Military notebook: Group seeks to honor Georgia troops

wcrenshaw@macon.comSeptember 1, 2012 

The Wingman Foundation is seeking Georgia military members who go beyond the call of the duty on a regular basis.

On Nov. 15, according to a release, the group in partnership with Verizon Wireless will hold a banquet to honor three Georgia-based military members for exemplary service.

That includes both their military service, community involvement and volunteerism. The award is based upon the nominee’s particular service-based achievements between January 1, 2009, and May 31, 2012. It is limited to troops who are either stationed in Georgia or are current residents of Georgia and stationed overseas.

Nominations can be made until Sept. 30 at

The Wingman Foundation raises funds and awareness for military members and their families.

“No group embraces the wingman characteristics of service and courage more than the men and women of the U.S. military,” Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, co-founder of the Wingman Foundation, said in the release. “The banquet will honor those soldiers who have served their country and community above and beyond the call of duty.”

Obama orders better mental health care for vets

President Barack Obama on Friday announced an executive order aimed at reducing the suicide rate among military members and veterans by improving access to mental health care, according to a story in the Military Times.

He told soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, that tackling mental health issues among troops is important to maintaining military superiority.

“We may be turning a page on a decade of war, but America’s responsibility to you has only just begun,” Obama said. “Just as we give you the best equipment and technology on the battlefield, we need to give you the best support at home.”

The order requires the departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Health and Human Services and Education to work together to prevent suicide and to fill vacancies for mental health jobs, the story stated.

The order includes a number of other initiatives, including expanding the VA’s peer counseling program in which veterans help veterans.

Canada to deport U.S. soldier who fled

A U.S. soldier who fled to Canada to avoid being sent to Iraq must leave the country.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Canadian officials have ordered the deportation of Kimberly Rivera.

Rivera’s attorney said she may appeal the ruling.

Michelle Robidoux, a spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, expressed disappointment in the decision and said such cases are not being looked at properly.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Rivera said in a news conference. “I don’t want to face reality. I respect Canada’s laws, and I will still proceed with what it is that I have to do, but I’m trying to take it one step at a time, so I don’t have meltdowns like earlier.”

Rivera served in Iraq in 2006 as an Army private, the story stated. She said she became disillusioned with the mission and fled to Canada while on leave in 2007 after she was ordered to serve another tour.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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