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tv   ABC7 News 900PM on KOFY  KOFY  June 1, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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>> now, from abc 7, "beyond the headlines with cheryl jennings." [ bird call chirping ] welcome to our program, coming to you from the beautiful country of peru. it's a popular tourist destination and home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the ancient city of machu picchu. [ indistinct conversations ] but peru also has desperately poor people who are being helped by americans in the san francisco bay area. that charity is called vida usa, which stands for volunteers for inter-american development assistance. vida usa recently marked 25 years of delivering surplus medical equipment and medicine to impoverished areas in latin america. i was invited to see vida usa's programs, and i traveled to peru with them
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to learn firsthand how it is changing lives at the most basic level. i learned about the tremendous support vida usa has from the bay area to peru because of its mission and its beloved co-founder. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> it was a spectacular 25th-anniversary gala, with 900 donors and the cónsul general of peru in san francisco, candy chávez. haydee rodriguez-pastor is the co-founder of vida usa and vida peru. this mother of six lives in the bay area and was born in peru. she inspires people because of the work being done by the nonprofit she started in the east bay with her late husband, carlos. he started a bank in peru, which has been an enthusiastic supporter of vida for years. a deadly illness prompted the birth of the charity.
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the infrastructure was already there after the epidemic ended, so haydee and her team built it into a life-saving powerhouse that ships containers full of surplus medical equipment and supplies to peru and helps millions of other people in at least a dozen other latin american and caribbean countries. >> i took care of the peruvian side while haydee was pushing all of the logistics from the united states, which was the most important part. >> the need is enormous. thousands and thousands live in shacks like this without running water or sewage systems. many don't have health insurance, but they can get first-class free or low-cost medical services at hospitals served by vida, like this one in lima. >> everything from a syringe to a bandage to a $10,000
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surgical medical kit for open-heart surgery. >> it all starts in emeryville, at vida usa's 6,000-square-foot warehouse. these items could have been thrown into landfill, but businesses and individuals choose to recycle. >> stanford being our biggest donor. we got the kaisers, the ucsfs. >> every item has to be carefully logged and tracked. volunteers like david from businesses or schools help sort the equipment and the supplies. >> i couldn't believe what waste went on. so, the fact that they could take these supplies and put some good use to them was something i thought was very worthwhile. >> durable medical equipment stays good for a long, long time. >> steve dropped off supplies donated to a recycling company called recares. >> and i can't get these back into the community. >> that gently used boot will help this young mother of two at one hospital which is served by vida. >> [ speaking spanish ]
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>> the main burn unit in lima is at this old hospital. men and women are in the same room. they're grateful for vida's help, but the need never ends. >> we really appreciate when people from other countries, especially the united states and especially from san francisco, are taking care of our people here in peru. we really feel the warmth of the people when they do that with their hearts. ♪ >> coming up later, you'll learn more about the incredible financial commitment by vida usa to get tons of surplus medical supplies and equipment from the bay area to peru. >> doing 60 shipments a year, the cost really escalated. so, you have to raise funds for that. >> were you absorbing that yourself in the beginning? >> yes. ♪ >> when we come back,
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we'll take you to see some of the incredible sights in peru that tourists want to see, including one of the seven wonders of the world. this gentleman is about to get a shot for hepatitis b. it's provided free of charge. and we'll show you some of the many ways vida usa is changing the lives of those who need and deserve hope for a better future. >> [ speaking spanish ] and you'll also see some of the searing poverty that tourists will never see. i no longer live with
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the uncertainties of hep c. wondering, what if? i let go of all those feelings. because i am cured with harvoni. harvoni is a revolutionary treatment for the most common type of chronic hepatitis c. it's been prescribed to more than a quarter million people. and is proven to cure up to 99% of patients who have had no prior treatment with 12 weeks. certain patients can be cured with just 8 weeks of harvoni. before starting harvoni, your doctor will test to see if you've ever had hepatitis b, which may flare up and cause serious liver problems during and after harvoni treatment. tell your doctor if you've ever had hepatitis b, a liver transplant, other liver or kidney problems, hiv or any other medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including herbal supplements. taking amiodarone with harvoni can cause a serious slowing of your heart rate. common side effects of harvoni include tiredness, headache and weakness. ready to let go of hep c? ask your hep c specialist about harvoni.
