Collier County Veterans Council "Honoring All Who Served"
Collier County Veterans Council"Honoring All Who Served"

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You can use your GI Bill benefits in many ways to advance your education and training. Find out how to use your benefits to earn a degree, train for a specific trade, or work toward other career goals.

Security Force Assistance Brigades

The Army established the first of what will eventually be six security force assistance brigades, or SFABs.
That unit, now assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, has already identified about 70 percent of the personnel who will ultimately serve under its flag and wear its patch -- though right now, both the patch and the flag are still being designed.

The new SFAB and the five others planned -- a total of five in the active component and one in the National Guard -- will each have 529 Soldiers assigned and will be tasked to conduct advise and assist missions for the Army, said Lt. Col. Johnathan Thomas, who serves with the Army's G-3/5/7 force management directorate at the Pentagon.

"The SFAB is designed to rapidly deploy into a theater of operations in support of a combatant commander," said Thomas. "Once it arrives in that particular theater, it will begin to work with, train, advise, and assist those partner nation security forces on anything they need help with, be it logistics, be it communications, be it maneuver. Anything they need help with to improve their capacity and capability, that's what the SFAB is designed to do."

Thomas said SFABs could deploy to places such as Africa, South America, Europe, or anywhere Army senior leaders decide. The units will have the capability to deploy anywhere.

The advise and assist mission is one the Army has done for years, Thomas said, but it's something the Army has until now done in an "ad hoc" fashion. Brigade combat teams, for instance, have in the past been re-tasked to send some of their own overseas as part of Security Transition Teams or Security Force Assistance Teams to conduct training missions with foreign militaries. Sometimes, however, the manner in which these teams were created may not have consistently facilitated the highest quality of preparation.

The SFAB units, on the other hand, will be exclusively designated to conduct advise and assist missions overseas. And they will be extensively trained to conduct those missions before they go. Additionally, he said, the new SFABs mean regular BCTs will no longer need to conduct advise and assist missions.

"The SFAB, because it is going to go forward and advise, will somewhat relieve the pressure on our BCTs to go forward and do that mission," Thomas said. Instead, he said, BCTs can now concentrate on training and preparing for their next deployment.

He said that because the advise and assist mission is considered an enduring mission, "the Army decided ... we should have a dedicated, permanent structure to get after this mission on behalf of our partnered forces and partner nations."

Mental Health Struggles Remain Major Problem for Veterans

No matter how you served or what you’ve experienced in military or civilian life, you may be facing challenges that affect your health, relationships, and .  You don’t have to face them alone. VA is here to provide and connect you with resources and support to confront and manage any mental health challenge.


Let others know how you feel and ask for support. Seeking information, advice, or options for tackling the challenges that affect your health, daily activities, or relationships can be a good first step. You may start with a family member or friend but also consider talking with:

Your doctor. Ask if your doctor has experience treating Veterans or can refer you to someone who does.
A mental health professional, such as a therapist.
Your local VA medical center or Vet Center. VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans. Locate VA resources near you.

