All posts by Jeff Cavanagh

About Jeff Cavanagh

Jeff Cavanagh spent his freshman year at St. Petersburg Junior College back in the early 70s before enlisting in the United States Navy. Soon after, he attended Jacksonville University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After college, he was commissioned and became a qualified Surface Warfare Officer spending the next 22 years honing his skills as a ship-handler and expert recruiter before retiring in 1994. Jeff expresses a deep sense of pride in St. Petersburg College due to connections that go back many years. His father, Tom Cavanagh, was a career Air Force fighter pilot and combat veteran who taught Geography and Western Civilization at St. Petersburg Junior College in the 60’s and 70’s.

TODAY IS NATIONAL PURPLE HEART DAY

Purple Heart Day is an observance that commemorates the creation of the Purple Heart Medal in 1782.

The purple heart medal is awarded to those who were wounded or killed while serving the US military.Thank soldiers for their service today.

The holiday also encourages people to pay their respects to fallen soldiers, to listen to the stories of soldiers and veterans, and to thank them for their service to the nation.

From the Revolutionary War to WW I

The Purple Heart was first created on August 7, 1782 by the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington. Then known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was awarded to 3 Revolutionary soldiers in 1783.

After the end of the American War of Independence, no medals were awarded until 1932, when the medal was revived on the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington’s birth. According to a circular dated February 22, 1932, Purple Heart Medals were to be awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces as a result of enemy action on or after April 5, 1917. The United States officially joined the First World War on April 6, 1917.

1.8 Million Awarded

At current estimates about 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since then.

Today, in addition to being awarded to those who fight wars overseas, the Purple Heart is also given to military personnel who display bravery and valor as prisoners of war and while fighting certain types of domestic terrorists.

A Symbol of Bravery

The Purple Heart is a heart shaped purple medal with a gold border. The front has a profile of George Washington, while the back has the words for military merit inscribed on it. The medal is attached to a piece of purple silk with a silver border.

Public Life

The observance is also called the National Purple Heart Day, Purple Heart Appreciation Day, and Purple Heart Recognition Day.

Purple Heart Day is an unofficial observance. This means that businesses, government offices and public transport do not close on this day.

Veteran and military organizations hold remembrance meetings for fallen heroes and special events to thank soldiers, veterans, and Purple Heart recipients on this day. Many people fly the American flags at their homes and businesses as a way to show their solidarity with the troops.

The Purple Heart Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, recommends donating time and money to the foundation or to other organizations working with Purple Heart recipients and their families on this day. They also encourage people to listen to soldiers and veterans and learn more about their life stories and their military service.

Purple Heart Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where It is Observed
Sat Aug 7 2010 Purple Heart Day Observance
Sun Aug 7 2011 Purple Heart Day Observance
Tue Aug 7 2012 Purple Heart Day Observance
Wed Aug 7 2013 Purple Heart Day Observance
Thu Aug 7 2014 Purple Heart Day Observance
Fri Aug 7 2015 Purple Heart Day Observance
Sun Aug 7 2016 Purple Heart Day Observance
Mon Aug 7 2017 Purple Heart Day Observance
Tue Aug 7 2018 Purple Heart Day Observance
Wed Aug 7 2019 Purple Heart Day Observance
Fri Aug 7 2020 Purple Heart Day Observance

Congress approves seven new VA facilities in Florida

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate late last night unanimously approved legislation authorizing seven new major VA medical facilities in Florida.

The legislation, approved by a voice vote yesterday, included language originally sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) authorizing the General Services Administration to execute 28 new leases for major VA medical facilities around the country, including seven in Florida.

The new Florida facilities will be located in Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tampa, Lakeland and two in Gainesville.

“We have a duty to care for the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s military,” Nelson said. “Getting these seven new VA clinics opened here in Florida will make it easier for some of our veterans to access the care that they need.”

By law, Congress must approve any U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lease that would result in an average rental payment of more than $1 million per year. Congress has not authorized a major VA medical facility lease since 2014.

The legislation authorizing the new Florida facilities was included in a broader veterans’ health care bill, known as the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which the Senate approved yesterday. The measure, which was approved by the House last week, now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Here’s the list of Florida facilities and the amounts authorized for each:

  • A replacement outpatient clinic, Daytona Beach, Florida, an amount not to exceed $12,198,000.
  • A new outpatient clinic, Gainesville, Florida, an amount not to exceed $7,891,000.
  • An outpatient mental health clinic, Gainesville, Florida, an amount not to exceed $4,320,000.
  • A replacement outpatient clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, an amount not to exceed $18,623,000.
  • A replacement outpatient clinic, Ocala, Florida, an amount not to exceed $5,026,000.
  • A replacement mental health clinic, Tampa, Florida, an amount not to exceed $13,387,000.
  • A replacement outpatient clinic, Lakeland, Tampa, Florida, an amount not to exceed $10,760,000.