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♪ >> welcome back to our program about a bay area nonprofit that is making life-changing differences in the health of the poorest people in peru and latin america. i was invited to visit peru with vida usa to see how it works. vida usa ships surplus medical equipment, supplies, and medicine to peru and more than a dozen other latin american countries. this helps provide free clinics to people who might otherwise never see a doctor.
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this searing poverty is in a country that is better known for its stunning beauty. let me take you on a tour. [ chimes clinking ] just hearing the name of the country peru makes many people think of its rich history, and it's the location of one of the seven wonders of the world. this is what people think of when they think of peru, the beautiful machu picchu area, and it is absolutely spectacular to be here in person. tourists can see traditional methods of cleaning and dyeing wool from llamas or alpacas out in the country. [ flute playing ] they can enjoy authentic peruvian music, or in the big city of lima, capital of peru, visitors can see museums with incredible artifacts. [ marching music playing ] or they can try and get close to the metal gates of the presidential palace and watch the changing of the guard. visitors could head out to the well-maintained zoo and see the big cats or other critters that come out to play. there are so many
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interesting sites to make tourists grab their cameras. but then there is a sobering reality that locals and visitors will never see. this is pamplona alta. 40,000 people live in shacks on the mountain. dirt roads, no running water, no indoor toilets, no sewage system. kids play with broken toys in contaminated dirt. [ truck beeping ] water trucks come in several times a week and sell it to those who can afford it. it's stored in unsanitary conditions. it's a harsh life, but pamplona residents are getting help that can transform their lives, thanks to a bay area organization called vida usa. and they're gonna be giving this gentleman a shot for hepatitis b, and the shot is gonna be free of charge. this is a free health clinic coordinated between vida and the government's ministry of health.
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>> what vida does is we bring all the supplies and equipment they need on an ongoing basis. >> ramon alzamora is a vida board member. he says peru has a policy of social inclusion and a long-term poverty-reduction plan. education will make the difference, but children need vaccinations to get an i.d. to enroll in school, so vida and the health ministry provide these clinics on a regular basis. vida usa collects supplies from bay area hospitals and other facilities at its warehouse in emeryville, california. >> this is surplus supplies that they're clearing out their inventory. >> then vida ships containers to its warehouse in lima and distributes those supplies
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to more than 80 hospitals, clinics, and organizations. haydee rodriguez pastor co-founded vida with her late husband, carlos, 25 years ago. they're both from peru, but came to live in the bay area. they saw a desperate need to help the poor in peru. her choice to focus on vida usa's critical work is saving lives and creating futures, and vida will continue bringing quality healthcare for entire families thanks to its own family of donors and volunteers. hundreds of volunteers help vida usa sort equipment at its emeryville warehouse, and they love it. >> my aunt told me about this, and i thought it was like a really good thing to do, so i wanted to help out. >> helping other countries
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that have nothing, especially when you think about individual families -- i think that is wonderful. so, thank you. >> when we come back, we'll take you to a place that's like the ronald mcdonald house in lima, peru. you'll meet carmen cortez, the woman who created a home away from home for families living with a medical crisis. >> he was born with a bad deformation. >> a deformed hand? >> yeah. >> and later on, you'll meet a man rescuing children who are literally thrown away or even attacked just because they were born with disabilities. what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah, he tried to kill her, but she's already healed.
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♪ >> welcome back to our program on vida usa, a bay area nonprofit helping millions of people in some of the poorest countries in the world. it ships surplus medical supplies and medicine overseas. those are supplies that would have ended up in our landfills. the co-founder of vida was born in peru and lives in the bay area. the charity is based in emeryville and is marking 25 years of service.
