As U.S. military veterans experience devastating impacts from coronavirus, preeminent veteran affairs authority to host a global Virtual Town Hall forum on June 3 addressing the unique issues of today’s veterans. The live online event will feature Congressional leaders, heads of marquee veteran’s organizations, leading military figures and other expert panelists to address current and emerging COVID-19 impacts and challenges, misconceptions and problem/solution resolutions specific to the veteran community
As the world battles COVID-19, military veterans across the United States and beyond are disproportionately suffering devastating impacts from this pandemic. Not only are they dying from the coronavirus at a higher rate, but even those thwarting the viral infection are otherwise bearing a heavy emotional and economic burden amid social distancing. This as companies—both small and large—are relegated to furloughing and laying off employees … or shutting down all together.
For some perspective on the breadth of this problem, a recently released report by the Bob Woodruff Foundation reveals that more than 500,000 veterans live in the 15 cities that are most likely to be affected by pandemic-driven difficulties. As worrisome, the report also emphasized that COVID-19 is creating a “perfect storm” of emergent trauma and loneliness due to social isolation and unplanned wage or job loss that could threaten the mental health of many veterans—a group of men and women who have selflessly served and protected our great nation.
Validating these concerns, the sobering statistics continue to stack up on all fronts. In fact, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report cites that veteran unemployment is up to nearly 12 percent, with more than 1,000,000 veterans reporting being jobless this past April, alone. There is also escalating discourse regarding COVID-19-driven PTSD and other mental health issues within this community, underscoring that it is exacerbating anxiety and suicidal ideation among a litany of other specialized impacts that veterans are uniquely experiencing. This includes, but is not limited to, a higher risk of contracting the virus due to age and “toxic exposure” (and greater mortality vulnerabilities in relation), reduced access and barriers to healthcare and suitable treatment options, housing crises and funding problems for community-based veteran organizations serving as critical front-line touchpoints.
As part of an on-going commitment to support America’s veterans, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Veterans Law Attorney John Berry, Jr., CEO of Berry Law Firm, will host a comprehensive “Coronavirus and Veterans” virtual forum designed to tackle current challenges and address misconceptions. This virtual town hall discussion and education forum will include a cross-section of leading individuals who serve the veteran community as well as other panelists who will shed light on the impact the virus is having on veterans, specifically, across an array of categories. This includes efforts already underway in addition to what we as a society can do moving forward to uphold this group of individuals who have already sacrificed so much for the greater good.
participants of the virtual forum will include Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar; Assal Ravandi, CEO of The Academy of United States Veterans the Chair of The VETTYS Awards; Air Force Colonel Dr. Mickra Hamilton (and one of the organization’s Human Potential Subject Experts); retired Navy Seal Chriss Smith; and a representative of The Bob Woodruff Foundation.
As host of the event, Berry’s law firm boasts one of the largest clientele of veteran clients in the United States and has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list this past three consecutive years. Other expert event panelists will address current and emerging COVID-19 impacts, challenges, misconceptions and problem/solution resolutions specific to the veteran community.
This virtual forum will be live-streamed at 1:00 p.m. ET on June 3, and those interested in joining can register online for free at www.COVID19andVeterans.com. With nearly a dozen military organizations and other partners already scheduled to participate—and considering the easy accessibility of the forum around the world via America’s vast network of military organizations, other online platforms and through social media—an audience of over 200,000 viewers is anticipated.
“As a military veteran myself and hailing from a family that’s duly served, this issue is very personal to me and is what drives my legal work on behalf of veterans every day,” Berry said. “My father, John Stevens Berry, Sr. served in Vietnam and, during my own time in the U.S. Army, I led troops in the U.S., Bosnia and Iraq. Our law firm, started by my father, has worked with thousands of veterans in all 50 states, listening to their stories and helping them successfully navigate through the legal system when issues arise.
”In recognition of Berry Law Firm’s service to the veteran community nationwide, in 2019 it received the Department of Labor Platinum Medallion Award for their demonstrated commitment to hiring veterans. Most recently, Berry sponsored a report for members of Congress outlining 12 specific areas of concern among the veteran community. This report underscored the importance of the COVID-19 stimulus bill set to allocate $19.6 billion in additional funding to support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to mitigate adverse impacts of the pandemic.
“As a veteran, I’m passionate about helping veterans better navigate health, financial and lifestyle obstacles that COVID-19 has presented,” Berry noted. “I want to do all I can to ensure the veteran community has vital, relevant, fact-based and useful information and this virtual event is a powerful means toward that end.”
Additional information on event host John Berry is available at www.JohnBerryLeads.com.