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  • The VVA Veteran:
    mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2008 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec VETERANS INCARCERATED COMITTEE REPORT Exciting And Productive BY TP HUBERT CHAIR The 14th VVA National Convention in Louisville was exciting and productive for everyone involved with incarcerated veterans The VIC Resolutions Committee meeting was full with more than thirty attending Quite a few like myself were delegates representing incarcerated chapters The discussion of VIN Resolutions clearly confirmed VVA s continued support for veterans confined in our jails and prisons VIN 1 95 was unanimously endorsed and remains viable for our national membership VIN 2 95 remains viable but needs slight revision at the next Convention Those in attendance adopted the modification suggested by former VIC chair John Koprowski VIN 3 01 stimulated much discussion and many letters from incarcerated veterans dealing with health issues from service connected disabilities were presented VIN 3 01 remains viable for VVA New York delegates Gordie Lane and Peter Bronstad gave an impressive presentation on the Onondaga County Veterans Diversion Program a collaborative effort by Central New York VVA Chapter 103 the Onondaga Court and Sheriff s Office the Syracuse Police and the VA This alternative treatment oriented program is modeled after the Buffalo Veterans Court Lane and Brostad are retired police officers VVA President John Rowan reappointed me as VIC Chair Tom Burke who was elected as an At Large Director will remain the Vice Chair VIC committee members Allen Manuel and Tom Meinhardt were re elected as Regional Directors and Larry Frazee is the new National Treasurer Burke and Frazee attended the Region 8 and 9 Preconvention Meeting in Reno Along with the Nevada State Council they met with incarcerated Chapter 719 at NNCC and visited VVA Chapter 545 at Nevada State Prison Convention week was a great opportunity to meet and interact with advocates and supporters of incarcerated chapters The large turnout for the VIC meeting was unanticipated and greatly appreciated The work of developing and supporting incarcerated veterans programs continues The VIC meeting and the Convention camaraderie permitted the exchange of information and created dialogue among those directly involved with incarcerated veteran programs The Convention reaffirmed VVA s commitment to veterans in prison and veterans encountering the justice system The Louisville Convention provided several opportunities for me to discuss incarcerated and justice challenged veterans issues with some important and influential people I am always amazed by the diversity of experiences and accomplishments of Vietnam veterans Disembarking from my flight upon arrival I was greeted by Mokie Porter who was there to escort Gen Russel Honoré the Keynote speaker for the Opening ceremonies Friday evening Porter and I greeted Jose Ramos and special guest Jon Voight Later on Saturday during the autograph session I spoke briefly with Bill Nelson HBO s CEO about incarcerated veterans Jon Voight autographed a

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/incarcerated.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    WV 4 03 DVA Women Veterans Program Managers G 12 07 Establishment of a New National Cemetery in Southeastern Pennsylvania P 11 07 Support for Chapel of Four Chaplains Recognition Program HC 4 07 VLI The Veterans Quality of Life Initiative HTF 4 07 Homeless Veterans HUD Transitional and Supportive Services Only Funding HTF 5 07 Homeless Veterans HUD VA Supportive Housing Funding Five new Resolutions were adopted by the Convention delegates WV 5 09 Women Veterans Research Resolved that Vietnam Veterans of America asks the Secretary to conduct studies specific to women veterans and that Congress pass legislation to mandate such studies if the Secretary does not act A long term health study of the physical and mental health effects of in country Vietnam service on women veterans to include an evaluation of the prevalence of autoimmune disorders in this population A comprehensive assessment of the barriers to and root causes of disparities in the provision of comprehensive medical and mental health care by the Department of Veterans Affairs for women veterans A comprehensive assessment of the capacity and ability of women veterans health programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs including Compensation and Pension examinations to meet the needs of women veterans WV 6 09 Women Veterans and Veterans Benefits Resolved that Vietnam Veterans of America will continue its advocacy to secure benefits for all eligible veterans VVA asks the Secretary to insure that the leadership in all VA Regional Offices VARO are cognizant of women veterans issues and conduct appropriate outreach activities to women veterans To see the other five items in the resolution go to www vva org HVC 7 09 Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program To Remain at the U S Department of Labor and Be Fully Funded at 50M