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vida usa invited me to travel with them to see where those supplies are going -- to hospitals and programs helping families with disabled children. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> carmen cortez founded peru niñez in lima to help families with disabled children or mothers who need surgery and don't have anybody to care for their children. it's sort of like a ronald mcdonald house, designed to keep families together during a medical crisis. peru niñez is the only place of its kind in all of lima, which has a population of nearly 10 million. peru niñez can only serve about 22 people right now. it's expanding because the need is so great. it helps support itself by selling food on the streets. carmen's commitment and passion for serving these families
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inspired a bay area charity called vida usa to help her. she lets vida know what she needs, and they help in many ways, such as providing state-of-the-art whirlpool baths to help with physical therapy for people like this young man. he can barely walk because of a medical condition, so he can't work. vida's executive director in peru, olga baca, helped arrange transportation to get up to peru niñez in a vida truck so he can get therapy and get his life back. ♪ adam see is the executive director of vida usa, which is based in emeryville, california. >> everything has never been used, with the exception of the equipment. the equipment is lightly used. if it's broken, we don't use it. >> vida collects surplus medical equipment and supplies that would have been thrown away. major donors include stanford and kaiser. >> they don't want it to go in the landfill, so they have big green initiatives. they're counting how much
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tonnage do they -- that they're not sending to the landfill. >> vida usa volunteers sort and catalog thousands of donated items, which are then shipped to lima in containers. >> we shipped 60 40-foot containers last year. a 40-foot container costs us about $12,000 door to door. for $12,000 we're shipping a container that carrying $700,000. >> haydee rodriguez-pastor co-founded vida usa 25 years ago with her late husband, carlos. she lives in the bay area, was born in peru, and has a huge humanitarian heart.
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vida usa works with partnerships that not only offer help and health, but also dignity and a sense of family for programs like peru niñez. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> several peru niñez supporters showed up while we were visiting to drop off baby supplies for the families. they were excited to explain why they love this program. >> this is really close to my heart because my best friend is from here, so we just love to help the children. and i'm glad that we see the kids here, and we're just blessed to help in any way. >> i'm tessie cabrera. i'm from the amazon here in peru, but i live in alabama. my husband is retired military, so i travel all over the world. but my heart is here, so i had to help my people. >> what do we have here? >> clothes, different sizes for the children, some winter clothes, diapers, special milk.
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♪ [ laughter ] >> in just a moment, you're going to meet a man some say is quite the hero, but he humbly says it is his calling -- rescuing children who are literally thrown away by their parents just because the children were born with disabilities. >> what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah. he tried to kill her. she has a cut here in the belly, but she's already healed. [ indistinct conversations ] ♪ >> and later on in our program, the creative partnership between vida usa and emeryville and global trading company otis mcallister in oakland. >> as peru gives us from their bounty the riches of their
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agriculture, their products like quinoa, what can we offer them? and one thing we can offer is surplus medical equipment. >> we'll be right back with more on vida usa.
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>> we're continuing our look at vida usa, a bay area charity based in emeryville, which is helping millions of people with critical health needs in more than a dozen latin american countries. vida usa invited us to see some of their programs in lima,eru. we're going to take you to several hospitals and clinics that get regular shipments of medical equipment and supplies from vida usa. we also visited an orphanage, which rescues children who are literally thrown away because they were born with disabilities and the families were too poor to care for them. >> when you have a house with 97 boys and girls, you always need medical supplies, always. >> omar sanchez is in charge of a parish with an orphanage that cares for children and adults who have been left on the streets of peru because they have severe disabilities. >> we care for kids and older people who are abandoned. they are mentally disabled, down syndrome, autism,
