Happy Memorial Day

I’m not sure if “happy” is the appropriate term today as the purpose of the holiday is to honor America’s service men and women who are actively serving or have given everything to protect this nation.  Happy is a relative term.  I am happy that our country has a large group of individuals that are willing to place themselves in harms way so that no harm comes to others.  I am happy that I can count myself as one of those people that served our country.  I am extremely happy and grateful for the lessons I learned from my time in the service.

This is what I am not so happy about:

The lack of mental health services for active duty and veterans, currently the suicide rates are the highest in history approximately 1 service member takes their own life every 36 hours.

The lack of legal services available.  I am a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Armed Forces Committee that was formed to combat this issue, but we are an island in a sea of need.  Across this nation their are only a handful of count/state bar associations actively helping and identifying the needs of America’s military.  If you know of a veteran or active duty member or family that needs help contact me (nvantreeck@usip.com) and I will send the request to those that can help.  Most of our work is free or at a greatly reduced cost.  It is our honor to provide this help.

The less than adequate living conditions for military families.  I, and many others, know that the families of active and veterans alike are also part of the military that serves this great nation.  They should not be subjected to needing food stamps and poor living conditions to support our military efforts.

There are a lot of other things that I am not “happy” about, but I (and others) are actively working to help where we can because our past and present armed forces personnel deserve better.

So while you are enjoying your day off.  Going to that Barbecue.  Picnicking with family and friends.  Remember the lives that were given and the sacrifices that were/are made so that you can live here.

I’ll get off my soapbox now and I will have a happy memorial day.  I hope your day is happy and safe.  And, if you happen to see a Veteran or someone in the military, take the time to go up to them and thank them for today and all the other days that you get to enjoy.  They WILL appreciate it.

Norman Van Treeck, FCC, United States Navy(Go Navy! Beat Army!)


One Step Closer!

The Los Angeles County Bar Executive committee unanimously voted this last week to approved the Armed Services committee for permanent status.  The motion now goes before the full board and hopefully I will be able to report shortly that all the hard work of the committee to draft a report citing the need for this committee on  a permanent basis will come to fruition.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, I was more than happy to make a small contribution to this effort.  However, there are many others one the committee that deserve credit for making this happen.  With 25% of the homeless population of Los Angeles being veterans, we could not stand by without doing something.  A recent survey citing the 3 top needs of these veterans as being help with legal issues, we jumped at the chance to act.  A special thanks goes out to Adam Siegler of Greenberg Traurig, LLP for spearheading this group.  Although he is in the Army Reserve JAG Corps, I can’t hold that against him.  Especial after we keep beating them in football (sorry Adam ;-}, Go Navy! Beat Army!).

Although the work at getting the committee formed is almost completed, the real work is yet to begin.  To all the veterans, active duty, reserve and their families, we will do our best to provide you with the help you need.

I cannot express my gratitude enough to the committee members who made this happen, but even more to those that have, and are now serving this county.

I am personally working with others in Riverside county to try and expand this program and others to assist those who defend freedom.