PHX Rally

As most of you know CVA had a Rally for the mark of the one year anniversary of the PHX VA scandal. I was given the honor of giving the invocation and leading the pledge of allegiance. This was an honor because of my spiritual background, but also the fact that I was important enough for the local CVA to actually ask me to do it. It was an amazing experience for me. One, I am not the best public speaker and I was told I did an amazing job. So kudos to everyone that prayed for me.

As I sat behind stage I watched the CEO and local director watching other speakers on the stage. We had the Governor Doug Doucey which was great to see such a high profile figure supporting the VA and Veterans. His vow to make Arizona the most Veteran friendly state is a great statement and is a very bold promise to these veterans who many have lost hope in this system. But as I stood among my peers I realized where I was. I was in the place I never thought I would be. As a poor kid from WV to working with a high profile organization like the CVA I have finally bridged the gap that had always been there. Here I was sitting with Officers that I served with in the same military…Officers who have rose up and became advocates for Veterans and now run an amazing organization.

I want to thank all of the support that I have received from my brothers and family. Without them the things I do are not possible and compassion I have would not be seen. All volunteers or anyone that gives of themselves should live by this Passage.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

– Isaiah 6:8

A Few Stories

Today at my long awaiting appointment at the VA I had the pleasure of meeting a few older Veterans in the Pharmacy. As we all stood around waiting for our number to be called it occurred to me that past, present and future soldiers will endure the same fate that all of us Veterans are experiencing today.

As I was waiting for 2 hours to pick up my new medication I had the pleasure of speaking with a Vietnam Vet name Robert. He was explaining to me how he had been waiting for over 6 months for an appointment and that he eventually had to go and see a civilian doctor who was able to adjust his medication and change his medication stating that he was on the wrong medication. He was at the VA trying to have these prescriptions filled because he is on a fixed income and even being 100% service connected he couldn’t afford the $200 for the prescription. So he spoke to the pharmacy tech and they explained to him that the only way they would fill them is if his doctor referred him to his civilian doctor. He explained to them that he would have to be able to see his VA doctor first. In short they said it was out of their hands and because he couldn’t wait for his appointment they couldn’t fill his prescription. So now there’s a Veteran without the appropriate medication and the after affects could be devastating.

Still waiting for my number to be called I spoke with Mark. Mark was a Marine during the Vietnam War and has had multiple surgeries and until this year has never really had any issues with the PHX VA. For the past 6 years Mark’s medication had been automatically refilled an sent to his home. But for some reason this month they didn’t arrive. When he came in the VA said that they can’t automatically send medication that you have to go online each month and electronically submit a refill. Mark is in a mobile chair and seldom leaves the home so to have to come to the VA was very hard for him today. Mark has been taking the same medication for 6 years and will be on the same medication for the rest of his life, so why not save the Veterans time and reduce wait times by automatically sending prescriptions that will not change.

The last man I spoke with was in front of me trying to receive his medication that for the past 2 months hasn’t arrived by mail and he has spoken with the post office and they can’t account for any package coming through the mail. So he asked if he could pick up his prescription and they told him that the only way he could pick up his prescription was if it was a new prescription, that all prescriptions have to be sent through the mail. So again, another Veteran without his medication waiting for his medication in the mail that hasn’t arrived in 2 months.

I tell these stories to give those that read this an insight to the VA. I spoke with each of these Veterans and tried to sympathize with them and let them know they aren’t alone. I think with the older Veterans that is the case, they don’t think they have a voice and that they are alone in the fight. I let them each know they are not alone and that hopefully soon someone will be their voice and that they will be heard. I breaks my heart and saddens me that these men and women sacrificed so much to serve their country and they are having to deal with poor health care.

Our Veterans in my eyes have built the backbone of this country and will continue to move this country forward. We just need to let their voice be heard and provide them the best care we can and be there for them through it all. We all must be advocates for Veterans. They are the reason we are still a free country and why we are the greatest country on earth. Without Veterans, we wouldn’t have an America.

So I have to talk about it

So on Thursday our mighty emperor will be visiting the great city of Phoenix. He will be here to address Central High School. The talk of the town is why he won’t visit the Phoenix VA. Since the VA is only a mile from the school. Currently it is not on his agenda and the media outlets our beginning to blast him for it. I saw this morning that several media outlets are calling him “pontus” or “king.” I guess he’d rather be golfing then take time to visit the Phoenix VA. Though many say they would like for him to visit I on the other hand say stay away. Everything this president touches gets ruined and he still hasn’t recovered from the black eye the VA has left on him. I as a Veteran don’t want nothing to do with him and would ask for him to stay out of Veteran and American business, only Americans have that right.

The president won’t address the VA or visit because he knows his administration has failed a large part of the American community. No Veteran out there is happy with the way they have been treated by this administration and the VA. As I have said before, instead of feeling like outcasts in public like those that came home from Vietnam, we are laid to waste away in the VA and made outcasts from within the system. We as soldiers did our duty and did it well, why can’t this administration do its duty and do it well?

Oh, that’s right, only those that have sacrificed would understand duty, country and the way of life. I still think that the constitution should be amended to say that you must serve in the military a minimum of 3 years to become president. How can a civilian with no experience serve this country if they themselves haven’t served this country. If you look back on history many of the greatest presidents of our time served or bared the burden of war. To completely understand Veterans you have to be one. You have to undergo what Veterans go through. Some are lucky to have served and never been affected by war and incur injuries. But there are so many that have been affected.

Will the VA ever change? The sad truth is this has been going on for years. The VA is broken and I can only hope that it is fixed or gets better in my life time. We have a long road ahead of us. We need a president that comes to action on our Veterans, we need a congress that is willing to put the time in and make the difficult changes and instead of working 9 to 5, spend that extra time to make a difference, we need to remove those that are at fault and put those in place that are willing to work hard to make a difference, we need to show Veterans that they are important and that they aren’t just something America uses to get through a war and toss to the side like ammo.

I challenge Obama to come to the PHX VA. If anything some will be happy you stopped by, most will turn a cheek and look the other way. President Obama, you are a coward and will not show your face here in the PHX VA. You know that the media spotlight on this VA again will raise questions again and since you have made it very clear that you don’t care about Veterans I suggest you stay away, but again, a coward that hides behind his administration and doesn’t act like a commander in chief. You promised to bring change, but what you you brought was a dictatorship that we won’t tolerate in this country.