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psychiatric problems, and when they have terminal illnesses, too. >> this little girl has down syndrome. and what is her name? >> lucia. >> lucia. and lucia's father tried to kill her? >> yeah, he tried to kill her, but she's already healed. and she's receiving a lot of love and hugs and kisses. [ smooching ] >> vida usa invited us to peru to see a few of the nearly 100 facilities it's helping. vida is based in emeryville, california, and collects surplus medical equipment and supplies from bay area hospitals, including stanford and kaiser. then, vida ships the products to their chapter in lima for distribution. >> we asked them for help, and they offered us help very, very fast, very, very easy, and very, very important for us. >> my parish in santa maria, where i live, and the kids come once a month to sort and help organize the boxes. >> they're taken to containers at the port of oakland and turned over to a big vida
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supporter, otis mcallister. it's a global trading company and major importer of quinoa from farmers living in the peruvian andes. >> people live in very humble circumstances, and there's a real need for modern medical equipment there. >> otis mcallister donated 18 container shipments to vida usa, carrying more than $15 million in aid in 2015. their humanitarian decision made good business sense. >> we offload the medical equipment in lima, and then from there it's put on trucks that wind their way up through the mountains, and when they arrive, they distribute those products. and then we, in turn, load those trucks with quinoa. >> this is a very exciting day for the hospital, it's in one of the poorest areas of lima, and all of the vida supplies that came from emeryville are right here being delivered at this moment. the need is enormous. there are a million people in this district in lima. >> [ speaking spanish ]
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>> haydee rodriguez-pastor co-founded vida usa 25 years ago with her late husband, carlos, to bring quality healthcare to impoverished people in peru and other latin american countries. haydee's friend started a hospital in a garage in lima 11 years ago, and vida helped it expand into a new facility. vida supplies anything the hospital needs. did you just get asked for more beds? >> more beds, 12 beds, 12 gurneys. ♪ >> they help us a lot because one of our biggest expenses is in medical supplies. so, when we receive that, we have a big breath
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to say thank you. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> vida's long-term commitment creates the opportunity for children like these at the orphanage to live out their fragile lives in comfort, surrounded by a big circle of love. you can learn more about vida usa's partnership with otis mcallister at vida usa is always looking for volunteers to help sort supplies and equipment at their warehouse in emeryville. >> one thing we think is -- i think is really cool, is that you need almost no training to be able to just come here and be productive. and they always need help. >> we can turn this around in about 3 months, so that means by the time we get it in, process it, inventory it, book a shipment, get it on the boat, then three to four weeks down there, a week or two in customs. then it goes to our warehouse in lima. from there, then, it's sent all over the country. >> vida usa is also looking for more sponsors for the big containers, which are shipped overseas.
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vida usa wants to do more to help, and can do that with your help. thanks for joining us on our special program on vida usa. you can find them at for more information about today's show and resources where you live, just go to our website, we're also on facebook at abc7 community affairs. and follow me on twitter -- @cherylabc7.
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>> now, from abc7, "beyond the headlines," with cheryl jennings. >> welcome to "beyond the headlines." today we're talking about veterans in the bay area and local organizations that help veterans transitioning out of the service. according to the u.s. department of veterans affairs, 1.8 million veterans currently live in the state of california, ranking at number one in the nation. our veterans face a lot of challenges. housing, jobs, and medical care are just a few. since the year 2000, more than 2.8 million of the nation's 18.9 million veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or ptsd. and that's about 16% of the nation's veteran population. in 2014, about 9.1 million vets were enrolled in va-provided healthcare. the bay area is home to more than 300,000 veterans.
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in petaluma, on veterans day, it seems as though everybody in town celebrates. abc7 news reporter wayne freedman shows us petaluma's beloved tradition. >> in petaluma today, a refreshingly old-school definition of taking to the streets and, for that matter, respecting your elders. >> 91 next month. >> 91. >> i'm 93. >> i'll be 94 in january. >> i am 100 years old. >> they're the guests of honor today in a community that turned out with tears in their eyes. >> because they sacrifice so much to have us have our freedom, and they're just never recognized enough. >> yes, it's veterans day once again in petaluma, where, 38 miles north of san francisco, 42 miles north of oakland, and after a week of angst about this nation's future, petaluma honored those who served their country in the past. fred bollinger says it may have been a better world then. but you didn't have the internet. >> well, i hope not. [ laughs ] you got that right. [ laughs ] i used to stand up on
