a non-profit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals; develops and disseminates educational material, including videotapes, articles, books, and other resources through its website; maintains a roster of survivors who are willing to participate in an international network of peer support; is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) public charity, eligible to receive tax-exempt grants, gifts, and donations.
Need Help? Check Out Federal Programs and Eligibility Requirements Online with Gov Benefits.gov
GovBenefits.gov is the official benefits website of the U.S. government, with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs.
State and Territorial Support for Members of the National Guard, the Reserves and their Families
The nation’s governors are finding new ways to support the men and women of the U.S. military and their families, according to a recent survey by the National Governors Association (NGA). Visit
http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/07GUARDSURVEY.PDF to learn about programs in your state regarding Family Support Education Benefits, Licensing and Registration Benefits, Tax and Financial Benefits, State Employees Benefits, Protections, Recognition and Employment Support.
Child Care Assistance for Families of Severely Injured Military Members
NACCCRA and the Department of Defense (DOD) have partnered to provide families of severely injured military members with assistance to find and pay for safe, licensed child care services for a period of six months during their period of recuperation. http://www.naccrra.org/MilitaryPrograms/severely_injured/
Child Care Resource in Your Community
Child Care Aware is committed to helping parents find the best information on locating quality child care and child care resources in their community. We do this by raising visibility for local child care resource and referral agencies nationwide and by connecting parents with the local agencies best equipped to serve their needs. http://www.childcareaware.org/en/
H.R. 3780: MilitaryChildCollege Affordability Act
This bill is in its first stage of consideration to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require a State to charge in-State tuition rates to active-duty members of the Armed Forces domiciled or stationed on active duty in that State and to the dependents of such members. Visit http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3780 to follow its progress.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) wants you to catch-up!
2007 catch-up contributions — If you are — or will be — age 50 or older during this calendar year and you are already contributing the maximum amount in regular TSP contributions, you can still make additional catch-up contributions up to a total of $5,000 in 2007. Check with your agency or service TSP representative for information about how to make your election. To learn more, visit http://www.tsp.gov/index.html
And, if you are a Federal civilian employee and a member of the Ready Reserve (including the National Guard), there’s important information about your TSP account that you should know — especially if you are called to active duty. Visit http://www.tsp.gov/curinfo/specint/RReserves-intro.html to learn more.
Obtain Free Credit Reports
One way to help protect your identity is to check your credit reports on a regular basis. By doing so, you can ensure that there are no loans, credit cards, or other financial obligations that have been fraudulently initiated in your name.
By law, you are entitled to 3 free credit reports every 12 months—one each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the national consumer credit reporting agencies. If you haven’t requested free credit reports in the past year, visit USA.gov’s link to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Consumer Alert: FCIC Warns About Overpaying for Certified Deeds
A private company is currently sending out letters nationwide offering to sell property owners certified copies of deeds. The letters refer to information found in FCIC’s “Managing Household Records” 2003 online consumer focus article.
The company cites that article as a reason for purchasing a certified deed. Consumers should be aware that it is not necessary to use a private company to obtain a certified copy of the deed to your home. You can obtain one from your local Register of Deeds for free or at a low cost.
A copy of your deed is just one of the important documents that you should keep in an organized records system. You should also include your birth and marriage certificates, wills, advance directives, titles of cars, and passports. It’s a good idea to store the original papers in a safe deposit box, and keep copies in a secure place at your home.
Don’t Be A Victim of Loan Fraud - Protect Yourself from Predatory Lenders
Real people. Real experiences. Really fun and helpful.
That’s how people are describing the Federal Citizen Information Center’s new blog: GovGab.gov. This weblog gives Americans a new way to get information about the services and opportunities of the U.S. government. And, you’re invited to comment and share your own experiences.
