A new initiative is focusing on reducing suicide and improving treatment for veterans.

Aaron Ashworth is the mental health and suicide prevention programs administrator for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Speaking to healthcare providers Thursday through a new OSU ECHO program, Ashworth said veterans need to feel connected and need to feel like there is hope, and it’s important to remember key aspects of military culture when treating them.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The remains of a U.S. Army soldier killed during the Korean War have been identified as an Oklahoma native, according to the U.S. Army.

The remains are those of Sgt. Billy Rodgers of Panama, Oklahoma, who was 19 when he disappeared on Dec. 2., 1950.

Rodgers was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, which was attacked near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

Music Added To Veteran Resource Center's Offerings

Aug 6, 2021

Amazon Pushes To Recruit Veterans

Jul 16, 2021
Photo by Joshua J. Seybert / U.S. Air Force

Amazon is making a push to recruit veterans, and says it has ways to support them.

In a press release issued July 13th, the company says it aims to hire over 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2024. This will add to what the company estimates is the 40,000 veterans already in its employ.

Ex-Air Force Major General John Quintas, former advisor for political-military affairs to the Pentagon, is heading up veteran recruitment efforts for Amazon.

Quintas retired in 2017, and said his experience in the military-industrial complex has been useful at Amazon.

Veterans Celebrate Fourth of July Early

Jul 2, 2021
Photo courtesy of Coffee Bunker

A refuge for veterans celebrates Fourth of July early with a barbecue. 


Coffee Bunker is a nonprofit focused on helping veterans and active duty service members. 


Greg Bilbruck is Coffee Bunker’s chaplain. 


“We’re here cooking for veterans, for family and friends of veterans.”


Bilbruck said Coffee Bunker usually serves about 40 veterans a day with its transition services and food pantry, but he guessed about 100 veterans would pass through for the barbecue.



Plans are on hold to remake a south Tulsa hotel into a development that includes a hotel, apartments targeted to older veterans and daytime senior care.

Veteran Services USA withdrew their application for the project hours before a city council vote on it this week, saying they wanted to allow more time for discussions with the community.

Two Parks Changing To Honor Veterans, Native Americans

Jun 17, 2021

Some monuments to veterans are moving. 


At a press conference today, officials announced that Veterans Park will be moving to Centennial Park. One reason for the change is to create more visibility for the Veterans Park monuments. 


Josh Sparks, veterans chair for the Human Rights Commission, said Veterans Park was first established on South Boulder Drive because that street was once a main thoroughfare. It’s not so much these days.


Changes Coming For Two Tulsa Parks

Jun 16, 2021
Trust for Public Land

Two local parks are seeing changes.

Centennial Park at 6th and Peoria will be renamed Veterans Park, and what was Veterans Park will be called Dream Keeper Park to honor Native Americans.

During a meeting of the Indian Affairs Commission Tuesday evening, chair Cheryl Cohenour said the location on South Boulder Drive has meaning.

“It’s pretty close to the Council Oak Tree and the river, so it has a little bit more symbolic reference for us. We have an opportunity to do a lot of different things at that park,” said Cohenour.

Emergency Volunteers Practice For Crisis

Jun 4, 2021

This morning the Salvation Army gave its volunteers practice running its emergency disaster canteen.

Volunteers set the canteen up before 7 a.m. this morning in the parking lot of Coffee Bunker, a resource center for veterans seeking support.

Students handed out coffee and donuts to veterans and anyone else who approached. Coffee Bunker has a variety of veteran clients, including some experiencing homelessness.

Organizations Gather to Support Victims of Crime

Apr 23, 2021

The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma hosted a “Day of Hope” Friday at Tulsa’s Promenade Mall.

The purpose was to pass safety and victim resources to the public. One organization in attendance was Coffee Bunker, a nonprofit advocating for veterans. Coffee Bunker Chaplain Greg Bilbruck said for him the event was about solidarity.

“We’re out here with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Sherriff’s Office, Muscogee Creek Nation. We’re here just to support victims and try to get justice for them,” said Bilbruck.  

File photo of Tulsa Veterans Day Parade

Organizers would not let the COVID-19 pandemic halt the 102nd Tulsa Veterans Day parade.

After the national anthem and a 21-gun salute, around 2,100 participants set off from Third Street and Boston Avenue at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Marching veterans were joined by a Jeepers Anonymous contingent, vets driving Mazda Miatas and the City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums.

Right after the parade started, a Douglas C-49 from World War II dubbed "Wild Kat" flew over the parade for about an hour.

Facebook / Claremore Veterans Center

(This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. to correct the name of the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.)

The outbreak of COVID-19 at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs center in Claremore has grown since first being announced by the agency in July. 