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the hill and yodel. >> this year, the parade has grown to 200 different entries, 1,700 people riding, walking, marching, being cheered through the streets of petaluma. >> yeah, when you're a young punk of 18... didn't know any better. >> among them, larry petretti, sonoma county's last living pearl harbor survivor. his nephews greg and gary love and honor him as they would their own now-passed father. larry doesn't talk much about the war, they told us. >> no, 'cause he has too many bad memories. >> it's fresh in his mind... even though he's 93. >> so, today, here's a new, fresh memory, larry petretti -- all these people taking the time, ever so grateful to make you feel special. in petaluma -- wayne freedman, abc7 news. >> joining us in the studio today is joe delaurentis from daly city, and joe served in the united states navy from 2006 to 2010. now he's a student at the
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university of san francisco, and he also interns here at abc7, and joe helped produce this show today. and we're so proud of you. >> thank you for having me. >> thank you for your service. >> of course. >> all right, i know transitioning is hard. my dad was in the military. it was really tough for him as a lifer in the army. for you, as a young man, let me start with the work you did. we'll see how that translates to the work you want to do. so, what did you do in the navy? >> sure. the first job that i had was a traditional navy job. i was ship steering and maneuvering and then a little bit of anchor handling, which is a lot more dangerous than it sounds. >> it sounds dangerous. >> [ chuckles ] it does. after some time, i was able to be a part of the search-and-seizure team for my ship -- drug enforcement, if you will -- while being deployed. >> and then you served overseas, as well, right, went to iraq a couple of times? >> yes. >> all right, so you've done some pretty heavy-duty work there. >> well, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times," but, indeed, we had some heavy work -- including the anchor. >> yeah, good little joke there. all right, so, after you got
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out, you didn't want to stay, because you wanted to have a different kind of life, right? so what were the first steps you took to transition from military life to civilian life? >> well, first, when i finished my contract, i knew that i wanted to pursue my goals in higher education and to complete my degree. and i always wanted to be a first-generation college graduate in my family. >> nice. >> and then, after some time, i started with the junior college, and then i worked my way over to san francisco and the bay area, where i attend the university of san francisco, where i'm attaining my international business degree. >> and you are using the gi bill to help you with that, right? >> sure. >> how important is that for you? >> it was very important. in every step of the way, the va was there, able to assist me in all of the things that i needed -- with school supplies, with tuition assistance, as well as a monthly stipend to take care of all the financial needs that i needed. >> do you think that more young people like yourself should take advantage of that gi bill? >> indeed. if the military is the route they wish to engage in after they get out of high school or
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after they've spent some time in encourage anyone who thinks they should volunteer for the military to definitely take that step. it's very important, and our nation definitely takes care of our veterans afterwards. >> the hardships you faced -- we have about a minute left. hardships you faced and how you're dealing with that? >> some of the hardships i faced during my schooltime for injuries that i sustained during my time in the service -- had a little bit of trouble with focusing in some classes. but with a lot of pressure and a lot of guidance from teachers that were also veterans, i was able to realize my potential and succeed in finishing my degree and passing all my classes, especially. >> so a little bit of pressure from your teachers who understood your background. >> yes. >> so why did that make such a difference? >> again, the professors that were also veterans, they were able to give me the advice and to put it in perspective, to tell me that i've done harder things than just a few essays and this is the things that i should focus on more or less. it's the people that didn't get
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the chance is what drove me the most and till this day drives me. >> and that's why you want to do this show. all right, joe, thank you so much -- thank you for your service, thank you for producing this show. very important information we're gonna share with people all throughout the show today. so, we do have to take a quick break. when we come back, we're gonna learn about post-traumatic stress disorder and how it affects our nation's veterans. stay with us. we'll be right back.