Resolved that Vietnam Veterans of America opposes the transition of the HVRP Program from the Department of Labor and further that DoL should be held accountable for this program s function oversight and performance Additionally VVA urges full funding to the authorized level for the HVRP Program HVC 8 09 Support for Continued Funding and Oversight of the U S Department of Housing and Urban Development U S Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services Program Resolved that Vietnam Veterans of America strongly supports and urges the continued funding and expansion of the HUD VASH voucher program Further VVA urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a mechanism whereby oversight of the HUD VASH voucher program will be insured so that outcomes and the effectiveness of the program can be monitored HVC 9 09 Department of Housing and Urban Development Shelter Plus Care Housing Programs To Receive Supportive Service Dollars Resolved that Vietnam Veterans of America urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development to restructure the Shelter Plus Care grant and funding process to mirror that of the Supported Housing Program process whereby funding for supportive services is provided through the availability of operational and staffing dollars Five

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/resolution.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    to Laderman are overwhelmingly pro American and anti communist American imperialism aka imperial aggression was Laderman says at the heart of whatever you want to call the shooting war between the United States and Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s His book s thesis is that the guidebooks pamphlets and brochures produced before during and especially after the American war are filled with biased pro American interpretations of the wars in Vietnam Or as Laderman puts it the guidebooks by and large tell the story of the war in ways favorable to American global ambitions Aside from his semantic gyrations the most irritating thing about this book is Laderman s chapter on the 1968 Hue Massacre He says that the common wisdom that the Viet Cong systematically sought out and executed some 2 800 civilians and buried them in mass graves has been vigorously contested and that exactly what happened in 1968 remains uncertain For evidence he sites the work of D Gareth Porter a far left historian who in the mid seventies denied the Cambodian holocaust Laderman says Porter and other scholars agree that the VC killed noncombatants in Hue during Tet 68 but that the most reliable enumerations of those killed range from 300 to 400 to a more precise 710 That flies in the face of the conclusions of an overwhelming majority of scholars journalists and researchers who ve looked into what took place during those 25 days of fighting MAX S STORY Max Cleland s Heart of a Patriot How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam Walter Reed and Karl Rove Simon Schuster 259 pp 26 is a moving sometimes gut wrenching autobiography that looks deeply into Cleland s horrific wounding in Vietnam and his roller coaster government and political career Cleland born and raised in a small Georgia town was wounded by an errant American grenade on April 8 1968 near the end of his tour of duty as a First Cav Captain He lost both legs and an arm and survived only because he was whisked to a field hospital where five surgeons worked on him simultaneously In 1970 after nearly two years at Walter Reed and the Washington D C VA Medical Center Cleland was elected to the George State Senate In 1977 he was appointed Administrator of the Veterans Administration at age 34 by President Jimmy Carter From 1981 he served for twelve years as Georgia s Secretary of State and then in 1998 was elected to the U S Senate Cleland tells his amazing life story straightforwardly and very well in his book written with Ben Raines His reconstruction of his wounding and long slow recovery contains details that are almost unbearable to read And his depiction of the deep depression that he fell into after losing his Senate seat in 2004 is almost equally painful Still this is a story of redemption Cleland is now Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission and has a

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/books.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    m that day Those who took part received information about VA and state veteran benefit programs A good sized group from Plymouth Canton Michigan Chapter 528 took part in the Chapter s recent first Adopt a Road Pick up of the year on May 2 Rich Whipple Judy and Jerry Thomason Aggie and Ron Little Jan and Bob Humphrey Chapter Secretary Ron King Dale Luebke Bill Hays Dennis Bielskis Forrest Manley Bob Hallmark and Gary Boucher and AVVA members Susie Wagner Norma Demerly Mark Grzesiek and Karen Whipple In addition to making an annual donation to the Indiana Veterans Home supporting local food pantries and awarding scholarships Porter County Indiana Chapter 905 this year began honoring the top Junior ROTC students