Read along each weekday as the bloggers talk about the business of everyday life: figuring out what to do when an airline loses your luggage; preparing your lawn for fall and winter; learning how to roll over a 401(k); experiencing the thrill (and trauma) of buying a new car; and much more. Gov Gab talks about the same issues you deal with in your busy life.
Find out who’s talking, what they’re saying, and offer your two cents on GovGab.gov—Your U.S. Government Blog.
Fuel Economy Rankings for 2008 Models
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new rankings on fuel economy for 2008 models. Rankings include:
• Top ten leaders in fuel economy
• Ten models with the lowest overall fuel economy
• In each class, models with the best fuel economy
• In each class, models with the lowest fuel economy
See if your vehicle—or a vehicle you’re considering buying—appears on any of the lists
TRICARE / Health Benefits Information
Wounded Warrior Entitlements Handbook
This publication located HERE is intended to serve as an explanation of pay and entitlements for members of the U.S. military who are injured while serving in a combat zone and receiving medical treatment at military facilities outside of the zone. Wounded Warriors and their families are encouraged to contact their local military finance office for any updates to the information contained in this handbook.
Oh! My aching bones and arrows!
Check Up On Your Bones is an interactive bone health checkup for people of all ages. The goal of the checkup is to help you identify the most common red flags that put your bones at risk and to give you a strategy — specific to you — to make your bones stronger and healthier.
All you have to do is answer a short set of questions in the Personal Profile Questionnaire. Your answers will allow the Web checkup to give you detailed, personalized information about your bone health. At the end of the questionnaire, you’ll get a record of your answers and a results page that lists your risk factors for osteoporosis and broken bones. A Bone Balance Sheet shows the positive and negative factors that could influence your bone health. A list of web resources is also provided so that you can learn more about bone health and related topics.
Give your bones a checkup today!
On 15 November 2007, TRICARE encourages its beneficiaries to "Kick Butts"
for ONE day during the 2007 Great American Smokeout. The Smokeout is a
nationally recognized event raising awareness about the health hazards of
smoking and tobacco as well as tools to successfully kick the habit. Quit
for A Day--QUIT FOR LIFE! Read more at http://www.emilitary.org/article.php?
| Create a CarePage for your service member. CarePages are free web pages for people who are recovering from illness or injury. Share your story, post updates and photos, and invite loved ones to leave messages of support and encouragement. This way, everyone keeps up with your progress. Visit Carepages.com
Beginning November 13th on CarePages.com...
Do you know a wounded service member?
Show them you care this holiday season by posting their story on the CarePages.com “Yellow Ribbons for Wounded Troops” tribute page.
The Yellow Ribbon tribute page is our way of sending thanks to the thousands of service members injured in the line of duty. It only takes a minute to let them know they are not forgotten!
How it works
- Beginning November 13th, click here to go to the Yellow Ribbon tribute page
- Upload a photo of your wounded service member and tell us their story
- Others can read their story and post a yellow ribbon in their honor
Click here to bookmark the Yellow Ribbon Tribute Page
MFN Book Club
Order Now and Save- Your Military Family Network
Everything you need to know from Enlistment to Retirement! The Military Family Network and Capital Books in Washington DC are publishing the Nation's first military family resource book. This 850-page book will cover all major military support topics from moving and deployment to money and employment. Find out what you need when you need it.
To order your copy of Your Military Family Network or copies for your organization, please Visit Your Military Family Network online or call 1-866-205-2850 for more information. Military discounts apply.
Mission Critical Information
From the Whitehouse
“In times of war and of peace, our men and women in uniform stepped forward to defend their fellow citizens and the country they love…Like the heroes before them, today a new generation of men and women are fighting for freedom around the globe.”
To read President Bush’s Proclaimation to Veterans where he “urges all Americans to observe November 11 through November 17, 2007, as National Veterans Awareness Week,” visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/10/20071031-6.html
Defense Department's America Supports You program "Giving Thanks”
Between 6 a.m. Nov. 17 and midnight Nov. 22, people wishing to express gratitude to the troops for their service can text a brief one- or two-line message to 89279. Each text message sent will receive a response from an active-duty service member. Visit http://www.emilitary.org/article.php?aid=12566 for full story.
