Constance A. Burns
President, CEO, Founder | National Association of American Veterans, Inc.
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Constance A. Burns Honored by Worldwide Who’s Who for Excellence in Veterans Advocacy and Health Care Services

Constance A. Burns is a Tireless Proponent of U.S. Veterans Rights

WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2013, Constance A. Burns, President, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the National Association of American Veterans, Inc., has been recognized by Worldwide Who's Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in veterans advocacy and healthcare services.

Ms. Burns is an educator, historian, author, professional meeting planner, trainer, program analyst & manager, consultant and veteran service officer, with more than 25 years of experience working for private industry, the Federal Government and non-profit organizations.

Ms. Burns served as advisor for the National World War II Reunion, D-Day to France, and A Salute Parade to WWII Veterans in May 2004. Most recently, she served as advisor to the co-chairs for the President’s Commission on Care of America’s Returning Wounded Warriors and the Mental Health Task Force for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2007 in support of our nation’s service members and combat veterans. She managed, researched, and authored major parts of three books namely the 2d Ranger Infantry Company’s history (2009), the Autobiography of Captain Evelyn Decker (2008) and the Quick Series Guide to Healthy Caregiving (2008). She is also the sponsor of several documentaries about African Americans in military history and was appointed to the Advisory Board of the DC VA Medical Center, VA Caregiver Support Program as the Community Liaison for Caregivers of Veterans – Ms. Burns planned their monthly activities and yearly retreat. She was named Woman of the Year in 2010-2011 by the National Association of Professional Women for demonstrating excellence and dedication in her profession.

Since 1990, Ms. Burns has also served as a volunteer researcher for the National Museum of Natural History and docent at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. At the national level, in 1994, she appeared in Two Thousand Notable American Women in recognition of past achievements and outstanding service to the community, state and nation. In 1996, she was awarded the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable services to the community. Since 1995, she also served on the Research Board of Advisors for the American Biographical Institute. Since 1980, she has published historical works as well as works focusing on women’s issues. She is author of several articles in the “Encyclopedia of African-American Education” (Greenwood Press, 1996). NAAV is one of the founding partners of the Veterans History Project.

Ms. Burns attended the University of Alabama in Birmingham where she received a bachelor of science. She holds a master of arts and post-master’s degrees in secondary education and history. She attended Carnegie-Mellon University in 1975-1976 as a doctoral fellow in history, teaching, and curriculum development. She later enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Pittsburgh in 1976 and completed course work leading to a Ph.D. in history in 1979.

She established the National Association of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV) and incorporated it in 2005 to provide counseling, training, employment, and housing assistance to severely wounded service members, and veterans and their families. NAAV is committed to this population, particularly severely injured single-parent service members, and veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and prior wars, by helping them to access their benefits. Additionally, she is responsible for improving collaboration, communication and coordination with the VA, and other veterans groups, health agencies, medical professional organizations, educational organizations, and the public, in support of veterans and their families. Furthermore, she provides training and respite, distribution of pertinent information and resources, and social networking for the loved ones who serve as their primary caregivers.

Ultimately, their mission is to empower stakeholders and constituents through advocacy, service, support, education outreach programs, and stewardship. Their vision is to serve our nation’s service members, military caregivers, veterans, and combat veterans who answered the call to serve in America’s armed forces, with a special focus on military caregivers, single parent service members, and combat veterans. NAAV, Inc. is envisioned as a comprehensive nonprofit 501(c)(3) veterans’ service organization that values the honorable and selfless service of current and former members of America’s armed forces, that is committed to assisting with the re-acculturation of all veterans into the mainstream of American life.

Primary objectives center on helping all who served and are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces with the following: The assistance of eligible veterans with obtaining due benefits, counseling, and single parenting, the empowerment of service members and disabled veterans by giving them access to information on education, housing, medical care, and job training and career coaching; service as an advocate for veterans’ rights; support for the timely processing of VA disability claims for all veterans through partnerships with other veterans’ groups; and support for the primary caregivers of severely wounded service members and veterans.

