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Leading Veterans Service Organizations Meet Near Washington May 13-15, 2008
Date:5/9/2008

Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Gather in Virginia to Envision a Bold Future for Military & Veterans Service Organizations

CHANTILLY, Va., May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the war in Iraq enters its fifth year and the U.S. death toll climbs above 4,000 and casualty numbers approach the 30,000 mark, a diverse coalition of military and veterans service organizations on the homefront have organized to help bereaved families and wounded veterans. In some cases, they are nonprofit organizations serving military audiences with decades of experience who are now seeing demand for their services soar. Others are new to veterans services but eager to meet needs and help. Now for the first time ever, the 44 agencies who are members of the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans will meet face-to-face during a conference being held May 13-15, 2008, in the Washington, DC metro area.

The Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (CIAV) will coordinate efforts on behalf of our nation's active military, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. These 44 agencies represent every facet of service delivery and advocacy on behalf of deployed and war veterans. CIAV members deliver direct financial aid, housing assistance, mental health and traumatic injury services, legal and employment services, advocacy and research, and counts among its members Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Operation Home Front, the Sesame Street Workshop and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, to name a few.

This conference is an unprecedented gathering of nonprofit agencies dedicated to serving those whose lives have been transformed through deployment.

"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is honored to be part of the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans," said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Six years into the Iraq war and seven years into the war in Afghanistan, CIAV works to ease the tremendous burden borne by U.S. service members and their families. IAVA looks forward to collaborating with such a dedicated and effective group of agencies."

On Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (8:30am-10:15am), RAND Corporation researchers Terri Tanielian and Lisa Jayjox will present the findings of their groundbreaking report Invisible Wounds of War, which has found that one in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD or major depression. Later workshop sessions on Monday will focus on the needs of families and children, and the health and economic well-being of service members and new combat veterans.

"We recognize that it is incumbent on the greater community and non-profit agencies like ours to step up and support our service members, veterans and their families through the inevitable stresses of deployment," said Amy Fairweather, CIAV director. "Our colleagues in the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are at the cutting edge of military and veterans services, and our partnership will only strengthen the safety net for those who serve".

"It takes a community of organizations to meet the many diverse needs of veterans and military families," said Bonnie Carroll, founder and chairman of TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. "The Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans provides a place to share best practices and forge new partnerships that benefit the families we serve." She will deliver presentations on meeting family needs and self-care for providers during the conference.

Members available to speak to media, include

Mike Conklin, Director, Sentinels of Freedom, http://www.sentinelsoffreedom.org/

Amy Fairweather, CIAV Director and director of the Iraq Veteran Project, http://swords-to-plowshares.org/iraq-veteran-project/

Paul Rieckoff. Founder and Executive Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, http://www.iava.org

Bonnie Carroll, Founder and Chairman, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, TAPS, http://www.taps.org

Steve Robinson, ONE Freedom, http://www.onefreedom.org

Joyce Raezer, Executive Director, National Military Family Association, http://www.nmfa.org

MEDIA INVITED TO ATTEND

WHAT: The First Annual Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Conference

WHERE: Westfield Marriot, 14750 Conference Center Drive, Chantilly, Va. 20151

WHEN: May 13th - 15th 2008

Members of the Coalition for Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans: The Advertising Council, American Pain Foundation, Armed Services YMCA of the USA, Brave New Foundation, California National Guard Family Assistance Fund, Comfort for America's Uniformed Services (CAUSE), Coming Home Project - Deep Streams Institute, the Dallas Foundation, the Family Literacy Foundation - United Through Reading, Fisher House Foundation, Homes for our Troops, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Jacob's Light Foundation, Inc., Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Mercy Medical Airlift - Air Compassion for Veterans, Michigan National Guard Family Fund Inc., National Military Family Association, National Veterans Foundation Inc., National Veterans Legal Services Program, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, New Directions Inc., ONE Freedom, Inc., Our Military Kids, Inc., The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, Permian Basin Area Foundation, Project Return to Work, Inc., the Salvation Army Liberty Program, San Antonio Area Foundation, Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation, Sesame Workshop, Swords to Plowshares - Iraq Veteran Project, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), TIDES Center/California Department of Veterans Affairs, TIRR Foundation/Project Victory, USA Cares, Inc., Veterans Home of California - The Pathway Home, Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, Vets4Vets, Veterans Village of San Diego, and Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers & Families.

The Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans is a diverse collaboration of over 40 agencies nationwide who serve active military, recent war veterans and their families. The Coalition is coordinated through Swords to Plowshares' Iraq Veteran Project for more information contact Amy Fairweather, Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, 415-505-6558, afairweather@stp-sf.org.


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SOURCE Swords to Plowshares
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