Aiken Standard Person of the Year Dwight Bradham a dedicated advocate for local Veterans: Congratulations out to Dwight Bradham for being the Aiken Standard Person of the Year! Not long after Dwight Bradham began serving as Aiken County’s Veterans Affairs Officer in January 2016, he knew for sure he had made the right career move. The third person he helped in his new job was a man who was suffering from cancer after being exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. “His house was in foreclosure because he couldn’t make the mortgage payments, and he had filed for bankruptcy with his business,” Bradham said. “He had been fighting the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) for eight years, because the VA said, ‘We cannot find anything that shows you went to Vietnam.’”A friend of Bradham’s pointed him in the right direction, and he was able to obtain quickly the evidence required.As a result, the man received around $365,000 from the federal government.“All his debt and bankruptcy were gone,” Bradham said. “When that happened, I’m like going, ‘I think I’m in the right job. I’m where I need to be.’” Following the veteran’s death soon afterward, Bradham assisted the man’s spouse, and she was able to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, which provided her with a tax-free benefit of approximately $1,500 per month. Because of his efforts on behalf of that veteran, his wife and others like them, Bradham, 59, is the Aiken Standard’s Person of the Year for 2023. “I have never known anyone as dedicated as Dwight,” said Aiken County Administrator Brian Sanders. “He has taken the service that his office renders to unprecedented heights. They don’t just focus on one or two things, they try to do it all, and they do it in During Bradham’s first year, the claims handled by the local Veterans Affairs Office increased 935%, and they have gone up each year since. From 2021 to 2022, the number rose 197%. There are 14,109 active veteran accounts, and the ongoing benefits received by Aiken County veterans and their families are more than $3.6 million per month. Bradham “works tirelessly,” said Lowell Koppert, chairman of the Aiken County Veterans Council. “He doesn’t just show up and punch a time clock. He really enjoys what he does and it shows. He is a guy that people truly think cares about them.” S.C. Sen. Tom Young described Bradham as conscientious, kind, attentive and diligent. “He is totally committed to helping our area’s veterans and their families,” Young added. The South Carolina Association of County Veterans Affairs Officers honored Bradham as its Veterans Affairs Officer of the Year for 2020-2021. He currently is the president of the organization. “That, in itself, tells you how good Dwight is,” oppert said. When asked about what motivates him, Bradham replied: “It’s about taking care of veterans like we’re supposed to. It’s the right thing to do. Less than 1% of the United States’ entire population is willing, for the lack of a better term, to sign a blank check saying, ‘I’m willing to support and defend this country and the ideals that are here with my life if necessary.’ Bradham, a graduate of Aiken High School, stepped up enthusiastically to do his duty. He enlisted with the S.C. Army National Guard in 1981, began his active service in 1987 and retired as a major in 2014. His career with the National Guard included tours in Iraq (2003-2004) and Afghanistan (2012-2013). Among the military awards earned by Bradham were the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. He also was an honor graduate of the Accelerated Officer Candidate School program. “I was a third-generation soldier,” Bradham said. “My great uncle was killed during World War II in Europe during the Malmedy massacre. My dad always wanted to be a soldier when he was growing up. He was my recruiter. My family had served and it was something that I wanted to do.” In addition, after joining the military, Bradham received funds to help pay for his education. He was a star soccer goalie in high school with scholarship offers, but they dried up following an injury. “I got the side of my face kicked in during the state playoffs,” Bradham said. He took courses at USC Aiken, the University of South Carolina in Columbia and Limestone College (now known as Limestone University) before earning online a bachelor’s degree, with a focus on business, from New York-based Excelsior College prior to leaving the National Guard. Bradham’s first job following his military service was with the CVS Health Corporation. Bradham was a logistics supervisor at the company’s distribution center in Beech Island. “I enjoyed the work, but it was only myself and one other veteran there,” Bradham said. “I missed the opportunity to interact with veterans.” Bradham found more satisfaction as a military employment adviser with South Carolina’s Operation Palmetto Employment, which helps reservists and veterans find “meaningful” civilian careers, according to its website: ope.sc.gov. Nikki Haley launched the initiative in 2014 while she was governor. Her husband, Michael, a commissioned officer in the South Carolina National Guard, urged Bradham to get involved. Michael thought a position with Operation Palmetto Employment would be “a good fit” for Bradham because of his experience as a recruiter at the executive officer level with the National Guard. Bradham agreed. “It was a chance for me to give back to veterans,” he said. Aiken, Edgefield and Barnwell counties initially were in Bradham’s assigned area. By the time he decided to accept the offer from the Aiken County Legislative Delegation to become the county’s Veterans Affairs Officer, Bradham’s territory was significantly larger