Services include: counseling referral services (anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, bereavement, and pain management through guided imagery); bus transportation to medical care, rehabilitation, and counseling; legal, housing, and employment referral assistance; medical care information, and VA benefits and claims assistance; education programs for service members, veterans, and their family members; and training, respite care, and access to resources and social networking for primary caregivers.

Many service members, veterans, and their families are struggling financially and emotionally during lengthy periods of hospitalization or rehabilitation due to injuries received while serving in the theater. In addition to the recovery challenges a service member or veteran may face, many families endure additional challenges such as a spouse’s loss of employment. Many face bankruptcy, homelessness, divorce, and may even be at risk for suicide. NAAV offers avenues for service members, combat veterans, military caregivers, and their families to address the issues they face while in recovery and transition to life after their injuries and while seeking employment in a work force outside of the military.

By offering educational, financial, housing, employment, and post-traumatic stress counseling referrals to both service members or veterans and their spouses, NAAV assures that our constituents will receive the most current information on where to find financial aid, housing, and employment — all the while receiving the support they need during their job and/or housing search. NAAV will work to bring military job seekers and military-friendly employers together, to place needy veterans in meaningful employment or in an entrepreneurial business venture.

NAAV’s programs will begin with a skill assessment. They will work to identify a constituent’s job skill set and translate those skills so they can be used in the civilian workforce. NAAV will identify the housing and employment goals of our constituents, which will include the type of job and/or housing desired, salary and housing requirements, and work region. NAAV also provides assistance in the areas of resume building, interviewing skills and techniques, and where to look for employment, while working to bring together prospective employers with our constituents.

NAAV will evaluate the employment and housing assistance program using feedback tools such as surveys from their users and partners, in order to improve on their services. NAAV will monitor the newly-employed and newly-housed constituents on a quarterly and biannual basis to see how our clients are progressing. NAAV will work to identify how to improve or revise our services based on feedback received.

Military Primary Caregiver Training:

In 2008, NAAV provided the outline and text for “The Quick Series Guide to Healthy Caregiving” published by Quick Series Publisher and based on the caregiving experience of NAAV’s president and chief executive officer Constance A. Burns, and her work with military caregivers and the President’s Commission on Care of America’s Returning Wounded Warriors in 2007. NAAV wants to improve the caregiver support services at the Fisher Houses and VA Medical Centers throughout the country; however, they will start in the Washington Capital area. They want to provide training and support services, specific individualized family-oriented education about relationship building and coping with changes in family dynamics, and information about available treatment programs for the caregivers of severely injured, single parent, and aging veterans.

Their main activities will include evaluation in one year via feedback from surveys, along with developing and printing the most effective information about caregiver-specific resources and educational materials from the VA and Fisher Houses projects. NAAV will distribute caregiver-specific training resources/education materials in the greater Washington, D.C. area, especially in geographically isolated areas, and at neighborhood venues and events frequented by caregivers and their families.

VA Claims and Benefits Assistance:

NAAV provides assistance with veterans’ claims and benefits at the DC VA Medical Center on the third Monday of each month and for homeless veterans at the Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down held yearly. NAAV’s trained and accredited veterans’ service officer and volunteers are ready to assist those who need help through the challenging processes — inevitably complex and bureaucratic — of gaining access to the benefits they have earned and deserve. For the most injured veterans, timely processing of disability claims is essential. For some returning service members, especially in inner cities — with literacy and other problems on top of their disabilities — coping with paperwork is a daunting task. A modest investment of time and attention can make a major difference. NAAV proposes training at least two individuals as veterans’ service officers if funding permits.