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>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." we've been talking about military veterans in our communities and the challenges they face after service. the horror of combat is something many veterans live with, but a study at ucla is underway to see whether administering mild electrical currents into the brain can reset the networks for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. abc7 new anchor eric thomas has this report. >> may 3, 2006. army sergeant ron ramirez was on night patrol in iraq when a roadside bomb blew up under his truck. >> i just saw the bright light, and, all of a sudden, i couldn't see, i couldn't hear. >> the machine gunner suffered a
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traumatic brain injury and a perforated eardrum. while his body is healed, invisible wounds continue to haunt him. ron's violent outbursts scared his two daughters and everyone he was close to. >> i would yell, i'd throw things. i just... i didn't know. i couldn't see myself. >> then, he heard about a new research study from veterans with ptsd. researchers at ucla's semel institute for neuroscience were studying how stimulating a nerve on the side of the face called the trigeminal nerve may reset brain waves. ron places an electrode on his forehead and sleeps with the device. dr. andrew leuchter says that tms therapy has been used to treat epilepsy and depression but it holds great promise for treating chronic ptsd. >> when people go through a traumatic event, the brain in some ways can get rewired. what we're doing with tms is we're sending in electrical signals that can help reset the function of brain networks and
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help people get over the symptoms of their illness. >> doctors say many people don't realize the language of the brain is electricity, and it doesn't take a lot. these devices use current kind of like the current in this 9-volt battery. >> very safe, very effective. very few side effects. >> dr. leuchter is working with the va to recruit more veterans who've served since 9/11. ron says he's seen a huge difference after using the tms therapy for two months. >> it gave me more confidence. it gave me a sense of...happiness. >> eric thomas, abc7 news. >> that story was filed by eric thomas in december of 2015, but the study is continuing, and they are still looking for participants. now, onscreen is a website for more information, and we're going to post these details on our website, as well. in the studio with me right now is keith armstrong. he is the clinical professor of psychiatry at the university of california, san francisco, and keith also serves as the director of the family therapy program at the
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san francisco veterans administration. and keith co-authored the book "courage after fire." so, keith, tell me why you wrote it and why there's a need for this. >> sure. you know, i'd been working with veterans of all wars -- world war ii, korea, vietnam -- and then 9/11 happened, and, after a few years, we felt that we wanted to make sure that something was out there, a self-help book that would be really accessible to veterans coming back from iraq or afghanistan and their families. and we really wanted to do it differently than we felt like it had been done for our vietnam veteran cohort that, you know, suffered many times in silence. >> and i know that my dad served in a couple of conflicts, and so he never talked about anything. >> that's right. >> so, therapy can help some of the complications. we saw an example of that. what are some of the other ways that the va can help with therapy? >> well, i think that there are
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a number of therapies out there that have some evidence that support their use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include intrusive symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and arousal symptoms, as well as some negative cognitions. and a lot of times, the powerful avoidance symptoms that veterans experience keep them from actually being able to process their traumatic experience because they don't want to think about it. and so they try to push it down, and by pushing it down, in fact, it kind of does the opposite. it actually allows those symptoms to kind of hang on to them even more so. so there are therapies that we have that directly go after those experiences through the retelling of the story of the traumatic event. and by doing that, it actually desensitizes veterans to their experience, which then allows them to live a fuller life. it's not easy, and it's not a
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panacea, you know? there really isn't a treatment that makes everything go away and be better. but it's certainly helpful. and so we have individual therapy that does that, we have group therapy, and we have family therapy, and the other -- >> the family ther-- i want to talk about 'cause that is so important. you think just the veteran, but everybody's affected by this. >> everybody suffers, and, you know, the va, for a very long time, really didn't step up to the plate and take care of the families like they're doing now. and so i think that, you know, you really need to know what it's like to actually be able to support somebody who's suffering from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and the best way to do that is actually to bring in the family. and even on a simple level, you educate them around what the symptoms look like and how best to support the veteran. and then that really can lead to a healthier family functioning.
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>> well, i know you've been doing this for more than 30 years, and i thank you so much for your work. thank you for your book, and thank you for being here today. >> and thank you for letting us be here. >> absolutely. all right, we do have to take a break. when we come back, we're gonna talk about the impact of homelessness on bay area veterans, so stay with us. we'll be back in just a moment. i no longer live with the uncertainties of hep c. wondering, what if? i let go of all those feelings. because i am cured with harvoni. harvoni is a revolutionary treatment for the most common type of chronic hepatitis c. it's been prescribed to more than a quarter million people. and is proven to cure up to 99% of patients who have had no prior treatment with 12 weeks. certain patients can be cured with just 8 weeks of harvoni. before starting harvoni, your doctor will test to see if you've ever had hepatitis b, which may flare up and cause serious liver problems during
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and after harvoni treatment. tell your doctor if you've ever had hepatitis b, a liver transplant, other liver or kidney problems, hiv or any other medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including herbal supplements. taking amiodarone with harvoni can cause a serious slowing of your heart rate. common side effects of harvoni include tiredness, headache and weakness. ready to let go of hep c? ask your hep c specialist about harvoni.