MFN Military Friendly Deals
Glamour Shots in the Southeast Offers Free 8x10 Portraits for Military Families
The Military Family Network has teamed up with Glamour Shots located in the Southeast to provide a free session and 8-by-10-inch portrait to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, and retired service members and their families.
The Military Family Network is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the way Americans and the corporate sector are supporting the nation's service members.
"As a retired member of our armed forces, I know how important it is to have high quality portraits of our loved ones, for those families who are at home and for our (service members) serving away from home," Al Sciarrino, veteran and owner of Glamour Shots stores in the Southeast, said.
Families can make an appointment at the Glamour Shots stores in Newport News and Richmond, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., Nashville, TN, Augusta and Savannah, Ga., and Bel Air, Al., to have their free portrait taken. Apart from the free 8x10 portraits and special pricing on other packages offered, Glamour Shots offers an ongoing 10% discount to the military on all Glamour Shots services.
"Mr. Sciarrino knows first hand what it is like to be a military family and how special photographs can be to our families," Caroline Peabody, President of the Military Family Network, said. "Our service members are doing their best every day to protect our nation, we are proud of Glamour Shots for giving this wonderful gift ... that will keep giving throughout their lives.
Shopping-Bargains.com Offers Free Discount Coupons and Promotions for More than 1,000 Stores
Continuing its tradition of creating value for the military community, The Military Family Network is excited to be teaming up with Shopping-Bargains.com which offers military service members, Reserve and Guard, veterans and their families an opportunity to enjoy tremendous savings on various quality retail products and services for less. Shopping-Bargains.com provides a free, private, no registration shopping experience for bargain hunters, coupon clippers and online shoppers. The website offers online coupon codes, free shipping bargains, printable grocery store coupons and other promotional discounts.
Shopping-Bargains.com is an online shopping network of more than 1,000 stores and websites including favorites like JCPenney, Target, Macy's, Amazon.com, Dell, Overstock.com and eHarmony. More than just a listing of secure and reputable stores, Shopping-Bargains.com publishes coupons for free shipping, discounts including dollar off and percentage off savings, special Internet-only promotions and exclusive online bargains for these stores.
"You really can pay less if you shop with us first," said founder and president of Shopping-Bargains.com, Mike Allen. "Our free shipping and coupons savings are perfect for military families who want brand name savings and online shopping convenience."
"We invite our military community to discover the advantages we offer by visiting us today," states Allen.
The founder of Shopping-Bargains.com, Mike Allen, moderates the Military Deals Forum located at http://www.emilitary.org/forums/index.php?showforum=128.
The founder of Shopping-Bargains.com, Mike Allen, moderates the Military Deals Forum located at http://www.emilitary.org/forums/index.php?showforum=128
Get Those Holiday Gifts in the Mail! Overseas Deadline November 13!
Postal Service Announces Holiday Deadlines and POWMIAANGEL kindly posted a reminder to keep us all on schedule so that we wouldn’t miss the chance to send our loved ones holiday gifts filled with love and cheer and messages from back home. Visit http://www.emilitary.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=5127 to mark your calendar!
Nomination Season for 2008 Secretary of Defense Freedom Awards Opens November 1 - Nominate Your Employer!
The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest recognition given to employers for their support of their employees who also serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or a family member of the same. The nomination period for the 2008 Freedom Awards will be open on November 1st.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 by Secretary of Defense William Perry. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the lead Department of Defense agency for gaining employer support, is charged with planning, coordinating and executing this program.
The award was created to publicly recognize employers who provide exceptional support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. The award is the highest in a series of ESGR awards that include the Patriot Award, the Above and Beyond Award, and the Pro Patria Award.