According to Shane Faulkner, ODVA's public information officer, 128 residents are now confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday. 35 of those residents have died.


The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to get a handle on a COVID-19 outbreak at its Claremore Veterans Center.

As of Tuesday, 62 residents and 21 workers there had tested positive for the coronavirus since July 1, and 10 residents have died.

Executive Director Joel Kintsel said ODVA has 1,200 beds in its facilities across Oklahoma.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa will conduct COVID-19 drive-thru testing for enrolled veterans on Wednesday.

Testing will be by appointment only.

Veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may schedule a testing appointment by calling 1-888-397-8387. Appointments will be scheduled in 15-minute intervals.

The Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 9322 E 41st St.

Our guest is Elliot Ackerman, the author of several widely-acclaimed novels who's also a former Marine; he served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. Ackerman joins us to discuss his new book, a collection of autobiographical essays called "Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning." Per a starred review of this volume in Booklist: "[A] searing, contemplative, and unforgettable memoir-in-essays....

On this installment of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, a timely conversation with two community leaders who are both involved with the Tulsa Community Service Council, and who are both, moreover, U.S. Military veterans: Dr. Erv Janssen and Jim Lyall. They join us to define and discuss the experience known as moral injury -- an affliction that's similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, yet which also differs from PTSD in several important ways.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about the Oklahoma Bike Summit 2017, which will happen later this week (the 19th and 20th) in Muskogee and Tahlequah -- and which will, per its website, focus "on attaining physical and mental well-being through bicycling. It will address bicycling for individuals with disabilities, as spiritual and emotional healing process, and to improve the health of a whole community." Our guest is Jayme Brown, who will give an address entitled "Ride to Recovery: Cycling as Rehabilitation" at this summit.

On this edition of ST, we offer an interesting interview with John M. Kinder, an assistant professor of American studies and history at Oklahoma State University.


A cold, windy day doesn’t keep the crowd away for Tulsa’s Veterans Day Parade. Several thousand turn out for the parade on a chilly day. Small children wave flags and shout thanks, older kids line the route and cheer the servicemen and women. Many of the World War 11 vets are gone now, but some, like Jim Deer, who served with a bombing group in the European Theater, come to the parade every year. He rode inside a heated auto this year, but says as long as he’s able, he’ll be a part of the annual event in downtown Tulsa.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Henning Schumann speaks with Michael M. Phillips, a staff reporter at the Washington, D.C., bureau of The Wall Street Journal. Phillips has reported on the U.S. ground war in Afghanistan since 2001, and he went to Iraq to cover a certain American battalion several times between 2003 and 2006. He writes often about the aftermath of these wars, including post-traumatic stress, suicide, and other issues facing veterans and their families.

Tulsa Honors Its Vets

Nov 11, 2013

Good crowds for Tulsa’s 95th annual Veteran’s Day Parade. Children and Senior Citizens waving American flags line the parade route in downtown Tulsa on a pleasant fall day. Several WWll Vets are riding in the parade, but there are fewer every year. Particular attention is being paid to them, in their 80’s and 90’s now, they’re dying at the rate of nearly 2,000 a day. In the Tulsa parade is Jim Alsbaugh, a decorated soldier who fought in Germany.

Senate Committee Wraps Up Vet-Care Review

Oct 24, 2012
KWGS News File photo

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs held its fourth and final meeting studying the state’s seven veterans’ centers.  Sen. Frank Simpson, who requested the study, said he was pleased by the insight gained from veterans, their families, center staff and members of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the War Veterans Commission and the many others who testified at the meetings.

Veteran Review Resumes

Oct 10, 2012
KWGS News File photo

State Senators resume an interim study reviewing Veterans Affairs, in particular, the quality of care at Oklahoma’s Veterans Centers.

Glenda Davenport is the interim director at the Claremore Center. She says they have a huge problem retaining qualified staff, especially in the low skill areas.  She told senators that low paid staff often have poor work ethics. She says that leads to a frequent turnover of staff.

Yesterday’s meeting was the third for the committee.

The senate review started after media reports of abuse and neglect at some of the Oklahoma Centers.

On today's show, we speak with Thomas Skinner, a US Army veteran who's been battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) for more than two decades. Over the years, ever since he was honourably discharged from Fort Eustis in Virginia, Skinner has worked as a truck driver, a wildlife photographer, and at a few other jobs.

Oklahoma gets grant to help homeless vets

Mar 28, 2012
file photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Three housing agencies in Oklahoma will split $381,311 in Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to supply permanent housing and case management for 90 homeless veterans. HUD officials said Tuesday's award brings to 345 the number of vouchers awarded to Oklahoma.