The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently reported, “At a congressional hearing VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that effective in April, it will provide priority disability benefits claims processing for the initial claims from discharged combat Veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal.

Secretary Wilkie announced his decision at a hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.

‘Those who hold the Purple Heart, the recognition of wounds taken in battle, will now receive priority consideration when it comes to claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs,’ said Secretary Wilkie. …

Purple Heart recipients are already treated on a priority basis at VA hospitals and are exempt from co-payments for their medical care.

The Purple Heart award is the oldest U.S. Military decoration and is awarded to U.S. service members for wounds suffered at the hands of the enemy. General George Washington awarded the first purple-colored heart-shaped badges to soldiers who fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. In 1932, it was revived to commemorate Washington’s 200th birthday.”

According to another recent press release, “President Donald Trump signed an executive order titled ‘National Initiative to Empower Veterans and End Veterans Suicide,’ which focuses on improving the quality of life for America’s Veterans and ending the tragedy of Veteran suicide.

‘As the largest integrated health care provider in the nation and leader in developing innovative mental health and suicide prevention strategies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to co-chair this effort with the White House,’ said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. ‘Veterans suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere, and this executive order is a national call to action.’

The executive order mandates the establishment of the veteran wellness, empowerment and Suicide Prevention Task Force. The task force will include the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Homeland Security, Labor, Education and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Within 365 days of the date of the order and working with a variety of representatives from across both the public and private sectors, the task force shall:

Develop a comprehensive national public health roadmap outlining the specific strategies needed to lower effectively the rate of Veterans suicide, with a focus on community engagement,

Design and propose to Congress a program for making grants to local communities, which will increase their ability to collaborate with each other, integrate service delivery and coordinate resources to Veterans, and
Develop a national research strategy to improve the coordination, monitoring, benchmarking and execution of research in the field of Veteran suicide prevention.”

You can learn more about the VA’s suicide prevention resources and programs at

Remember, the CPN Veterans Organization meets every month on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN and spouse veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.

(Thank you),

Daryl Talbot, Commander

CPN VA Representative:
Andrew Whitham
CPN Office Hours:
First and third Wednesday each month, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Phone: 918-397-2566