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Registration Deadline for Disaster Assistance Is Two Weeks Away

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You are subscribed to Region 6 News for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Registration Deadline for Disaster Assistance Is Two Weeks Away
10/31/2016 06:35 PM EDT

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana disaster survivors affected by August flooding have two weeks left to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The deadline to register is Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.

Survivors may register with FEMA by going online with any computer, smartphone or tablet to DisasterAssistance.gov, calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362, or downloading the FEMA mobile app. Survivors who use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 to register.

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Department of Defense (DoD)

NEA, DoD Launch Creative Forces Sites Expansion to Increase Art Therapies

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NEA, DoD Launch Creative Forces Sites Expansion to Increase Art Therapies
10/31/2016 04:57 PM CDT

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Masks, decorated by service members, sit on display as part of the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 21, 2016. National Endowment for the Arts courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

NEA, DoD Launch Creative Forces Sites Expansion to Increase Art Therapies

By Amaani Lyle

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WALTER REED NATIONAL MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER, Md., Oct. 31, 2016 — At the National Intrepid Center of Excellence here, officials on Oct. 25 announced an expansion between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Defense Department to bring creative arts therapies to service members, veterans and their families.

The initiative, Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, deepens connections between the military and civilian communities through patient-centered care at 10 additional clinical sites beyond Walter Reed in Bethesda and NICoE Intrepid Spirit 1, Fort Belvoir, Va., and broadens access to therapeutic arts activities in local communities, even in remote locations.

“We’re seeing such transformational results in our service members and our expansion plans have come as a result of them saying that they want this program to be closer to their communities as they make a transition back into civilian life,” said Jane Chu, NEA chairperson. “This is a way to help service members and veterans … understand the dignity that they already have and so much deserve.”

Expanding Funding, Time

Chu said since the program’s nascence in 2011, the program has continued to proliferate and gained the recognition of President Barack Obama and Congress, who in fiscal year 2016 appropriated a $1.98 million budget increase to the NEA, specifically allocated to expand the healing arts program.

With this budget increase, the NEA and DoD can support creative arts therapies for a total of 12 sites across the nation by 2017. Five additional locations have already committed to joining the network: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Calif., Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, N.C.; Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska; and Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas.

“Instead of conducting one- or two-day workshops, we knew that the impact could be deeper and more meaningful if service members could engage with the arts over a longer period of time,” Chu explained. “Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are notoriously complex conditions to treat.”

As such, the NICoE Walter Reed clinicians developed a therapeutic writing program, which functioned in tandem with the NICoE’s creative arts therapies program and now includes visual arts and music therapy. And many service members who participated in these programs acknowledge improvements, Chu said.

“Because they get to create through this arts program, they can now manage their stress, their memory is more enhanced; they can communicate more clearly and they can manage their physical pain better,” Chu said. “We believe that the arts have allowed them to tap into the meaning and the value of their own lives, which were always there but may have been buried during times of combat.”

Families, Caregivers Also Benefit

Similarly, Chu said family members and caregivers noticed significant and positive changes in their loved ones. “One hundred percent of the caregivers at the Fort Belvoir program said they experienced positive results in the service members who participated in the creative arts therapies program.”

She noted that one spouse whose husband received treatment at Walter Reed reported arts therapies healed family disruption.

Chu also cited a service member who wrote, “Previously, I had been unwilling or unable to explain how tortured I felt … art therapy provided the outlet which directly impacted one of the most important course changes of my life.”

Ron Capps, a combat veteran and volunteer creative writing instructor for the Creative Forces program, illustrated the success of creative writing therapy. “It’s as if you have this traumatic memory, and it’s hot or radioactive,” he said. “You pick it up with your bare hand, your bare brain so to speak — you can’t manage it … but by putting art or music or writing in between, you have a filter. It’s like putting on a pair of gloves.”

Warrior Turned Artist

Rusty Noesner, said he can fully attest to “wearing the gloves” and leveraging the power of transformational change. During his time serving with Navy Seal Team 10 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from 2010-2011, he suffered traumatic brain injury among other others following rocket fire that injured two of his friends and killed a U.S. soldier. In addition to visible scars, he returned home with anxiety, depression, and cognitive limitations.

He admitted going to NICoE with initial reluctance and a discomfort with the unknown.

“I didn’t want to be here and I didn’t want to involve myself in any of this,” Noesner recounted. “I soon learned I was completely wrong to think that, as the staff and everybody here was so professional, kind, courteous and receptive to what I was going through and what other veterans are going through.”

But eventually, he gravitated to the arts, turning to painting, fittingly, of masks, which he said brought him and other veterans a certain freedom in embracing recurring combat themes such as pain and duality. He’s since launched his own nonprofit group, War Paints, to promote art for veterans.

“You learn how to begin the process of redefining yourself,” Noesner said. “It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s about acknowledging what’s going on in your own brain then moving forward and it’s a way for you to express what’s going on mentally without having said anything at all.”

And whether one brush stroke or one sentence at a time, Noesner said he was able to allow the cathartic response to resonate as he enjoyed the tangible outcome of his work. “Throughout that creative process, it’s not always easy — that self-discovery is essential in healing,” he said.

Site Selection Criteria

According to Chu, NEA officials considered five criteria when selecting the clinical locations: readiness, diversity, location, population density and leadership. The expansion sites, she added, will complement existing clinical services for traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.

“In each of the locations, the leadership believes in the healing power of the arts and is committed to including the arts in their integrative care approach,” Chu said. “This is critical to the success of our work together and we applaud the leadership at each of these sites for their vision and unceasing quest to better serve our service members.”

The expansion includes a network of community based nonprofit organizations that provide healing arts programs for members of the military, veterans and their families, Chu noted.

