Showing posts with label Veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Veterans. Show all posts

July 4, 2019

@4th of July Parade, Washington D.C.








(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 12, 2018

Beautiful, Peaceful Picture For Veterans Day

Today, it's Veterans Day. 

So I just wanted to share this beautiful, peaceful picture.

Let there be no war anymore!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2017

Robotics Help The Paralyzed Stand And Regain Mobility


Some of the best work being done in robots to help disabled people is from Dr. Amit Goffer of the Technion University in Israel. 

ReWalk is a robotic battery-powered exoskeleton with motorized legs and hips that enable paraplegics to walk, turn, and even climb and descend stairs again--and is FDA cleared as of 2014. 

And UPnRIDE is a wheeled auto-balancing robotic device that enables quadriplegics to stand and be mobile. 

The inventor, Dr. Goffer, is himself paralyzed from the waist down due to an accident 20-years ago.

This has inspired him to create these absolutely amazing robotic devices to assist all disabled people who are wheelchair bound. 

Approximately 1% of the people are wheelchair bound that's 70 million

And surely, many more especially in the developing world need wheelchairs and don't have them.

So these amazing robotic devices have the incredible capacity to help so many people stand and regain their mobility and dignity again. 

These are nothing short of miraculous and a new beginning for so many people suffering from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, palsy, strokes and more

Being able to stand again is not only psychology healthy and helpful for mobility, but it may aid in preventing secondary conditions that wheelchair-bound people can suffer, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, loss of lean mass and difficulty with bowel and urinary functions.

ReWalk has also received approval for coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for those qualifying and with spinal cord injuries. 

Hopefully, this is just the beginning for helping people around the world. Mobility is life! ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to The Times of Israel)
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November 5, 2015

Thank You To Our Warfighters

I took a photo of this wonderful sign on this construction truck. 

It says:

"To All The Men And Women Of Our Armed Forces

Thank You!

United We Stand."

Next week on Wednesday is Veterans Day, but feeling gratitude to those who stand and fight for our freedom is not just a one day a year message. 

Let's always remember that freedom is not free! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2015

Mindful Treatment Of The Disabled

What great brain at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came up with the idea to curb access to prosthetics for the disabled?

What is supposedly driving CMS?

It's a half-wit effort to put a dent in fraud for lower-limb prosthetics --estimated at just $43 million relative to CMS's annual budget of close to $1 trillion!

Uh, doesn't CMS have anything better to do then pick on disabled people missing one or more legs?

The profound dumbness of the proposed CMS new rules would limit amputees from possible reimbursement for artificial limbs for example, "if they use assistive devices such as canes or crutches."

But isn't that precisely what someone who can't walk and is missing a limb would use???

Here's the next doozy...CMS would limit advanced prosthetics "if the device doesn't enable them to walk with the appearance of a natural gait."

OMG, this is too much!

People with disabilities who require help need it precisely because they are not "natural" in their mobility functions--that is what we are seeking to help them with. 

You're going to penalize someone from getting artificial limbs because they still can't walk completely normal with fake limbs like with real ones?

Moreover, if the Veteran's Administration adopts these rules, this will also affect our wounded warfighters. 

G-d (and the Secretary of HHS) needs to put some sense back in the minds of the people who, in this case, instead of helping the disabled are misguidedly working against them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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November 12, 2014

Everything Else Is Anticlimactic

We went to a Veterans Day Concert yesterday, and it was quite moving.

Before the music--60's and 70's (and some dancing)--started, there were a number of heartfelt speeches by distinguished veterans of the Vietnam War.

One lady was a nurse in Saigon working 16 hour days tending to the wounded and dying from the battlefield. She joined the army after 8 of her high school friends from her small hometown were killed in the war. The nurse told us how on the flight to Nam, they were told to look to the person on the immediate right and left of you, becuase one of you will not be coming home.

Another speaker was a special forces Army Ranger who was fighting in North Vietnam on very dangerous covert missions. He led many draftees, who he said had only minimal training, yet fought bravely on missions with bullets flying overhead and mortars and rockets pounding their positions. He described one situation where he knelt down to look at a map with one of his troops, and as they were in that psition half a dozen bullets hit into the tree right above their heads--if they had not been crouched down looking at the map, they would've both been dead. 