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>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." we're talking about the challenges faced by veterans all across the bay area. >> ♪ oh, say, can you see ♪ by the dawn's... >> the south bay started its veterans day celebration early in the morning in milpitas, as they do every november. and in san jose, the special day became an early thanksgiving for more than 500 veterans. abc7 news reporter david louie filed this story on veterans day, introducing us to one very grateful vet. >> on july 23rd, i was homeless. today i'm housed. >> nothing more symbolic than veterans day to see nicolas jaramillo, a 12-year army vet, holding keys to a unit at this apartment building he' move in next week. >> but this is just the beginning because now the real journey begins -- staying
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focused, going to school, continue working. >> jaramillo is the 510th homeless vet in santa clara county to get housing one year after san jose and the county launched a program called all the way home. some of the landlords renting to vets are vets themselves. >> i am doing this because i am my brother's keeper, and i'm a member of the armed forces, and i think it's something i had the opportunity, and i've been blessed, so why not share that blessing? >> this is the studio apartment watts has rented to a vet. while the number 510 is an impressive figure, you have to put things in perspective. there are still more than 6,000 people who are homeless who are not veterans living in santa clara county. mayor sam liccardo believes the success of housing vets will lead to a wider program. while 510 out of 700 vets have been placed, the vets' challenge isn't over. >> every month, there are more veterans who are being pushed out on the street because of high housing costs. and so this is going to be an effort that we're gonna have to continue to pursue. >> even the president of the board of supervisors has rented out a room to a vet.
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>> well, it's not entirely magnanimous. you rent to a veteran, you get rent. that room would've been sitting empty, and i think there are so many people that have four- or five-bedroom houses here in the suburbs, in san jose, and silicon valley that could easily rent one of their rooms to a veteran. >> in san jose -- david louie, abc7 news. >> and joining me now is leon winston. he is the chief operating officer and housing director of swords to plowshares, a nonprofit organization that provides needed services and resources for veterans and their families. and i want to thank you for being here. i know you served, as well, so thank you for your service. >> oh, glad to be here. thank you. >> your program is amazing. it's been around for a long time, swords to plowshares, so how did it get started? >> it was started in 1974 by some vietnam veterans and vista volunteers to attempt to meet the needs of vietnam veterans that weren't -- who weren't being received so well by society or by the va, frankly, at that point in time. >> and what have you seen in terms of transition? and it's getting better or... >> oh, well, yeah, it's gotten much better. it's gotten much better,
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especially since 9/11. the acceptance and the welcoming home of veterans has -- i don't think we've seen that since world war ii. >> it's a lot different than vietnam, too. >> yes. >> for sure. so, when you started, you had to basically take this organization from nothing and then create -- now you have an amazing housing program. >> we have a housing program. we house close to 500 veterans in supportive housing every night. about two thirds of that is permanent housing. the rest is transitional. we also help veterans find housing. we help with eviction prevention. we help veterans access their benefits with free attorney services. and we have a pretty robust employment-training program, as well. >> i think most people, when they hear of swords to plowshares, think of counseling and group therapy and that s-- but that happens, as well. >> yes, in our transitional housing sites, there's some group therapy that happens. there's some treatment components to that. but we do have a drop-in case-management assessment-referral program in san francisco, and we also have
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an office in oakland. >> can anybody who's a veteran just come in off the street or call you? or how do people reach you? >> yeah, absolutely. they can come in at 1060 howard street in san francisco. i don't remember the address in oakland offhand. >> that's all right. >> sorry. we're open monday through friday 9:00 to 5:00 -- any veteran, any year of service, any length of service. all veterans are welcome. >> i think one of the things that stops people is, first, they may not know about the service or that it's so extensive, and then how to get there and then, "is it gonna be a whole bunch of paperwork? and what do i need?" so what do they need when they show up? >> well, they just need to come in. it's good if they have id. if they don't, we'll help them get it. a lot of the vets we serve are homeless, so they often don't have their proper identification. there's a form that verifies their military service called a "dd 214." we can help them get that in an expedited fashion from the department of defense. and we just go from there. >> i know that you work with all
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your -- kind of in charge of all this, but you come from a place of authenticity because you were out there. you were one of those guys. >> yes, i was. i was homeless mostly in los angeles, and i came back to my native san francisco. i needed quite a bit of help. i went to the va hospital, and, eventually, a social worker there referred me to swords to plowshares in early 1993. >> and the rest is history. now you're the c.o.o. >> correct. >> well, you should be very proud of yourself. thank you for helping our veterans. appreciate that. all right, and we have to take another short break, but when we come back, we're going to learn more about local resources for bay area veterans, including help with higher education. so stay with us. we'll be right back.