at Portage High School and Michigan City High School with engraved medals Incarcerated Chapter 689 at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola runs the concession stand at the Angola Prison Rodeo which is held one weekend in April and every Sunday in October The Chapter donates ten percent of its net profits to the residents of the Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jackson Louisiana The concession income also helps support the Chapter s Vets Care Program which helps geriatric and terminally ill patients at Angola s Treatment Center part of the prison s award winning hospice program VETS CONNECT Chapter 310 in Washtenaw County Michigan held another Support Our Troops fundraising event on June 9 at Frenchie s restaurant in Ypsilanti to support the Chapter s Care Package program Owner Linda French is a strong supporter of the program her employees donated their tips from the evening s activities to the Chapter The event also included music and a raffle MEMORIALS On Flag Day June 14 New Bedford Massachusetts Chapter 499 conducted ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Fort Taber Park in New Bedford in observance of the 50th anniversary of the first two recorded military deaths of the Vietnam War Army MSG Chester Ovnand and Maj Dale R Buis Angel Almedina Chapter 126 in Manhattan New York was one of the sponsors of the Friends of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial luncheon held in May at the Metropolitan Club in New York City Chapter President Vince McGowan who represents the Chapter on the Friends Board of Directors played a big role in organizing the event Chapter Membership Chair Gabe Stefania recently was appointed to the Friends Board SCHOLARSHIPS Racine Kenosha Wisconsin Chapter 767 presented its annual Stanley Kasprick Scholarship Award in June to Jocelyn Wolf the daughter of Robert and Debbie Wolf The Chapter awards up to two scholarships yearly to area high school seniors who meet the qualifications and who submit an essay after interviewing a Vietnam veteran The 2009 award was presented by Chapter President Dave Niesen and Scholarship Committee Chairman Paul Pankoff Westchester County New York Chapter 49 awarded six 600 memorial scholarships this spring to recent area high school graduates The recipients were Eric Friedman of Somers High School Casey J McGowan

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/membnotes.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    Division medical supply specialist Contact Edward Anderson 523976 Hocking Correctional Facility P O Box 59 Nelsonville OH 45764 Help wanted in verifying stress stressors and hostile incident confirmation Seeking anyone who served with Mobile Advisory Teams MACV Team 28 Tuy Hoa Sept 1968 Feb 1969 Contact Richard Graham 124280 C 47A Holman Unit Box 3700 Atmore AL 36503 Seeking anybody with information or experience with C118 medevac flights between Cam Ranh Bay and Tachikawa AFB Japan 1965 67 Contact W L James 5525 McMurtrey Dr North Little Rock AR 72118 501 758 8040 dor jam gmail com dor jam gmail com Looking for a Dr Damagg unsure of spelling 3rd Med Bn Khe Sanh 1967 Also seeking anyone who remembers a medevac helicopter crash on Christmas Eve on Hill 861 Contact M Doc Piper J 49677 DW 227L P O Box 689 Soledad CA 93960 Searching for anyone who knew William Bill Clayton Fettes who served with 5th Special Forces 1966 68 and 1970 71 His grandson would like to hear from anybody who remembers his Grandpa Bill Contact Elijah Fettes P O Box 175 Kechi KS 67067 Seeking anybody who served with 2nd Plt Delta Co 1st Bn 1st Marines 1st MARDIV Jan Oct 1967 or with 81 mm mortars H S Co 2nd Bn 1st Marines 1st MARDIV Con Thien Dec 1967 Feb 1968 Contact Brian P Barron 1 Wellstone Dr Portland ME 04103 207 774 8264 Working on Dependency and Indemnity Compensation application through VA Looking for anyone who knew my deceased husband James Richard Bowen who served aboard the U S S Weiss APD 135 1961 65 My husband was from Texas and had tattoos on his arms of a panther and a geisha Contact Margaret Bowen P O Box 395 Hutto TX 78634 512 670 7400 Want to find anyone who served with the 278th Signal Co assigned to the 4th Inf Div and worked on the switchboard May 1967 March 1968 especially Allen Tolen or Robert Goodnoe Contact Paul Lauer 4302 Western Dr Apt 8B Corpus Christi TX 78410 361 248 4482 361 461 0873 cell Seeking information about my cousin former 1st Lt Robert Bruce Maddox born Sept 16 1945 KIA Feb 11 1969 Would like to learn more about the circumstances of his death Contact William Maddox 152221 Crossroads Correctional Center 1115 E Pence Rd Cameron MO 64429 8804 Need to confirm injuries I received in RVN while serving with Co B 3rd Amphibian Tractor Bn 1st MARDIV in 1968 Looking for Gabriel Chapa from Texas who served with me Contact Jeffrey Mason 39 Main St Gorham ME 04038 207 839 3309 207 839 2702 fax Searching for Burton former Lt Thomas Keenan Morris Cully Stanley Toblar Richardson Alonzo Lopez Peterson Richard White or anyone else from Co C 1st Bn 6th Inf 198th LIB Americal 23rd Infantry Div Chu Lai Contact Frantt V Whitehill P O Box 2455 Midland MI 48641 989 839 0869 989 430 5098 frantt whitehill att net