A third speaker was a veteran who had been been hit by a "million dollar shot" from the enemy--one that didn't kill or cripple him, but that had him sent him to a hospital for 4-6 weeks and then ultimately home from the war zone. He told of his ongoing activities in the veterans community all these years, and even routinely washing the Veteran's Wall Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Aside from the bravery and fortitude of all these veterans, what was fascinating was how, as the veterans reflected, EVERYTHING else in their lives was anticlimactic after fighting in the war. The nurse for example read us a poem about the ladies in hell (referring to the nurses caring for the wounded) and how they never talked about the patients in Nam because it was too painful, and when they returned home, they had the classic symptoms of PTSD including the hellish nightmares of being back there. 

Indeed, these veterans went through hell, and it seems that it was the defining moment in (many if not most of) their lives, and they are reliving it in one way or another every moment of every day. 

Frankly, I don't know how they did it being dropped on the other side of the world with, as the special forces Vet explained, maps that only told you in very general terms wherer you even where, and carrying supplies for at least 3 days at a time of C-rations, water, ammo, and more--and with the enemy all around you ("there were no enemy lines in this war; if you stepped out of your units area, it was almost all 'unfriendly.'"). One Vet said that if you were a 2nd Lt., like she was, your average lifespan over there was 20 minutes. 

The big question before we go to war and put our troops in harms way is what are we fighting for and is it absolutely necessary. For the troops being sent to the battlezone, everything else is just anticlimactic--they have been to hell. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2014

Walk Like A Chicken


So I've been reading about the use of virtual reality for the military veterans as a way to help the healing process of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

But this was something different yesterday in downtown D.C....


Using virtual reality to "See Life Through A Chicken's Eyes"--complements of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 


So I go up and ask the attendant what this is all about. 


She says, "You can take the virtual reality tour and walk around a field as a chicken!"


She goes on, "Only we're having some trouble with the technology, so can you come back in 20 minutes?"


Uh, okay, but 2 things:


1. Yes, I do believe in ethical treatment for everyone (including animals), and no one should suffer where we can (and should) prevent it. 


2. I did just have some chicken (only Kosher, of course!) to eat just last week (and it was pretty good), and while I am curious to see the virutal reality, I can't make it back here in 20 minutes, but thank you!


Lesson: Treat all life compassionately, but I don't have to walk around as a chicken to see that! ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 7, 2014

A WOW Wheelchair

Absolutely loved the article and video in Bloomberg Businessweek on the Tankchair.

Brad Soden makes these amazing ruggedized wheelchairs for wounded veterans and other disabled people in need of getting around some rougher terrain. 

They are customized for each user and cost about $15,000 each. 

They are built on tank-like treads and can go up stairs, through fields, across streams, and over snow.

"Basically, it's get off the couch and go enjoy life!"

They are tough and can last 15-20 years!

He first made one for his wife who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident and was having difficulty keeping up on a family camping trip. 

Soden is truly inspirational--he produces these not too make money, but too help people. 

"The body can't keep up, so we're gonna fix it."

This is an awesome man making an extreme machine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Tankchair)
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August 12, 2013

Engaging and Listening

It was unexpected that the day after I blogged about a number of change organizations attracting attention in our society, particularly from our young people, that I saw it for myself on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Yet another change organization--different from the two that I wrote about yesterday--this one called "Be The Change" with three national campaigns currently:

- Service Nation--encourages a year of national service "to tackle pressing social issues."

- Opportunity Nation--advocates for expanded economic mobility for all young people and to "close the opportunity gap in America."

- Got Your 6--seeks to create opportunities for veterans. 

Has "change" just become cliche or are people genuinely looking for something that is missing in today's culture, values, and norms. 

These smiling people certainly seem to be excited about change.

It just makes you wonder--what is it that people are desperately missing in their lives and want en masse to change? How do we help people find that missing link and achieve real enthusiasm for what we are doing and where we are going? 

As leaders, it is our duty to understand and meet the genuine needs of the people...somehow doing this on the street corner by volunteers (as hardworking and noble as it is) seems to missing the larger point of government by the people for the people. 

We need more politicians engaging and more people feeling they are being listened to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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