Nicole’s Notes – Our CEO’s blog

Nicole Hart, ARVets CEO, is a combat veteran of the Iraq War. She is the founder of ARVets and in this capacity is on the front lines working to improve the overall quality of life for Arkansas veterans. Prior to this role she was the Military and Veteran Advisor to Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. In this position she served as liaison between those respective communities, our Governor and the Arkansas Legislature.

In Nicole's own words "On the battlefield the culture is to follow orders and complete the mission, at home we want the veteran to give the orders and we complete the mission for them!"


When servicemen and women return home from deployments they often have a tough time readjusting to everyday life.

The constant urgency and need to be on high alert in a conflict zone soon gives way to the monotony of buying groceries or meeting with your child’s teachers at school. The slower pace of being back stateside, coupled with the safety and security of home life, can sometimes be liberating. However, haunting memories of the sights and sounds of war can hinder personal progress when veterans don’t have an emotional, spiritual, or even an intellectual outlet to help them refocus their energies and reset their lives.

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Many Military Families Could Use Additional Support From The Private Option Plan

As state lawmakers debate whether to fund the Arkansas Private Option plan that provides health insurance coverage to thousands of low income residents, I am reminded of how difficult it can be for some servicemen and women to get the care they need. The private option uses federal Medicaid money, under the Affordable Care Act, to purchase private insurance for nearly 250,000 Arkansans who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Those facts are sometimes too technical for many people to understand, but what we do know is about 102,000 residents who didn’t have insurance are now eligible for it, but they could lose this coverage if the plan isn’t fully funded during this year’s fiscal session of the Legislature.

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Now that we are celebrating Black History Month, I thought it would be nice to speak American service member facts into the mix. As an African-American woman, I have to pay tribute to my sisters-in-arms.

Throughout history, Black women overcame discrimination based on race and gender to serve this nation with distinction. In war and peacetime, these courageous women of color defended our country, preserved American values, shattered the military glass ceiling, and overcame barriers for women of all races.

121311-national-black-women-soldiers-militaryI am constantly amazed at how our roles in the United States Armed Forces are sometimes forgotten by the history books. Black women without rank or uniform served as nurses during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Near the end of World War I, trained black nurses with the American Red Cross were offered Army Nurse Corps assignments. Though they weren’t on the front lines of conflict, these pioneers lived in segregated quarters and cared for German prisoners of war and black soldiers at Camp Grant, Illinois, and Camp Sherman, Ohio.

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From time to time, I have other perspectives contribute to ‘Nicole’s Notes’. Below you will find the thoughts of Malcolm Glover, the newest member of the ARVets Team.

By: Malcolm Glover

In a recent assessment of young veterans, analysts with the Department of Veterans Affairs reported over 48,000 men and women, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are now battling homelessness.

The trend of increased poverty among some young veterans has intensified in certain communities, due to the nationwide economic downturn, low-wage jobs, a lack of adequate workforce training, and a shortage of affordable housing.

According to the VA, nearly 50,000 veterans in this generation who have fallen on hard times are almost triple the number of vets who found themselves in the same predicament back in 2011.

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Sometimes in a storm the most beautiful vision appears, some call it clarity. In these blogs of 2014 I will share the good, the bad, and the ugly from my perspective.

It’s true that people connect strongest with not just the story or the picture but they connect with the person. To know the life, feel the pain, and understand the joy of the journey is to be vested. I want you to be vested in my life as a CEO, as a mother, as a wife and most relevant and important as a Veteran.

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