Additional Resources

Veterans, Gold Star Families Get Free Entrance to National Parks, Refuges, Other Public Lands

Event Date: November 11, 2020 - December 31, 2025

Veterans and Gold Star Families will be granted free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior starting on Veterans Day this year and every day onward. “With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting Veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veterans Day and every single day thereafter,” said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. Entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for Veterans and Gold Star Families. They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle, from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and climbing. Many Department managed lands have direct connections to the American military, such as frontier forts, Cold War sites, battlefields, national cemeteries, and memorials. These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their courage and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation, from Minuteman National Historic Park where colonists stood in defense of their rights, to Yellowstone National Park, which was protected from vandalism and poaching by the 1st U.S. Cavalry before the National Park Service was established, to Mount Rushmore where modern warriors attend reenlistment ceremonies. Details on program For purposes of this program, a Veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification: Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces. The Interagency America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program already includes a free annual pass for active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents. Other free or discounted passes are available for persons with permanent disabilities, fourth grade students, volunteers, and senior citizens age 62 years or older. The Department also offers free entrance days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act.  

Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress

Event Date: June 16, 2022 - December 31, 2030

Harvard Business Review Personal Productivity Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress by Emma Seppala, Christina Bradley, and Michael R. Goldstein September 29, 2020 Illustration by Giulia Neri When U.S. Marine Corp Officer Jake D.'s vehicle drove over an explosive device in Afghanistan, he looked down to see his legs almost completely severed below the knee. At that moment, he remembered a breathing exercise he had learned in a book for young officers. Thanks to that exercise, he was able to stay calm enough to check on his men, give orders to call for help, tourniquet his own legs, and remember to prop them up before falling unconscious. Later, he was told that had he not done so, he would have bled to death. If a simple breathing exercise could help Jake under such extreme duress, similar techniques can certainly help the rest of us with our more common workplace stresses. The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and battles for social justice have only exacerbated the anxiety that many of us feel every day, and studies show that this stress is interfering with our ability to do our best work. But with the right breathing exercises, you can learn to handle your stress and manage negative emotions. In two recently published studies, we explored several different techniques and found that a breathing exercise was most effective for both immediate and long-term stress reduction. In the first study run by our research team at Yale, we evaluated the impact of three wellbeing interventions: • Breathing Exercises: in our experiments, we measured the impact of a particular program, SKY Breath Meditation, which is a comprehensive series of breathing and meditation exercises learned over several days that is designed to induce calm and resilience. • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: a meditation technique in which you train yourself to be aware of each moment in a non-judgmental way. • Foundations of Emotional Intelligence: a program that teaches techniques to improve emotional awareness and regulation. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three programs or to a control group (no intervention). We found that the participants who practiced SKY Breath Meditation experienced the greatest mental health, social connectedness, positive emotions, stress levels, depression, and mindfulness benefits. In a second study, conducted at the University of Arizona, SKY Breath Meditation was compared to a workshop that taught more conventional, cognitive strategies for stress-management (in other words, how to change your thoughts about stress). Both workshops were rated similarly by participants and they both produced significant increases in social connectedness. However, SKY Breathing was more beneficial in terms of immediate impact on stress, mood, and conscientiousness, and these effects were even stronger when measured three months later. Before and after the workshops, participants underwent a stress task that simulated a high-pressure performance situation, akin to presenting at a business meeting. In anticipation of the stressful performance, the group that had completed the cognitive workshop showed elevated breathing and heart rates, as expected. In contrast, the SKY Breathing group held steady in terms of breathing and heart rate, suggesting the program had instilled in them a buffer against the anxiety typically associated with anticipating a stressful situation. This meant that they were not only in a more positive emotional state, but also that they were more able to think clearly and effectively perform the task at hand. Similarly, in a study with veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who struggled with trauma, we found that not only did SKY Breath Meditation normalize their anxiety levels after just one week, but they also continued to experience the mental health benefits a full year later. So what makes breathing so effective? It's very difficult to talk your way out of strong emotions like stress, anxiety, or anger. Just think about how ineffective it is when a colleague tells you to "calm down" in a moment of extreme stress. When we are in a highly stressed state, our prefrontal cortex - the part of our brain responsible for rational thinking - is impaired, so logic seldom helps to regain control. This can make it hard to think straight or be emotionally intelligent with your team. But with breathing techniques, it is possible to gain some mastery over your mind. Research shows that different emotions are associated with different forms of breathing, and so changing how we breathe can change how we feel. For example, when you feel joy, your breathing will be regular, deep and slow. If you feel anxious or angry, your breathing will be irregular, short, fast, and shallow. When you follow breathing patterns associated with different emotions, you'll actually begin to feel those corresponding emotions. How does this work? Changing the rhythm of your breath can signal relaxation, slowing your heart rate and stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the abdomen, and is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's "rest and digest" activities (in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates many of our "fight or flight" responses). Triggering your parasympathetic nervous system helps you start to calm down. You feel better. And your ability to think rationally returns. To get an idea of how breathing can calm you down, try changing the ratio of your inhale to exhale. This approach is one of several common practices that use breathing to reduce stress. When you inhale, your heart rate speeds up. When you exhale, it slows down. Breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of eight for just a few minutes can start to calm your nervous system. Remember: when you feel agitated, lengthen your exhales. While a short breathing exercise like this can be effective in the moment, a comprehensive daily breathing protocol such as the SKY Breath Meditation technique will train your nervous system for resilience over the long run. These simple techniques can help you sustain greater wellbeing and lower your stress levels - at work and beyond. Emma Seppala, PhD, is a faculty member at the Yale School of Management, faculty director of the Yale School of Management's Women's Leadership Program and author of The Happiness Track. She is also science director of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Follow her work at, on Instagram or Twitter. Christina Bradley is a doctoral student in the Management & Organizations department at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Her research focuses on how to talk about emotions at work. Michael R. Goldstein, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and his research examines the physiological mechanisms of mind-body interventions for insomnia.

