Veterans

Eileen Pace

AUSTIN — They signed up to fight for their country, and the state of Texas promised to pay for their education.

For decades, veterans went to public universities and colleges under the Hazlewood Exemption, which kicks in after federal benefits under the G.I. Bill are exhausted. But the price tag has increased sevenfold since 2009, when legislators in Texas — which has the country’s second-highest veteran population, 1.7 million — allowed the benefit to be passed on to veterans’ children under a legacy provision.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Lucy Coffey, the nation's oldest female military veteran, has died at the age of 108. She died Thursday in her sleep at her home in San Antonio, Texas. Her friend, Queta Marquez, a veterans' service officer, says Coffey had been sick for about a week and had a chronic cough, according to CBS.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

TEMPLE — The family of a Central Texas veteran who committed suicide is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming a VA hospital should have involuntarily held him for treatment.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that a March 12 lawsuit alleges Kevin Lee Hartbarger committed suicide in 2012 hours after seeking help at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple.

The complaint alleges staffers at the hospital failed to “timely diagnose suicidal behavior and obtain involuntary hold to allow for treatment” through a court order.

Chris James / http://bit.ly/1CsnVMa / cc

On Friday, the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Gilberto Sanchez were lowered into his native Texas soil more than 64 years after the 19 year-old combat medic disappeared in the middle of the Korean War. Sanchez was just one of an estimated 83,000 G.I.s whose remains were lost on the many battlefields of U.S. history.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the first of a three-part series about veteran benefits (Part 2 / Part 3).

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