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/locator.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec REUNIONS ETC India Co 3 7 1st Marine Div Band of Brothers RVN 1969 70 Nov 8 12 Washington D C Contact Roger Villarreal 281 930 8161 marine 1 att net U S S Renville APA 27 Oct 21 25 Holiday Inn Riverview Charleston S C All crew Marines or anyone connected to the ship from any era is invited Planned activities include area tours banquet and memorial service Contact Lynda Rumple 187 Lakeshore Dr Mooresville NC 28117 704 906 7622 Lyndahd01 aol com 307th Bomb Wing B47 KC 97 Association Lincoln AFB 1954 66 June 14 19 2010 Dayton Ohio Contact Mike Gingrich 937 426 5675 mikegingri cs com or visit www 307thbwassoc org 35th Anniversary Operation Babylift Event April 24 2010 New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center Holmdel The program includes speakers performance of traditional Vietnamese music and a screening of Tammy Nguyen Lee s award winning documentary Operation Babylift The Lost Children of Vietnam with several cast members in attendance Contact Lana Noone lananoone yahoo com or visit www Vietnambabylift org or www njvvmf org Naval Mobile Construction Bn NMCB 22 March 5 7 2010 Gulfport Miss Contact Carlton Biermann 830 895 2189 carlton ktc com C Btry Vietnam 1968 69 March 6 7 or March 13 14 2010 I have accumulated a few contact addresses and am hopeful of contacting all members of C Btry If you have contact information on anyone please share Am happy to hear from anyone with ideas or comments about the reunion Contact Jeff Gray 491 Wildwood Ln Johnson City TX 78636 jeff gray316 yahoo com Last Minute Notice VMA 225 1st MAW Chu Lai 1962 65 Sept 24 27 St

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/reunion.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: REMF Diary of Dying and Bureaucratic Complexity
    transparent letters of inquiry are never responded to Telephoning and email don t result in connecting with anyone who knows or cares what s happening with my claim JANUARY 9 I felt that I d accomplished a lot just getting through the treatment I wasn t up to driving today I have too many different chemicals in my body and too much pain in my back for me to trust my driving skills Perhaps driving is now a thing of the past January 12 Today s big expedition was to the Seattle VA Hospital for an appointment with the Agent Orange Directory doctor Because my body is rigid with fear every bump and every chuckhole the Honda hits causes pain in my lower back and in both legs Dr Peterson asked me a lot of questions He tapped my knees with a little hammer and looked down my throat He listened to me breathe in and out Dr Peterson didn t ask me about duties I had performed such as guard duty shit burning detail or filling sandbags I was surprised he didn t ask but it didn t occur to me to volunteer that information His manner was brusque and matter of fact I have already been diagnosed by Group Health doctors as having multiple myeloma so why am I being talked to as though nothing is known about me and my condition The process seemed full of paranoia and assumptions that I was trying to put something over on the VA Dr Peterson asked me when I went into the Army January 1966 and when I d gotten out of the Army October 1967 That s only 21 months not the full 24 months that make up a two year enlistment His body language indicated that he had a problem with that but he didn t ask me to explain and I didn t volunteer that I d extended my tour of duty in Vietnam by a month and a half so that I d get an early out JANUARY 14 The division of labor in our house has come to an end All of the tasks and chores that were my province have fallen to Michele and my daughter Allie JANUARY 20 At the Tacoma Radiation Oncology Center Dr Wang the radiologist was quite positive that the radiation treatment would relieve the pain in my spine and we would start with ten treatments He emphasized how noninvasive the treatment was and how the side effects would be minimal The nurse prepared the metal table with sheets and pillows but I still had to go from a standing position to a sitting position on the table and then to a position where I was flat on my back but with my knees up I felt like a giant turtle stranded on his back in soft sand It took all of them to get me back on my feet JANUARY 22 Today was the first of the twelve radiation treatments I emailed Roosevelt Ward and asked him about the status of my VA claim I was going to have to expend another 4 000 for my next thalidomide prescription and I wanted to know how to get the VA to pay for it JANUARY 30 More radiation treatment today No back pain but my nausea was pretty extreme The treatment went perfectly and then I picked up new meds including an anti nausea tablet JANUARY 31 I am not very brave when I think of what would happen if I suddenly toppled to the floor My Swiss cheese bones might all crumble up Fear dictates much of my decision making Fear of pain fear of bad results I am