and covered much of the Palmetto State’s western section. Bradham said he wanted to be a Veterans Affairs Officer because in his role with Operation Palmetto Employment, he discovered that veterans weren’t aware of the VA benefits to which they were entitled. “I started unofficially sitting down with them and saying, ‘Here’s how you do it (apply), and here’s the records you need to get,’” Bradham recalled. “I helped them put together claim packets and had some success with it.” He said there were 72 applicants for the Aiken County Veterans Affairs Officer job, but according to Koppert, who was an adviser to the Legislative Delegation during the search process, there were more than 100. What made Bradham stand out, according to Koppert, was his PowerPoint presentation and emphasis on the future. “When everybody applies for a job, they say, ‘Hey, this is what I can do for you and this is what’s going on right now,’ ” Koppert remembered. “Dwight was like, ‘Hey, we’re already behind the curve, and you guys need to understand what’s coming in the next five years.’” During Bradham’s tenure as Aiken County’s Veterans Affairs Officer, Koppert has been impressed further by his go-getter attitude. “Dwight is very proactive,” Koppert said. “He’s out there saying, ‘Let me tell you who I am, come and see me, let me see what I can do for you.’ Before, there was a guy who just sat in his office and was like, ‘Oh hey, you found me [when a veteran showed up].’” In the beginning, Bradham had only one person working for him. Now he has a staff of four. Two employees are full-time, and two are part-time. “We’re at the grassroots level in the foxhole with our veterans, and it’s a total team effort,” Bradham said. “I have the best staff I could ask for. I definitely couldn’t do it without them.” But Bradham, who is based at the Aiken County Government Center in Aiken, isn’t content with the status quo. “I want to continue to expand the capabilities of this office, so we are continuing to reach even more of our veterans,” said Bradham, who is married and has two daughters. “Every day, I find a new veteran out there, under a rock, who has never come in to see us. I want to make sure, through outreach, that our veterans are informed, our veterans are recognized and respected in our communities, and that Aiken County is the best county in South Carolina to live in if you are a veteran. Those are my goals.” The above article appeared in the “Aiken Standard” by Dede Biles dated 29 December 2023
On 16 December 2023 we visited the site to see what the progress of the VWHRC Tiny Homes for Veterans were. there are approximately 15 homes constructed most of them are not ready for occupancy because, some had no electricity, water and mainly the insides were not completed. From what they were saying there were many setbacks with the construction. They were hoping that they would have the site ready for Veterans by Christmas. The site is located on 3rd Avenue N, in Myrtle Beach.
On October 6, President Biden signed into law S. 112 (copy attached), a bill which strengthens benefits for the children of Vietnam veterans born with spina bifida. We are grateful to Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Representative Jim Baird (IN-04) for their leadership on getting this long-overdue legislative through the Congressional process.
The children of Vietnam veterans have an increased risk of spina bifida, a neural tube defect in the spine, because of their parent’s exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides during their service.
Under this bill, the VA will be required to proactively reach out to potential beneficiaries to ensure they are receiving the benefits for which they are eligible for—benefits which will last for the life of the child, and which will not be affected by the death of a parent.
Company policies – Are there company policies that are particularly important to your business? Perhaps your unlimited paternity/maternity leave policy has endeared you to employees across the company. This is a good place to talk about that. See below bill S.112
Entrance to memorial within Warbird Park located in Market Common, Myrtle Beach SC.
Chapter 303 were the Grand Marshals for the Veterans Day Parade.
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It began, and now coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are commemorated in other countries, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May: Veterans Day commemorates the service of all U.S. veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. Another military holiday that also occurs in May, Armed Forces Day, honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. Additionally, Women Veterans Day is recognized by a growing number of U.S. states that specifically honor women who have served in the U.S. military.
The "Day of Infamy" speech, sometimes referred to as The Infamy speech, was a speech delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. The previous day, the Empire of Japan attacked United States military bases at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and declared war on the United States and the British Empire. The speech is known for its famed first line, which opened with Roosevelt saying, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy..."
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the United States Navy base at Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service aircraft in a surprise military strike, destroying various American ships and aircraft, and killing over 2,400 civilians and military personnel. After consulting with his cabinet, Roosevelt decided to deliver an address before the joint session of the Congress the next day.