Process takes into consideration specific support provided by an employer, including pay policies, benefits and leave policies, previous ESGR awards, supervisor training, ESGR advocacy, service member recognition, family support, deployed member support, hiring preferences, and general military support.
MFN Kids Corner
Hey Kids! It’s Time Again for Armed Service YMCA Art and Essay Contest – 2008!
Each year during Military Family Month in November, ASYMCA launches its annual art contest, co-sponsored by GEICO, and its essay contest, co-sponsored by Lockheed Martin. Winners of the art and essay contest will be announced at the ASYMCA annual luncheon in Washington, D.C. on May 2008.
Art Contest: “My Military Family”
The ASYMCA art contest asks children of active duty and retired service men and women in kindergarten through sixth grade to submit illustrations of “My Military Family”.
Essay Contest: “My Military Hero”
The ASYMCA essay contest asks children of active duty and retired service men and women in first through 12th grade to submit essays about "My Military Hero”.
Visit http://www.asymca.org/c4-1.html for details on how to enter and an opportunity to see this year’s 2007 winners.
School is Cool With the New Kids.gov
Want to help your children ace school this year? Then check out Uncle Sam’s family-friendly site, Kids.gov. With a new design and links to over 1,200 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, Kids.gov makes it easy for your kids or grandkids to learn, explore, and have fun.
Kids.gov has activities for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade on more than 20 different topics - ranging from the arts and music to space and history. They can play entertaining and educational games, create art projects, explore different careers, learn how the government works, get homework help, and much more.
Visit Kids.gov often, because there’s always something new for your children to discover!
Do you know the science behind drug abuse?
Recognizing that teens want to be treated as equals, NIDA scientists were careful not to preach about the dangers of drug use. Rather, http://backtoschool.drugabuse.gov/ delivers science-based facts about how drugs affect the brain and body so that kids will be armed with better information to make healthy decisions.
Turbo Charge Your Military Transition and Retirement with TurboTAP
TurboTAP is an easy to use, interactive Web portal that provides life-long support to separating military servicemembers (Active Duty, Guard and Reserve) and their families.
2008 COLA Gives 2.3% Raise to Military Retirees, Disability Retired Pay and Military Survivor Annuity Recipients
Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) are effective each December first. More information on COLA: COLA is a cash allowance intended to enable an equitable standard of living in areas where cost of living is unusually high. Mambers permanently assigned to designated areas receive this entitlement. If the cost of living in the area where the member is assigned is the same or lower than average in the U.S., COLA is not authorized. Soldiers deploying from an area not qualifying for COLA are not entitled to COLA while deployed, even if the deployed location is a designated COLA area. Visit DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) for more information including pay tables and pay dates: http://www.dfas.mil/
Retired and Annuitant Pay: Paid-Up Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
Effective October 1, 2008, no reduction in the retired pay of a participant in the SBP will be made for any month after the later of (1) the 360th month of paid premiums; and (2) the month during which the participant attains 70 years of age. Visit http://www.dfas.mil/retiredpay/paid-upsurvivorbenefitpaymentsbp.html to read more.
Prepare for Flu Season
November is prime time to prepare for the 2007/2008 flu season. While flu vaccines are recommended for most people, they are particularly encouraged for those who could suffer most severely from flu-related complications. The most vulnerable populations include children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with chronic health problems. To find a convenient location to get your flu shot, check out the Flu Clinic Locator. Veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) health care system can get free flu shots at many of VA’s 153 hospitals and more than 900 outpatient clinics. Find a VA facility near you.
Let's Say Thanks!
Xerox and others in the business community have designed a website
called "Let's Say Thanks". If you go to the site at ww.LetsSayThanks.com,
you can pick out a card and Xerox will send it to a service member currently
in Iraq. You can't personalize it to any one soldier, but you can be certain
that a soldier will receive your appreciation. It's FREE and literally takes
one second. Try it out - You'll be glad you did.