Counseling and Building Relationships:

NAAV utilizes the services of Guided Imagery, Inc. (www.guideimageryinc.com), located in Ohio. Guided Imagery, Inc. provides CDs and training sessions on managing anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, limb loss, and pain management. Diane Tusek, a registered nurse and founder and president of Guided Imagery, Inc., has more than 25 years of experience and is recognized as one of the world’s most compelling experts on guided imagery, stress management, and life coaching. Ms. Tusek serves on the advisory council for the National Association of American Veterans and uses guided imagery to work with those veterans returning from Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom combat. She works closely with veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Armed Forces Retirement Home, with funds provided by NAAV. Plans are under way to produce two CDs — one for caregivers and another for service members and veterans — to help with anxiety, stress, and spiritual wellness.

Web Site Enhancement:

NAAV will enhance its website to enable maximum exposure for their mission and to receive donations. They will seek to employ those who can make the site more interactive, using proven and effective ways to get the most from Internet technology. Phase 4 of NAAV website will include videos, posting of veterans’ stories of hope and healing, an e-newsletter, testimonials of satisfied clients, explanation of security features, “Contact Us” information, and lists of staff and volunteers, the board of directors, and national advisory council to strengthen the organization’s credibility on the web site. What NAAV expects to gain is a marked improvement in traffic, donations, and exposure before our audience nationally and worldwide. As with any venture, such growth usually takes time. But they will explore different features and measure NAAV’s results, and they believe their time will not be wasted.

Humanitarian and Education Partnerships:

Approximately five years ago, Ms. Burns met Gregory Cooke of Charlie Horse Productions, Inc., the creator and executive producer of the documentary trilogy Conversation: African Americans Remember World War II. He was looking for black veterans and resources for his films; through her, he found both. As result, NAAV remains a sponsor of Charlie Horse Productions, whose mission is to inform present and future generations about the contributions of African Americans previously ignored by mainstream history.

CHP’s current projects includes “Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II,” a landmark documentary about the military and civilian contributions of black women to America’s war effort; “Choc’late Soldiers from the USA,” which explores the untold history of 140,000 African American men and women who went to Great Britain and Europe during WWII; and “Volunteers for Freedom: 2221 Black GIs Change America,” which deals with African Americans who served in mostly service and support units in Europe, concentrating on the 2,221 who gave up those ranks to volunteer for combat to serve alongside white infantrymen. Some of the proceeds of this endeavor will go to enhance the educational programs offered to service members, veterans, and their families, as well as schools, colleges, and universities across the country.

Collaborative Partnerships and Relationships:

NAAV collaborates with other veterans organizations, and private and public agencies/organizations that share common concerns for improving the health and social status of veterans and their caregivers. In particular, NAAV maintains ongoing collaborating relationships with Torres Foundation for the Blind; Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans; American Legion; Military Spouses Inc.; Veterans and Military Families for Progress; Career Network; Housing of Winchester, VA; Fairfax Area Agency on Aging and Caregiving, Fairfax, VA; DC VA Medical Center; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Fisher Houses, Bethesda, MD; Hiring Standard Staffing (Chevy Chase, MD); VA Employment Services, Department of Veterans Affairs; Grief Recovery Center; Went Center for Loss and Healing; National Area Health Education Council; America Works of Washington, DC; Business and Professional Women’s Foundation; PureHistory.org; Sparkman Hazelton Associates of Alexandra, VA; K&L Gates LLP; Burns and Levinson LLP; The Veterans Law Firm of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation; Viridian Energy; DC VA Medical Center Fisher House; VA Caregiver Support Program; George Washington University; the University of Maryland; Howard University, and other organizations.

For more information about the National Association of American Veterans, Inc., please visit www.naavets.org; www.napw.com/communitywall; and www.constanceburns.com.

NAAV is seeking advisory council members and potentials sponsors in support of its programs and services offered to severely injured service members, disabled veterans, and caregivers of veterans.


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Constance A. Burns
Founder, National Association of American Veterans, Inc.
1725 I Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
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