Iowa Review’s Writing Contest for Vets Opens May 1

The submissions window for a fourth Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest opens Tues., May 1, 2018 and closes June 1, 2018. The contest is open to any service member or veteran writing in any genre, about any subject matter. (Current students, faculty, or staff of the University of Iowa, however, are not eligible to enter the contest.)

The contest is hosted by The Iowa Review and made possible by the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–1969), a Vietnam veteran and anti-war writer and activist.

Unlike the first two iterations of the contest, there is no entry fee for the contest.

Prize is $1,000 and publication in The Iowa Review. Second place is $750. Up to three runners-up will receive $500 each.

Entrants should submit an original double-spaced manuscript in any genre (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction) of up to 20 pages. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, although the editors request timely notification if the work is later accepted elsewhere.

Submissions may be made either on-line or via postal mail.

A webpage with full details and specifications for the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans can be found here. A Submittable page for on-line submissions is here.

Historically, this is an extremely competitive contest. The Aiming Circle strongly recommends that potential participants review examples of works previously recognized through this contest. Materials from previous iterations of the Jeff Sharlet Memorial contest have been collected on-line here. Or read the previous issues containing Jeff Sharlet contest awardees:

Finalists will be selected by the editors of The Iowa Review. A winner will be selected by the guest judge. This year’s judge is poet and memoirist Brian Turner, author of “Here, Bullet” and “My Life as a Foreign Country.” Individuals with past personal or professional relationship with the judge are not eligible for the contest.

A Facebook page for The Iowa Review is here.

VA to Host Nationwide Baby Shower

Throughout the month of May, in celebration of Mother’s Day, VA will host baby showers at 60 different sites across the country. VA also plans to provide more than 2,400 veterans –– who are new parents or expecting ­­–– with baskets that will include a diaper bag, new baby toiletries, hair brush and comb set, bib, layette, blanket and hat. VA is currently accepting donations for these baskets which cost $50 each. Individuals and groups who are interested will also be able to volunteer at the baby shower sites. Learn more about how to volunteer, donate or find baby shower locations.

Vet Tix

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW)  and Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) are pleased to announce they’ve entered into an official alliance designed to benefit all veterans and service members, as well as their families and caretakers. By teaming up, both organizations increase awareness of the opportunities offered by both the VFW and Vet Tix. The organizations share the common goal of helping veterans during their time of service and as they transition back into civilian life by providing them with resources and support services.

“It is such an honor to partner with the VFW, which has such a rich history of supporting veterans since 1899,” said Mike Focareto, CEO of Vet Tix. “This collaboration will provide opportunities for all veterans to become VetTixers while experiencing the benefits of both Vet Tix and the VFW. We have found that our tickets not only provide smiles and memories to our VetTixers but have also helped their reintegration into the community. I look forward to us expanding our impact and creating more memories for more veterans, their families and those who care for them.”

“We’re pleased to provide VetTixers with the many opportunities this new relationship brings including access to our vast programs and services designed specifically to serve their needs,” said VFW National Commander Keith Harman. “We’re all in any time we can help boost the morale of our nation’s finest, or any time we can simply help them in life, period.”

Vet Tix events provide service members and veterans a unique opportunity to spend quality time with one another and family to strengthen social connections. Vet Tix seats are often grouped in blocks enabling VetTixers to be seated with other VetTixers at events, helping to promote comradery similar to that experienced while in service. The VFW’s contributions will grant those unique reintegration opportunities and help military families to make memories that last a lifetime.

To learn more about Vet Tix and how to get involved, visit the sign-up page.

VA Education Information

For any service member or veteran looking to pursue their educational goals through the use of the GI Bill, there is an important tool offered by VA. The GI Bill Comparison Tool allows users to compare different programs and institutions that accept the GI Bill. In the past few years, some student veterans have been impacted by the abrupt closures of the for profit schools they were attending. These schools were using predatory business practices and had numerous complaints against them. The GI Bill Comparison Tool gives users the ability to check on the schools they wish to attend, and provides up to date data received from current and past students, helping GI Bill users make better, more informed decisions about where to attend school, and hopefully avoid programs that offer little to no value.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Information

The VR&E program commonly known as Voc Rehab is an excellent benefit offered by VA that is not utilized by as many eligible veterans who may need it. VR&E services can assist eligible veterans with resume development skills, job search training, employment accommodations, and education in order to keep employed through different avenues. The VR&E program offers individual counselors to accommodate the different needs of the clients they serve. We encourage all veterans to learn more about VR&E services to see if you may be eligible for this great benefit. To read more about VR&E and to see if you’re eligible click here.

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