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>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." we're continuing our discussion on veterans and the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life. here with me in the studio right now is brandina jersky. she is a licensed marriage and family therapist with the va medical center and works with the student veterans health program at various college campuses in the bay area, including city college of san francisco. thank you for being here today. >> thank you for having me. >> you do so much work with the students. so what is the program involving
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students? how does that work? >> so, the student veteran health program is a program within the san francisco va healthcare system. and our goal is to partner with local colleges and universities where veterans are attending school to provide a number of resources and programs on campus where we can. so we do va education, va outreach and enrollment. we also provide some social-work services, and, in some situations or some campuses, we also provide mental-health services, as well. and then we do try and help with faculty and staff education if that would be useful and also work with a number of student-veteran leaders from various campuses in the bay area to help them network and mentor each other and kind of bring the student-veterans together across the community. >> so that education is really important, and joe delaurentis, in our first segment, was talking about how he had professors who actually understood him as a vet. >> right. exactly. and, you know, some schools do a lot of their own kind of faculty and staff training in this area already if they have a number of staff that are interested in
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that or have some experience in that. but we do also bring in programs, as well, to help out there. >> are there specific programs that veterans should look for when they're enrolling in school? >> so, veterans usually need to go online and determine whether or not they are eligible, for example, for the gi bill if they want to use that to go to school. and then there are a number of schools in the local area, especially, that have their own programs on campus for student-veterans -- you know, anything from disability services for classroom accommodations to veterans resource centers on campus, to student veteran of america chapters, as well. so i would really encourage student-veterans anywhere in the bay area to connect to their peers and staff on campus to find out what might be available to them. >> it sounds so much better than it used to be years ago. there are so many more resources. and the program at city college has been there just actually for, what, six years now? >> yep, yep. right. so, the program at city college for the student-veteran health started in 2010, and, since then, has evolved to really try
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and reach student-veterans outside of city college, as well. veterans graduate from city, they transfer, they go to a number of other institutions in the bay area, and then the san francisco va also extends really all the way up to eureka and the oregon border. and so there are student-veterans kind of all the way up in the san francisco va's catchment area that we try and support. >> are there a variety of services that can complement all of the work you're doing? >> yeah, you know, connecting to your va benefits as soon as possible can be a really helpful resource. it's important to remember that you don't have to be injured in the military or retired from the military to qualify for va healthcare services. and regardless of when you discharged, whether it was a year ago or 5 years ago or 50 years ago, if you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you can still enroll in va healthcare and receive those services. >> is there one easy way for anybody who's watching this show, who's a veteran, to connect with you or programs like the one you're working
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with? >> yeah, i would highly encourage veterans to connect with their local va healthcare facilities, especially if they're interested in information about healthcare benefits. the county veterans service offices are also a really great resource for connecting with state, local, and other federal benefits, as well. >> okay, and we have a phone number that we want to let people know about, as well, right? >> yes, there's the myva-311 resource, which i think is kind of a phone number for everybody to contact to find out where their local vas are and other programs in their area. >> okay, it's that easy. brandina, thank you, and thank you for the work you're doing, as well. >> thank you so much. >> all right. and for more information about the guests and the resources shared on today's program, just go to our website, we're also on facebook at abc7communityaffairs, as well as cheryljenningsabc7. and you can follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. thank you so much for joining us. have a great week. we'll see you next time. ♪
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(narrator reading) narrator: today, it's an all too familiar scene. deadly ambush attacks against law enforcement officers. this is beyond scary. no one knows who this man is or what he is about to do. narrator: an armed and dangerous killer


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