Rebuild Hope                                    Give 100%. Our Vets Did!

Helping families of disabled Iraq & Afghanistan war veterans rebuild their lives

    Quarterly Newsletter                                                                                    April 2012
joining forces


michelle and dana


Michelle Meets Dana Hendrickson, Rebuild Hope             Lisa Hendrickson and Mrs. Dempsey


Rebuild Hope Honored At White House And Pentagon


On April 11, 2012 Rebuild Hope was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and General Martin E. Dempsey Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for its innovative work assisting the veteran community. A ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House marked the first anniversary of the Joining Forces Initiative and celebrated 20 non-profits selected as finalists in the Joining Forces Community Challenge. A total of 300 organizations were evaluated for their contributions.


Joining Forces is a national multi-year initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members, veterans and their families the opportunities and support they deserve. This multi-year initiative is led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.


This wonderful recognition of Rebuild Hope could not have happened without the strong commitment of our small all-volunteer team, partners and gracious donors. Thank you!


Read more about Joining Forces.



Greater Personal Responsibility for Our Veterans


"History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended" 


                        - Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs (April 2012).


He is right. Our nation bears a huge responsibility to provide excellent care for the tens of thousands of men and women who suffer from the wounds of war. And, ultimately, the total costs of this care will likely far outstrip the costs of conducting the two wars. Unfortunately, our nation has not demonstrated its capacity and commitment to fulfill its obligations despite many praiseworthy achievements. If we cannot sharply change our approach to closing the gap between what our veterans deserve and what they actually receive, the shortfall will continue to widen, leaving an indelible stain on our national character.


Clearly, our government must perform better. The growing backlog of claims for service-connected disability benefits now exceeds 850,000 and disabled veterans wait on average of 6 to 12 months before they receive merited disability compensation.  Meanwhile, the Veterans Administration lacks the psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health clinicians needed to sharply reduce the long wait times veterans experience at VA medical centers. Solutions to these two tough problems will be costly and take years to implement even when our government takes appropriate steps.


So our government alone cannot fulfill our nation's obligations to its veterans and their families. Instead, every American needs to accept personal responsibility for their well-being. Whether it's volunteering time and talent, creating job opportunities, or financially supporting nonprofits that provide essential services, everyone can and should contribute to our collective success. Rebuild Hope makes it easy to join this effort. 


I greatly appreciate everyone's support and encourage you to recruit your friends and families to join forces with a nonprofit of their choice. While we have accomplished much together, even more work remains.


Warmest regards,


Dana Hendrickson

President & Founder 



Nicholas Kristof, columnist, New York Times 


A Veteran's Death, the Nation's Shame


"Here is a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.


An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year - more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.  Preliminary figures suggest that being a veteran now roughly doubles one's risk of suicide. For young men ages 17 to 24, being a veteran almost quadruples the risk of suicide, according to a study in The American Journal of Public Health.


We refurbish tanks after time in combat, but don't much help men and women exorcise the demons of war. Presidents commit troops to distant battlefields, but don't commit enough dollars to veterans' services afterward. We enlist soldiers to protect us, but when they come home we don't protect them."


Read the entire column.


YRRN logo


Memorial Day Special


Each year Rebuild Hope marks this special day of remembrance with an activity or event. In May, Rebuild Hope, the Yellow Ribbon National Registry and several US corporations will introduce a national program to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by our veterans.


Look for an announcement in the national news media and on Facebook and Twitter.


Please participate in this important program and invite your family, friends and professional associates to join in!


Meet The Olivas Family


Aaron has been receiving medical treatment for his physical and psychological wounds. He was recently discharged from the Army and his family has experienced severe financial hardship due to his inability to work during his treatment and recovery. Aaron has received help from family and his church and Rebuild Hope is assisting them with food and shelter. Rebuild Hope also helped the family create an annual budget so they can more closely manage their household finances.


Aaron, his wife and one daughter are now waiting for the Veterans Administration to start his merited service-connected disability income. They are expecting a second child soon.


Learn more about the Olivas family. 

va claims


VA Overstates Its Mental Health Care Performance 


The inspector general for the Veterans Administration (V.A.) reported this month that veterans wait much longer for mental health evaluations than the VA has acknowledged. In fact, the report says the current V.A.'s system for measuring wait times for evaluations "had no real value" because it measured how long it took the department to conduct the evaluation, not how long the patient waited to receive it.  So, if a patient waited five weeks for an appointment, the V.A. could say there was zero waiting time if it completed the evaluation on the same day it was conducted.


Veterans Health Administration policy requires that first-time patients referred to or requesting mental health services receive a comprehensive evaluation within 14 days. The V.A. had asserted that it was meeting that goal 95 percent of the time.  In reality, 49 percent was its performance. And the remaining veterans had an average wait time of 50 days.


Responding to this major problem, the Secretary of the VA announced a plan to hire an additional 1,600 mental health providers, as well as 300 support staff members, to help reduce wait times at its medical centers and clinics.   


 Read Report


Sonoma-Napa GF 2012 


Join Team Rebuild Hope And Ride For Our Vets 


Rebuild Hope invites cyclists to participate in a European style cycling event that benefits charities including Rebuild Hope. This Northern California event has something for everyone including non-riding friends and family members. There are rides for every fitness level - super mini 11 mile kids fondo, and 30, 50 and 75 mile options that include parts of Sonoma Valley, the Napa Valley, Dry Creek, and the legendary Trinity Grade. A great festival will feature fabulous local food and spirits and you have the opportunity to support our worthwhile cause.


All rides start and finish in Sonoma and the Garmin Barracuda Slipstream professional team will lead Gran Fondo riders out the day before they start the Amgen Tour of California. Riders can also join the team director for dinner. 


Sound great? Then register now!


      Give 100%. Our Vets Did.   
       * Rebuild Hope, 365 Ambar Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

What's Unique About Rebuild Hope

While there are hundreds of traditional non-profits helping military families and veterans in various ways, Rebuild Hope relies on a "one-of-a-kind", web-based service model to help veterans with service-connected disability ratings of at least 50%.


Rebuild Hope families...

  • share their stories,
  • receive modest financial grants and no-interest loans,
  • benefit from financial coaching and counseling,
  • referred to specialists in legal aid, VA benefits, heath-care, financial services and employment,
  • and are publicly recognized for their sacrifices.  

Donors ...

  • know who is receiving help from Rebuild Hope,
  • can elect to decide who receives their donations,
  • know 100% of their gifts are used as advised.


Our all-volunteer team is passionate about helping veterans!

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