a scaredy cat anyhow given to conservative activities I ve never been much of risk taker and am less so now FEBRUARY 1 I continue to battle with constipation not a romantic battle but one that has motivated me to stop taking pain pills since they shut down my system FEBRUARY 2 Dr Norman told me straight out that this chemo and the radiation will kick my butt He put it a bit more elegantly though FEBRUARY 6 It ll be good to not have that trip to Tacoma every day The results so far have been encouraging The first couple of treatments were painful but I promised myself I would stick with them for the long run just to see if good results happened I guess that s my attitude about lots of things I am going through right now including what is turning into a long wait for the VA to adjudicate my disability claim What looked like a slam dunk back in October is far from that I guess that the VA really does have a policy of waiting for the Army to die I d always thought that was just a nasty thing said by bitter old vets FEBRUARY 11 Today s radiation treatment took almost no time I was handed a certificate of completion by the staff and a coffee cup that had the words health healing hope written on the side I know what I drank in Vietnam especially at Long Binh where the water came from a creek polluted with dioxin I bathed daily in that water FEBRUARY 17 We went to the Seattle VA Hospital to get a primary care physician We entered a spacious waiting room filled with old veterans who looked in worse shape than I Many were in wheelchairs and many had canes and walkers We went across the hall to our appointment with Dr Franks She went through the stuff again from the doctor angle and explained that we would get a referral to Oncology As we took our leave of Dr Franks she patted me kindly on the shoulder and said that she wished me well I appreciated that gesture I always like being patted by a lovely young woman FEBRUARY 20 We are eager to please the VA Oncology Department both for the possibility that we might get my chemo paid for but also because we might learn something further about what protocols might help me fight the MM After all the VA must be dealing with many veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and have contracted multiple myeloma February 24 I have no clear idea what the signs are for a person who is dying of MM Am I currently as healthy as I can be given my situation Many of my numbers seem to have improved since I began the protocols but those are numbers mostly related to my kidneys I did wake up this morning glad to have made it through another night We went to the Seattle VA Hospital to keep our appointment with Dr Schubach the head of the Oncology Department He held the door for us shook my hand and asked me to tell him my story He was attentive as he listened to me recount my history with my multiple myeloma He said that patients in their 60s through their 80s have successfully received such treatments He also made the point that the treatments were not so invasive and awful that quality of life became a bad thing He said that apartments nearby were available for us to stay in during the treatments All gratis As is all the medication and treatment Both Michele and I were impressed with Dr Schubach He explained that the VA would pay for my chemo whether or not I was being treated at the VA I immediately felt that the VA was the way to go Dr Schubach has many more resources available to him and us than does Group Health MARCH 3 We went to the lab I looked around at the vets who were waiting their turns and a sadder greyer lot you can t imagine Not a chuckle in the place Most have serious problems with their ambulation We were all sitting in low modern chairs and every veteran struggled to get up when his name was called Some had to be helped by a caregiver usually a grey old wife MARCH 4 I will have to be at the Cancer Care Clinic every day for twenty one days straight MARCH 11 At the Tacoma Radiation and Oncology Center the nurse made a point of telling me how great I looked and praising me for getting my weight back up from the low of 165 pounds that I plummeted to during the radiation treatments Then we had a brief chat with Dr Wang We told him how pleased we were with the Center and the staff The treatment had eliminated the pain in my spine MARCH 20 We called the VA to get information on my disability claim The claim was forwarded to the department that will make the informed decision on January 5 So they ve had the claim for close to three months but nothing has happened When Michele asked how much longer it could take for the informed decision to be made no answer was forthcoming MARCH 26 Dr Schubach said my kidney function had improved further I told him that I was thrilled with the improvement to my quality of life under the new regimen and that I was feeling on Cloud Nine He said that I must have taken the dexes I confessed that the dexes did have that effect on me APRIL 7 At the hospital we frequently got turned around When we seemed lost someone was always helpful in telling us where to head next and when I got