Pinellas county Commission Designates Pinellas as Purple Heart County

To honor the brave service members who have received the Purple Heart, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners today presented a proclamation designating Pinellas as a Purple Heart County. The Commission also recognized Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day in Pinellas County. Purple Heart Day is nationally recognized on Aug. 7 as well.

“Our local community, state and nation owe a deep amount of gratitude and respect to all members of the Armed Forces, especially those who have been wounded or killed in combat and honored with the Purple Heart Medal,” said Commission Chair Janet C. Long.

The Board presented the proclamation to local and state partner agencies during today’s meeting. Those represented included: Pinellas County Veterans Services, Military Order of the Purple Heart, JFK Chapter 1963, Pinellas County Veterans Council, Veterans Art Center, USF St. Petersburg Veterans Services, Clearwater Vet Center, St. Petersburg Vet Center, City of St. Petersburg Veterans, Social and Homeless Services, Office of Congressman Charlie Crist, Office of Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis, Office of Representative Wengay Newton, and the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Additionally, the Commission expressed its support for the designation of the portion of S.R. 60 between the Hillsborough County line and Mandalay Avenue in Pinellas County as a trail within the National Purple Heart Trail network, and naming that portion of S.R. 60 a “Purple Heart Highway” at today’s meeting.

With the roadway designation, Pinellas County requests that the Florida Department of Transportation place and maintain appropriate markers designating the highway at the site of the Florida Veterans Memorial Plaza at Crest Lake Park, the Hillsborough/Pinellas County line along the Courtney Campbell Causeway and Mandalay Avenue within the City of Clearwater.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA has established a national network of Purple Heart Trails consisting of major highways and roadways that lead to patriotic sites. The Purple Heart Medal was established on August 7, 1782 to honor military personnel wounded or killed in combat.

Bay Pines VA Healthcare LGBT Observance

BAY PINES, FL – “Viva La Vida! Live the Life!” was the theme of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System’s annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) observance last month at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

More than 150 VA employees, Veterans, family members, and Tampa Bay residents attended the event to recognize and celebrate diversity and LGBT health care equality.

Click here to watch the full video story.

“Bay Pines is committed to having the best cultural competency staff to serve our Veterans,” said Tanya Wieck, EEO Manger and Civil Rights Officer, Bay Pines VAHCS.

“That is what these programs are about…serving each other and understanding and respecting what we all bring to each other,” she said.

In addition to guest speakers and learning activities, the event featured a discussion panel comprised of leaders from various organizations to include St. Pete Pride, Equality Florida, the Tampa Bay Rays, Metro Wellness, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Edward Briggs, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and Bay Pines VA Special Emphasis Co-Chair.

“We are really taking an extra step to have events like this to make it very clear to Veterans that we serve all who served, that we’re here for everyone, and that we really want to know what their needs are so we can meet those needs,” said Briggs.

“We are not doing this from a profit motivation, or for some motivation for an award or something, we are doing it because we really care,” he said.

Panelist Todd Richardson of Equality Florida served in the U.S. Air Force in the 1980s. For the first time in a public setting, he shared his personal story of being a gay man in the military during “Don’t ask, don’t tell” – the official United States policy on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians that lasted from 1994 to 2011.

“Bay Pines is doing a great job pulling our community together and being a good community partner with others to help promote a positive message about the LGBT community,” Richardson said.

“I hope that what I said today gives others a chance to come forward and to be treated and talk to people and counselors here at Bay Pines who experienced the same things that I did because there is help out there for people who need it.

In March, Bay Pines was designated as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” for the fifth straight year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization. The designation was reported in the 10th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), reflecting on a decade of progress in LGBTQ health care.

To learn more about the Bay Pines VA’s commitment to health care equality and future special events and celebrations, please visit www.baypines.va.gov or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Jason W. Dangel Public Affairs Officer Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 727.398.9531 | jason.dangel@va.gov

WORK-STUDY POSITIONS AVAILABLE:

From Matt Eaton, Vet Center Clearwater

Just wanted to make you aware that we have several work-study positions open to veterans for immediate hire. Please let me know if you have any candidates interested or have them contact me directly at (727) 549-3600.

All the Best,

Matthew T. Eaton, LMHC, MDiv.
Director
Clearwater Vet Center
29259 US Hwy 19 N.
Clearwater, FL 33761
(727) 549-3608

Join the Back to School Brigade

As you may already know, military families face a unique set of challenges. About 1.2 million American children have a parent on active duty, and nearly 190,000 spouses are left to manage the household alone. With repeated and extended deployments and frequent relocations, many military families endure financial challenges that can make purchasing school supplies a real struggle. Today, you can help change that. Your support can help make sure these military families — especially the children — have one less thing to worry about. Join Operation Homefront’s 2017 Back-to-School Brigade and help us fill thousands of backpacks with school supplies for military children. With your help, we will achieve an exciting milestone this year — we will give our 300,000th backpack to a military child since launching the program in 2008. To get there, we need to fill over 34,000 backpacks – even more than our record-setting campaign last year. Help us make this our most successful Back-to-School Brigade campaign ever! Thanks to our generous corporate partners, like DollarTree and SAIC among others, we’re able to help military children feel our support when they walk in the classroom this fall.