Vet Tix provides free event tickets to Veterans of all eras

Event Date: June 16, 2022 - December 31, 2025

Attending live events, such as concerts, sports, performing arts and family themed events is how many of us relax with entertainment. These experiences are especially significant to Veterans and those who serve our country in uniform. Quite often, our Veterans and service members have missed out on various life events, such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays with family and friends. Those are experiences that we can’t get back, however we quite often commit to making up for it when we’re back with our loved ones. Vet Tix is open to Veterans of all eras Vet Tix is a national nonprofit organization that provides free event tickets to give something to those who gave. Vet Tix supports Veterans and service members by honoring their service and providing positive family and life experiences during and after their years of service to our country, delivering experiences to last a lifetime.  Becoming a member is free; to join, one just has to be a Veteran (all eras), a member of the military, or the immediate family member of a service member who was killed in the line of duty. The cost of attending live entertainment events can range anywhere from over $200- $500 for a family or four, making these All-American events far too expensive for many of the families to attend. Vet Tix receives donated tickets from professional and collegiate sports teams, concert and performing arts venues, artists/performers, private donors who aren’t going to use their tickets, entertainment promoters from motor sports, rodeos, festivals and more. It receives tickets to many major concert tours, performing arts such as Hamilton, and even major sporting events such as the NFL Super Bowl. Giving something to those who gave Created in 2008 by U.S. Navy Veteran Michael Focareto III, Vet Tix has distributed over 12 million tickets to over 140,000 events throughout the United States. “Vet Tix is able to continue to achieve our mission of ‘giving something to those who gave,’ due of the generosity of or amazing donors. We’re grateful for their continued support,” Focareto said. The ticket to the rest of your life Vet Tix has received over 769,000 testimonials from its members, referred to as VetTixers who share their experiences by thanking the over 30,000 donors for creating lifelong memories.  Quite often, they’ve shared their stories of success in addressing personal challenges through attending events provided by Vet Tix. “People don’t realize that this is truly more than a ticket to an event, it’s a ticket to the rest of our life,” said Adrienne, a U.S. Army Veteran. Join Vet Tix today Thousands of Veterans who are registered with VA are enjoying the experiences and opportunities Vet Tix provides. To become a VetTixer, create an account for free at Once your status is verified through Vet Tix and VA’s verification portal,, you, too, can experience events through Vet Tix with friends and family. Tickets are free, however there is a nominal delivery fee. If you’re a caregiver of a Veteran, have them sign up; many VetTixers bring their caregivers to events through Vet Tix as a way to thank them for what they do.    

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit

Event Date: July 25, 2022 - August 1, 2023

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit Attorneys

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina is the site of one of the worst water contamination cases in United States history. During the years of 1957–1987 chemicals, degreasers, buried oli tanks, solvents, industrial waste water and toxic chemicals were knowingly dumped in the local storm drains. Residents in the surrounding areas and military living on base were exposed to multiple life threatening injuries. O’Connor and Partners PLLC is currently investigating Camp Lejeune induced injury cases. If you or anyone you know lived in or around Camp Lejeune for only 30 days during 1957-1987 and have developed illness through ingesting or bathing in toxic water, please contact us immediately, you have limited time to file a claim.

What injuries are associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) lists several diseases presumptively caused by Camp Lejeune water contamination. A “presumptive” service connection means that the VA presumes that the veteran’s military service caused the disease. For veterans, reservists, and guardsmen, the VA lists the following diseases as being presumptively caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune:
  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
However, other diseases veterans and their family members suffer are also related to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination. The VA lists the following as potentially compensable diseases:
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms please contact us immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to speak with one of our attorneys 24 hours a day at (845) 303-8777, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your physical, emotional and financial losses.

Who is Covered? Camp Lejeune Legislation

According to the on June 23, 2022 in a 256-174 vote, with 222 Democrats and 34 Republicans in favor.The Camp Lejeune Justice Act would allow those exposed — even in-utero — to water contamination at the base for at least 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, to file a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Northern Carolina. To do so, the bill would essentially override a North Carolina legal hurdle that has otherwise made such suits impossible.”Anybody who served in the United States Marine Corps, and went for combat training, probably went to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina,” Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), the Camp Lejeune bill’s sponsor, told The Hill on Wednesday. “So this is not just a North Carolina issue; it’s a national issue.” “Thirty-four years of people were exposed to toxins in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune,” Cartwright added. Exposures to contaminants — such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride and others — at Camp Lejeune likely increased the risk of certain cancers, adverse birth outcomes and other health impacts from the 1950s through February 1985, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

How Can a Water Poisoning Lawsuit Attorney Help?

You may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit if you or your loved one was exposed to contaminated drinking water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1952 and December 31, 1987, suffered cancer or other health issues related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune. If you lost a loved one meets the above criteria you may be able to pursue compensation for end-of-life expenses, such as funeral and burial costs, and other financial and emotional burdens that result from your injuries.

You Have a Limited Time to Pursue a Claim. Call Our Team Of Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Lawyers Today.

Contact O’Connor & Partners, PLLC today online or at (845) 303-8777 for a FREE CASE REVIEW. There is no cost or obligation to speak with an attorney and your case will be handled on a contingency basis, meaning you owe nothing unless a successful outcome is achieved in your case.