trapped with my walker in a bathroom another vet held the door for me so I could escape APRIL 13 Today s mail contained a large envelope from the VA Inside was an announcement that I had been approved for 100 percent disability due to my multiple myeloma being connected to my military service and that I could expect my first check in about fifteen days Michele and I were both stunned The process had taken less than six months I emailed Roosevelt Ward and thanked him I am certain that his involvement in the process was important in attaining this 100 percent and that without his help the process would have dragged on much longer I ve heard stories of years passing without adjudication When I start getting checks we won t have to continue depleting my pension fund at the same rapid rate When the pension fund is gone it s gone forever But the VA disability check will continue as long as I continue to draw breath APRIL 17 I got my first check from the VA Both my name and my address were wrong APRIL 21 We got to the Seattle VA and checked in with Oncology and met with Dr Schubach The main topic was the bone marrow transplant My numbers were good enough for us to go ahead with the transplant Michele asked what would happen to me if I didn t get the transplant or if the process didn t work out for me The answers didn t surprise me I could expect to die sooner I spent a lot of time looking at the other sick old vets I am not convinced that serving in the military is a good thing with respect to longevity and quality of life APRIL29 There was a letter from the VA Both my name and my address were correct in every particular It contained a second notice of a bill for medical care in the amount of 32 I had to chuckle It figures that the VA would get my name and address right on a bill but not on a check MAY 11 I sat in an attorney s office for two hours planning to be dead I think we thought of everything including the obvious things that must be planned if I become a candidate for plug pulling and related issues power of attorney who is an heir and who isn t MAY 16 The creek that ran through our base into the water supply was a dumping ground for any leftover AO that the pilots from Bien Hoa returned with I can easily summon up a mental image of what a witch s brew that little creek became Those of us who drank water and took showers were subjected to the witch s brew in a manner that totally fooled us I didn t drink the water straight but rather mixed with Jell o as a sort of punch Once the chemical cocktail entered our bodies I guess it went to work We didn t have a chance We weren t even guinea pigs We were just an accident Because no harm was intended to us just to the leaves shaking on the trees no blame can be affixed to the corporations They were just trying to help the military win the war against communism MAY 20 The IV room is staffed by kind and excellent professionals overworked by the VA The room should be about ten times larger and should have room for the loved ones of the patients And new chairs for the patients to spend those long hours in MAY 25 I got an email from Roosevelt Ward I give thanks for all of us who are able to spread the words about Memorial Day Then he went on to say I trust you are doing as well as possible Ward ends with God bless and try to watch that biggest health issue I am honored that he took the time to communicate with me on Memorial Day MAY 31 I have convinced myself that if I had made a better choice the choice that most men of my generation and background made to not serve in the military I would be both alive and well But I did not miss the paramount defining event of my generation the Vietnam War I was there for over 13 months and now I am certified and adjudicated by the VA as 100 percent disabled due to my AO connected MM Never again will my tour of duty be discounted or dismissed as being that of a REMF JUNE 16 We were in Seattle today for nine hours and I had lots of tests most involved painfully getting on and off metal tables and contorting myself into pretzel shapes to please the cameras We met with Dr Sternstein a clinical psychologist who will evaluate me for suicidal and homicidal tendencies as well as a bunch of other things She was very helpful in answering our questions JUNE 17 Today s first appointment was in Pulmonary with Bryan I sat inside a special machine with a breathing apparatus attached to my face I did hard breathing panting breath holding and all of it with a pincher on my nose When I left Bryan s room he said You were a great patient Hang in there partner And he patted me on my shoulder We met with a social worker and had an eye examination Afterward walking to the elevator I was even more aware how humble the physical facility is Shabby worn down populated mostly by male patients who seem to have been dredged up from the bottom layer of America JUNE 18 At the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit I was put in a small office to receive an IV attachment to my right arm After my blood was taken out it was mixed with something radioactive and then put back into my system Next we