With warm regards,

John I. Pray, Jr.

President & Chief Executive Officer Brig. Gen. (ret.), USAF

Bay Pines to Host Veterans Town Hall Focused on Suicide Prevention

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will host a Veterans town hall meeting on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  The event will take place in the J.C. Cobb room located on the first floor of the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center (building 100) located at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, Fla. 33744. VA outreach services and program representatives will be available prior to the event starting at 3:00 p.m.  to assist Veterans. Services available will include VA health care enrollment and eligibility; VA benefits assistance; and patient advocate services. Unlike previous town hall meetings conducted by the Bay Pines VAHCS, the event will focus specifically on the issue of suicide among Veterans and ways the VA and the local community can collectively improve suicide prevention efforts. Veterans and their families, congressional stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations, and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the town hall to learn about suicide prevention services available through the VA and to share ideas about ways to better assist Veterans in need. “One suicide is one too many. The VA and our partners, communities, families, and friends must do better on behalf of those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy,” said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, in an editorial published on June 9.  Read the full editorial here: www.baypines.va.gov/pressreleases/20170609.asp. “We must work harder together to expand available resources and access to vital mental health care services, create safety networks, educate and inform, eliminate bureaucracy and barriers, and intervene as appropriate to prevent suicides before they occur.  This is not just the responsibility of our healthcare system or the VA at large – it is everyone’s responsibility,” she said. For updated information about the Veterans town hall meeting or to learn more about the Bay Pines VAHCS, please subscribe to receive updates via email at www.baypines.va.gov/news/e_news_subscribe.asp, or connect with us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/vabaypines, and Twitter, www.twitter.com/vabaypines.

VA Expands Transparency, Accountability Efforts

Today, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking a further step on transparency and accountability as a follow-on to the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act signed by the president less than two weeks ago.

Beginning today, the department is making public a list of adverse employee actions taken since Jan. 20. This information is posted at http://www.va.gov/accountability, and will be updated weekly.

Secretary Shulkin pointed to the move as another step in long-sought transparency and accountability actions at VA, and noted that VA is the first federal agency to make such data public.

“Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government,” Shulkin said. “Together with the Accountability bill the president signed into law recently, this additional step will continue to shine a light on the actions we’re taking to reform the culture at VA.

“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” he continued. “Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.”

For privacy reasons, the adverse action list will not include employee names, but will give information on the position, VA region or administration and type of adverse or disciplinary action taken.

The list includes terminations, demotions and suspensions over 14 days since the new administration came into office Jan. 20. Additional categories of accountability actions will be included in upcoming releases.

In addition to posting the adverse action information, Secretary Shulkin announced that he is requiring approval by a senior official of any monetary settlement with an employee over the amount of $5,000. Any settlement above this amount will require the personal approval of the Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary or equivalent senior-level official within the organization in which the dispute occurs.

“Taxpayers need to know that we will engage in good faith settlement negotiations, where required by third parties, but will look to settle with employees only when they clearly have been wronged or when settlement is otherwise in Veterans’ and taxpayers’ best interests, and not as a matter of ordinary business,” Secretary Shulkin said. “We’re changing to a culture of accountability at VA, and this is an important step in that direction.”

SPC Student Recruitment Events!

Here are some of the recruitment events that we have next week. You can find these events and others on both websites http://spcollege.edu/events and http://go.spcollege.edu/infosessions/

1) Tuesday, July 11
Biomedical Engineering Technology Open House (Program moved to Tarpon Campus – FYI)
5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tarpon Springs Campus
BB Building, Room 121
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1981749915378224/?active_tab=about
RSVP: http://web.spcollege.edu/survey/24260

2) Thursday, July 13
Paralegal Studies Information Session
5:30 – 7 p.m.
St. Pete/Gibbs Campus, Room SA 114
RSVP: http://web.spcollege.edu/survey/24012

3) Thursday, July 13
CCIT Programs Information Session
EpiCenter, Room 2-304
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
PROGRAM AGENDA:
6:00-6:30- CCIT degree options overview
6:30-7:00- Q&A
7:00-7:30- Speak one on one to faculty and staff Live Info Session at Epi!
Online Component – Students can logon to hear program and ask questions via Adobe Connect the time of the event:
http://spcollege.adobeconnect.com/ccitinfo/…/event_info.html
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/156946338183976/?active_tab=discussion
RSVP: http://web.spcollege.edu/survey/18833

ALSO: the Get It Done Events will be happening on the different campuses on July 19: More info: https://newsspc.wordpress.com/…/spc-hosts-get-it-done-even…/