Sleep Deprivation Cripples Veterans Efforts to Recover From Military Career
Fact Sheet:  Insomnia Treatment
Lifestyle changes often can help relieve acute (short-term) difficulty sleeping. These changes might make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, lifestyle changes alone cannot cure chronic (ongoing) insomnia The most effective treatment for chronic (ongoing) insomnia is a specific type of counseling called cognitivebehavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). It works by changing the thoughts and behaviors that maintain the cycle of insomnia. Several medicines also can help you sleep in the short term and re-establish a regular sleep schedule. However, they cannot fix chronic insomnia. And if your insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem, it's important to treat the underlying cause (if possible).
Lifestyle Changes
If you have sleeping, avoid substances that make it worse, such as:
 Caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants. The effects of these substances can last as long as 8 hours.
 Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can disrupt sleep (for example, some cold and allergy medicines). Talk with your doctor about which medicines won't disrupt your sleep.
 Alcohol. An alcoholic drink before bedtime might make it easier for you to fall asleep. However, alcohol triggers sleep that tends to be lighter than normal. This makes it more likely that you will wake up during the night. Try to adopt bedtime habits that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Follow a routine that helps you wind down and relax before bed. For example, read a book, listen to soothing music, or take a hot bath. Try to schedule your daily exercise at least 5 to 6 hours before going to bed. Don't eat heavy meals or drink a lot before bedtime. Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Avoid bright lighting while winding down. Try to limit possible distractions, such as a TV, computer, or pet. Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is cool and comfortable. Your bedroom also should be dark and quiet. Go to sleep around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning, even on weekends. If you can, avoid night shifts, alternating schedules, or other things that may disrupt your sleep schedule.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i)
CBT for insomnia targets the thoughts and actions that can disrupt sleep. This therapy encourages good sleep habits and uses several methods to relieve sleep anxiety. For example, relaxation techniques and biofeedback are used to reduce anxiety. These strategies help you better control your breathing, heart rate, muscles, and mood. CBT-i also aims to replace sleep anxiety with more positive thinking that links being in bed with being asleep. This method also teaches you what to do if you're unable to fall asleep within a reasonable time. CBT-i also may involve talking with a therapist one-on-one or in group sessions to help you consider your thoughts and feelings about sleep. This method may encourage you to describe thoughts racing through your mind in terms of how they look, feel, and sound. The goal is for your mind to settle down and stop racing. CBT-i also focuses on limiting the time you spend in bed while awake. This method involves setting a sleep schedule. At first, you will limit your total time in bed to the typical short length of time you're usually asleep. This schedule might make you even more tired because some of the allotted time in bed will be taken up by problems falling asleep. However, the resulting tiredness is intended to help you get to sleep more quickly. Over time, the length of time spent in bed is increased until you get a full night of sleep.
• Prescription Medications. Many prescription medicines are used to treat insomnia. Some are meant for short-term use, while others are meant for longer use. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and side effects of insomnia medicines. For example, insomnia medicines can help you fall asleep, but you may feel groggy in the morning after taking them. Rare side effects of these medicines include sleep eating, sleep walking, or driving while asleep. If you have side effects from an insomnia medicine, or if it doesn't work well, tell your doctor. He or she might prescribe a different medicine. Some insomnia medicines can be habit forming. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of insomnia medicines.
• Over-the-counter Products Some over-the-counter (OTC) products claim to treat insomnia. These products include melatonin, Ltryptophan supplements, and valerian teas or extracts. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate “natural” products and some food supplements. Thus, the dose and purity of these substances can vary. How well these products work and how safe they are isn't well understood. Some OTC products that contain antihistamines are sold as sleep aids. Although these products might make you sleepy, talk to your doctor before taking them. These medications pose risks for some people. Also, these products may not offer the best treatment for your insomnia. Your doctor can advise you whether these products will benefit you.


Is Medical Marijuana Recommended for Veterans?

Vincent sustained multiple injuries across his 27 years of military service, including permanent nerve damage from the neck down, total reconstructive shoulder surgery and a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.

He was put on multiple narcotics, including Oxycontin. At one point he was taking up to 10 different medications for pain management alone. The medications combined later led to stage three kidney disease and a damaged liver, he said.

Important Phone Numbers

  • Veterans Crisis Line 1.800.273.TALK (8255)


  • National Call Center for Homeless Veterans 1.877.4AID.VET (424.3838)


  • VA Caregiver Support Line 1.855.260.3274


  • Wounded Warrior Resource Center 1.800.342.9647

Important Links

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Where to Find Us:

The Veterans Council of Collier County is the umbrella organization of the 20 veterans groups that exist in Collier County, Florida.

The Veterans Council is comprised of representatives from each group and meets the 3rd Thursday of each month.


We bring all groups together for networking and fellowship in an otherwise fragmented community.  We each have our allegiances, but are fighting the same battle.  United we stand.

Meetings are open to all veterans.


CCVC Board of Directors


Chief William Carl, USCG




Alexander Leoni, USMC

(Vice President)


Chief Darnell Johnson



Stanley Bunner,USN

(Safety Officer)


Larry Lathrop, USMC



Frank Kerr, USA

 (Sergeant at Arms)


Jason Lindsey, USMC

(Operations Officer)


Vidal Sanchez, USMC

(Operations Assistant)


Stormie Pruskauer


Joan Mary Madonna

(Assisstant Secretary)





The Veterans Council enjoys the generous financial support of its contributors.  If your organization would like support the Veterans Council and its four public patriotic ceremonies, please mail your annual $50 donation to: 

Collier County Veterans Council

527 107th Ave N

Naples, FL 34108



 If you would like to publicly introduce yourself to the Board of Directors and their gallery of patriots, please contact us to have your name placed on the upcoming meeting agenda.  



Veteran Suicide Prevention

If you, or a veteran you know, may be thinking of contemplating suicide please call The Veterans Crisis Hotline at:

1-800-273-8255 and Press 1

or go to their website at:


Helpful Suicide education is also provided here.


"In all you do, do with all your might. Things done by half measures are never done right."


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