met with Patty the dietician She was interested in my diet history my use of alcohol and tobacco and the usual things that all the other professionals had also asked about She was pleasant to chat with and seemed reasonable and interested She warned that I will probably be nauseated some of time and not feel like eating She said that if I became unable to eat due to afflictions that might strike my mouth and throat mucus something I would be fed through an IV straight into my veins Yipes JUNE 19 We checked in at the BMTU The doctor performed a biopsy It was intense but not painful I was happy when he said it was over JUNE 22 Today I had the Hickman IV port installed Tomorrow they start using the port to dump chemicals into my body I must live in the moment and only be worried one day at a time They handled the installation of the port like major surgery even though it was a minor medical procedure A team of folks I didn t see during the procedure surrounded me and got the port installed I heard talk of a tunnel and a wire And in no time at all the procedure was over and the tent was removed and I was allowed to stand up and move myself from the surgical table back to the gurney JUNE 24 Yesterday I spent six hours in the chair in the IV Room of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit For most of that six hours my Hickman was attached to the IV machine that filled me up with chemo Intermittently I had to be unplugged from the IV machine so I could make the trip down the hall to urinate as one of the ingredients of my chemo agitated my bladder Michele brought me sandwiches I vomited them up later in the day when nausea hit suddenly Do I feel normal Pretty close to my new normal I am very thirsty which is certainly normal I am apprehensive about this day s chemo but somewhat less so if the chemo is less and if it will wear off during the night I hold in my mind this scene of six or seven sick old vets tethered to beat up recliner chairs arranged around the walls of

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  • The VVA Veteran: VVA's Service Officer Program
    a harrowing bone marrow transplant months went by with no word from the VA about the fate of his benefits application He was not alone VA employees today face a mountain of more than one million unprocessed claims by veterans seeking physical and psychological disability compensation There is a backlog VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told the House Veterans Affairs Committee October 14 It is too big and veterans are waiting too long for decisions U S Rep Tim Walz of Minnesota put it more bluntly at a committee hearing last March The VA he said is almost criminally behind in processing claims Fortunately Willson went to see Roosevelt Ward a VVA Service Officer and retired Navy veteran who works out of the VVA office on the tenth floor of the Henry M Jackson Federal Building in Seattle the same building that houses the VA s Seattle regional office Ward is one of 420 VVA accredited Service Officers across the nation who work in VA facilities Vet Centers VA Medical Centers and in VVA State Council or Chapter offices He shares the Seattle office with two other VVA Service Officers Rick Carman and Rosslyn Miller Ward and other VVA Service Officers have successfully completed an intense one week Service Officers Training Course which normally is held once a year at VVA national headquarters Advanced training has been offered at VVA National Leadership Conferences The course is taught by David Houppert Esq VVA s Veterans Benefits Director with help from VVA s Veterans Benefits attorneys other attorneys who practice veterans law and experts in different types of veterans benefits such as Tom Berger the former Chair of VVA s PTSD Substance Abuse Committee At the end of the week they are given a take home exam Houppert said If they pass and get a recommendation from their State Council President and if they are of good moral character they are certified by the VA as VVA Service Officers Almost all of them are ready to step into the job and almost all have a job set up through their State Council or Chapter VVA s Service Officers have one job to help veterans and their eligible family members wade their way through the VA bureaucracy to get the benefits they earned while serving their country in uniform The Service Officers have several huge advantages when it comes to doing that job They are well trained they are experienced in dealing with the complex VA system and they have access to VA information that veteran claimants do not The service is free Roosevelt Ward went to work right away on David Willson s stalled claim by April Willson received notice from the VA that he would be rated at 100 percent Willson firmly believes that Ward was responsible for the good result It s heart and magic and who you know Willson said Roosevelt Ward has special qualities he s a magic guy On a recent weekday the phone rang constantly in the

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1209/officer.html (2016-02-15)
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