Veterans Voice: News for vets

  • The military color guard marches at the beginning of the Veterans ceremony at Rundlett middle school Thursday in honor of the holiday. Students have the day off today. GEOFF FORESTER

Friday, March 17, 2017

GAMBLING HELP – With studies showing that veterans are more likely to suffer from problem gambling addiction, the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling sent a letter to all veterans service officers in the Commonwealth to help ensure veterans are aware of the services offered for those struggling with addiction.

The letter follows a recent report by the Government Accountability Organization stating that problem gambling should be treated consistently with other addictive diseases in the military and urging the Department of Defense to screen military members for problem gambling disorder.

All veterans or active military members who are struggling with problems and/or addiction can call the Mass. Council’s problem gambling helpline at 1-800-426-1234 or visit masscompulsivegambling.org.

HEP C TREATMENT —Veterans enrolled with the VA for their health care and who test positive for Hepatitis C can now be treated with a new class of medications for the price of their usual pharmacy co-pay.

“Some people may not be aware that they have Hep C since there are no symptoms of early disease,” said Mary Howes, the VISN 1 Hep C program coordinator and team treatment nurse in Central Western Massachusetts VA, in a press release. “More importantly, left untreated, Hep C can lead to liver damage such as cirrhosis and/or liver cancer.”

The new medications offer a simpler treatment course than those in the past. Previous interferon-based treatments caused terrible side effects including flu-like symptoms, anemia and depression. Additionally, treatment was typically a year long, required injections, and often did not lead to a cure.

Current treatment regimens have minimal side effects and are said to cure Hep C in more than 90 percent of cases.

Veterans born between 1945 and 1965 are at a higher risk of having Hep C and should be tested for the virus via a simple blood test.

MEDITATION TRAINING – Quabbin Mediation in Orange is offering a 35-hour class in mediation training for veterans and those who work with veterans at The World War II Club, 50 Conz St., Northampton.

The class will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 31, April 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Training includes skill-building exercises, role plays and interactive large and small-group activities.

For more information and to register, contact Quabbin Mediation at (978) 544-6142.

AGENT ORANGE INFO – Vietnam veterans and their families are invited to attend a town hall April 22 at Greenfield Community College to receive information on the impact of the chemical Agent Orange and benefits and services available for veterans who were exposed to the chemical.

Agent Orange was widely used during the Vietnam War to clear vast stretches of jungle and scientists have since linked the chemical to cancer and other health problems. 

The town hall will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at GCC’s main building dining commons and is open to all veterans from throughout New England.

Veteran service organizations will be available to make appointments to review eligibility for veterans to file for a claims with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Representatives from the VA will provide information on treatment for Agent Orange-related diseases and on Hepatitis-C.

A free health screening will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. followed by a main program featuring speakers on the topic.

Light refreshments will be served.

For more information contact Tim Niejadlik, director of Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services, at 772-1571, or GCC’s Veterans Affairs Counselor Christopher Demars at 775-1825. 

Calling the Roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette between March 3 and 16. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

George L. Ferron Jr., 87, Williamsburg, d. Feb. 28; he was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy.

Bernard Straub, 72, Northampton, d. March 1; he served in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army medic.

William Nathan Fuller, 85, Pelham, d. March 1; he enlisted in the Army and served during the Korean War.

Joseph F. Adamitis, 91, Gainesville, Florida, formerly Greenfield, d. Feb. 25; he was a World War II Navy veteran.

Jacques J. Lepine, 76, Easthampton, d. March 5; he was a Vietnam veteran serving with United States Army.

Willis “Bud” R. Husted, 82, Whately, d. Feb. 13; he was in the Navy, stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia. He received an honorable discharge in May 1954. 

Leslie “Les” Linwood Thomas, 98, South Deerfield, d. Feb. 25; during World War II, he served as a sergeant in the Army Air Force (1942-1945). He was about to ship out to the Pacific theater when the war abruptly ended. 

Andrew Fetler, 91, Hadley, d. March 5; he served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. After being wounded in Germany at the battle of Hurtgen Forest, Andrew recovered and served as a translator in Allied-occupied Berlin.

Murray Arbeitman, 95, Leeds, d. March 6; he served in the Air Force in World War II. 

Curtis Griffin Smith, 93, South Hadley, d. Feb. 15; he enlisted in the Army, serving in the Philippines with the Signal Corps.

Conrad “Connie” Wogrin, 92, Amherst, d. March 8; during World War II, he served in the army in Europe as the non-commissioned officer in charge of communication systems at Supreme Headquarters. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service for supervision of signal installations improvised from captured enemy equipment.

Robert “Bob” McCarter, 91, Mattapoisett, formerly Amherst, d. March 7; he joined the U.S. Navy, becoming part of the “Greatest Generation.” He served on the carrier USS Suwannee, participating in various naval campaigns in the Pacific including battles at Okinawa and Borneo.

Veterans Voice appears twice each month. Send submissions to Veterans Voice, c/o Brenda Nelson, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Box 299, Northampton, MA. 01061; or email bnelson@gazettenet.com..