“This part of the expansion will support the reintegration for people leaving a medical center by allowing them to continue arts programming, and it will address individuals who need treatment but fear the possible stigma of receiving ongoing clinical care,” she said.

Ultimately, NEA will build capacity by developing a portal of resources and tools that will help communities and arts organizations improve the dialog among service members, veterans and their families, Chu said.

“It’s a privilege to be part of a program that benefits the brave men and women who so proudly serve the United States of America,” she said.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDoDNews)

Related Videos

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

Related Links

Related link: National Endowment for the Arts

Related Images

161025-D-TM683-002.JPG National Endowment for the Arts Chairperson Jane Chu announces its expansion of sites within the Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 21, 2016. Creative Forces will extend creative arts therapies to 10 additional locations by 2017. DoD photo by Amaani Lyle
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161025-D-TM683-003.JPG Rusty Noesner, a retired Navy Seal Team 10 member who served in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2010, shares his experience about therapeutic creative arts therapies in remarks at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 21, 2016. Noesner suffered traumatic brain injury following a rocket attack. DoD photo by Amaani Lyle
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Pentagon Hails Progress, Momentum in Mosul Fight

You are subscribed to DoD News, Defense Media Activity for U.S. Department of Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Pentagon Hails Progress, Momentum in Mosul Fight
10/31/2016 04:22 PM CDT

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An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Fighting Swordsmen of Strike Fighter Squadron 32 makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 27, 2016. Ike and its Carrier Strike Group are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Pentagon Hails Progress, Momentum in Mosul Fight

By Lisa Ferdinando

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2016 — Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are making progress as they push toward Mosul in the effort to liberate the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Pentagon’s press secretary said today.

“There’s no question that counter-ISIL forces continue to have the momentum in this fight,” spokesman Peter Cook said at today’s Pentagon press briefing.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who was in Iraq last week, was encouraged by the performance of the counter-ISIL forces in the opening days of the battle, and continues to be encouraged, Cook said.

“The campaign is on track and moving forward according to plan,” Cook said.

Progress in the last 24 hours includes the successful clearing of the villages of Ali Rash on the southeast outskirts of Mosul, and the clearing of Kharab Bayt and Kani Shirin north of Mosul, Cook pointed out.

The offensive to liberate Mosul began Oct. 17.

Progress Due to ‘Bravery and Dedication’

Cook said Iraqi forces have reported that in some places they are less than a kilometer from the city. Tough fighting ahead is expected, he said.

ISIL has used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, indirect fire and snipers in an attempt to delay the advance of the Iraqi forces, he said. The terrorists have also set an obscuration fire to try to conceal their positions and movements.

“None of this has stopped the Iraqi advance, and of course, the support for the Iraqi advance from the coalition,” Cook remarked.

There are reports ISIL is forcing civilians to act as human shields, he said.

The coalition will continue to conduct the campaign with an “eye toward protecting the innocent lives ISIL is putting at risk in the course of this fight,” Cook said.

“The progress we have made to date is a testament to the bravery and dedication of the Iraqi soldiers, the Peshmerga fighters, the federal police and the others on the front lines,” he said.

Effort Backed by International Coalition

Cook highlighted the support from the international coalition in Operation Inherent Resolve.

Over the last day, coalition forces have delivered 118 munitions through the air and artillery strikes, bringing the total employed since Oct. 17 to nearly 2,900, he said.

In addition, the coalition recently delivered 228 additional vehicles to Iraqi forces and has continued to provide food and ammunition resupply across the battlefield, according to Cook.

‘Feeling Heat’ in Iraq, Syria

The coalition believes in the importance of maintaining pressure on ISIL, and is focused on defeating the terrorists in both Iraq and Syria, Cook said.

“While they’re feeling the heat in Mosul, they’re also feeling the heat in Syria,” he said.

The coalition is continuing to support local partners in Syria, and is continuing air operations both in Syria and Iraq, Cook said. Those efforts to defeat ISIL, he said, are to include beginning the isolation of Raqqa in “the not too distant future.”

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)

Related Biographies

Ash Carter
Ashton B. Carter is the 25th Secretary of Defense.Secretary Carter has spent more than three decades

Related Links

Operation Inherent Resolve

Defense Department News Through Facebook on the DoD News Facebook page, you can post comments and share news, photos and videos on the DoD News Facebook page. Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/DoD-News/808154485884259 or search for DoD News at Facebook.com.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time by clicking on your ‘User Profile’ page at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOD/subscriber/edit?preferences=true#tab1. You will need to use your email address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com.

Have another inquiry? Visit the online FAQ at http://www.defense.gov/landing/questions.aspx for up-to-date information.

Get the help you, your family, and fellow service members need, when you need it. Visit www.WarriorCare.mil to learn more.

Check out the National Resource Directory at www.nationalresourcedirectory.org, a new web-based resource for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them from the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs.

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at http://www.defense.gov/.

Updates from the U.S. Department of Defense

Department of Defense (DoD)

U.S. Department of Defense Defense News Lead Photo Update

You are subscribed to Defense News Lead Photo for U.S. Department of Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Night Visions
10/24/2016 07:00 PM CDT

Soldiers secure an area in view of the aurora borealis during night live-fire training as part of Exercise Spartan Cerberus at Fort Greely, Alaska, Oct. 25, 2016. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Love

Department of Defense (DoD)

Free Legal Assistance for Survivors Affected by Florida Hurricanes

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You are subscribed to Region 4 News for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Free Legal Assistance for Survivors Affected by Florida Hurricanes
10/31/2016 04:38 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Free legal assistance is available to eligible low-income survivors in the 17 counties affected by hurricanes Hermine and Matthew: Brevard, Citrus, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Levy, Nassau, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Seminole, St.

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