Saturday, March 31, 2018

Battle to heal PTSD began with Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veterans Service Did Not End
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 31, 2018

Yesterday, all across the nation, these men and women were honored for their service. How many knew how far that service reached when they said "thank you" to them? How many knew their service did not end when they came home?

To post this yesterday, would not have been as meaningful. The stories are all over the online world this morning, but as you know, they are all over this site on a daily basis.

Our Vietnam veterans managed to do the impossible. They came home hated, but did not give up on each other. They did not give up on any other generation, although the other generations of veterans did not welcome them. They were turned away but would not go away quietly.

What they accomplished needs to be acknowledged as benefiting every citizen. It was their efforts, despite how they were treated, that civilians receive treatment for the inner wounds after surviving traumatic events. It was their efforts that produced a clearer understanding of the men and women who serve as our first responders in law enforcement, fire departments and other emergency responders.

Vietnam veterans came home with the same wounds all other generations came home with, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While it was called many different names, the results were all the same. Wars they thought they were forced to fight alone within the borders of their own minds.

If you think that the stories of being mistreated were fabricated, then listen to MOH Sammy Davis talk about what happened to him. This interview was done at the Orlando Nam Knights, when he came to speak at a fundraiser for young veteran.

Before the ceremony, Sammy and his wife Dixie sat down, told me the story, and I had never heard it before. Still shocked, I was filming when his Medal of Honor Citation was being read. Here what happened to him along with what he did before he was treated as badly as he was.

Yellowstone National Park
A wreath was placed at the Yellowstone National Cemetery during the ceremony to remember those who fought and lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Navy Corpsman, Paul Thomae read a poem that said, "When I came home from Vietnam I wasn't met by a marching band. The crowd at the airport shouted and cried. They told us all that they wished we a died."
Roseburg National Cemetery
Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman thanked the Vietnam veterans for stepping forward and serving in an unpopular war. “When our country called, you did not hesitate to do your duty. Your dedication and sacrifice were ignored and belittled by America. The only welcome home many of you received was given by your immediate family or hostile demonstrators,” Freeman said.

Kansas City
They went where they were sent. That's what numerous U.S. Military veterans from the Vietnam period said during that gathering where retired soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors received a special lapel pin meant to honor them for their service.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood, the guest speaker and a Vietnam veteran himself, said when he came back from the war in 1969 people made veterans embarrassed about what they'd done in service to their country. Youngblood stayed away from veterans events for years, not because he wasn't proud of his service, but because no one else was. He was required to go to those events after being elected sheriff in 2006. They still made him uncomfortable, but gradually he's seen a change in how veterans are perceived.

"If you know a Vietnam veteran, I can't tell you what it means to shake their hand and say thank you," he said.
One of those who copes with not just physical wounds from the war, but also with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is Paul Clark, a Marine and retired Columbus Police Officer who was in attendance with his wife, and his service dog of two years, Alice. The 1961 Watkins Memorial High School graduate served from 1962-67 during the war era. Clark, a three-time Purple Heart recipient, was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry at Tam Ke.
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery
Since then, the cemetery has become the final resting place to more 3,700 men and women, according to cemetery director Don Murphy. And the numbers are growing daily, he said. In fact, the reason the flag was at half-staff was because there had already been one funeral there that morning.
When you look online for events in your area, be sure to read what the veterans had to say. Then think of their grateful attitude so long after they returned. Now maybe you will appreciate them even more.

Disabled Vietnam Veteran shocked to discover he was wanted...again!

Iowa prison escapee on lam for 37 years arrested in Arizona; wife says it's all a mistake
The Republic
Derek Hall
March 30, 2018

Fugitive arrested in Ariz. after 37 years on the lam
Virginia Cagley said her husband was found to be permanently disabled by Veterans Affairs in 2006 as the result of post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been treated by the VA since 2004, she said.
"He had to go to Phoenix and get a letter sent to the (VA) stating that Iowa no longer wanted him and there was no warrant," Virginia Cagley said.

PHOENIX — Is he still wanted — or not?

Days after the arrest of a fugitive who had escaped from a prison work detail in Iowa in 1981, an alternative narrative has emerged.

Charles Leroy Cagley, 68, was arrested by Prescott Valley Police Department detectives this week, soon after the FBI notified the department about Cagley's fugitive status.
read more here

Sgt. Louis Loftus Passed Away

Akron-area Afghanistan War veteran dies at 30
Beacon Journal/
By Brandon Bounds
March 30,2018

“He was an absolute jewel. He did everything for me.”

That’s just a taste of how Lynn Loftus described her grandson, Louis Loftus.

Louis, 30, died Tuesday because of heart complications, according to his grandmother. Despite living a relatively short life, she said, he made a tremendous impact on the world and those around him.

An Afghanistan War veteran, Sgt. Louis did two tours in the U.S. Army and was strongly affected by his experiences there. His was featured on national television several times talking about his service.
Louis served two combat tours in Afghanistan, serving with the 82nd Airborne and the 173rd Airborne. He was honorably discharged in November 2010.

In 2010, he gave an emotional interview with NBC Nightly News about losing a friend in combat.

“I’m kind of numb to it,” Louis said of his friend’s death in the television report. “I don’t really feel much. I pray for his family. I pray for his soul.”

Tears flowed as he began to break down emotionally.

“I try not to think about it. Because when you think about it, then I get like this,” he added, choking on his words.

NBC News documented his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder in a special that aired in 2012 after a reporter followed Louis for two years.
read more here
Sgt. Louis Loftus Point Man breaks down talking about the lives lost.
From 2010
Sgt. Loftus: Dealing with life during and after war
Rock Center
October 04, 2012

Two years ago, Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel met Sgt. Louis Loftus on a battlefield in Afghanistan. Since then, Loftus has allowed NBC News to document his life as a soldier and a citizen. Loftus is one of 100,000 returning veterans that is being treated for PTSD. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

Fort Logan National Cemetery won't acknowledge proper service?

‘Total Dishonor’: Marine Wife and Cemetery At Odds Over Headstone
CBS Denver
Michale Abeyta
March 29, 2018
“It’s a total dishonor of service,” said Kimberly. “Like he doesn’t matter. Like what he did for our country doesn’t matter.”

DENVER (CBS4) – A widow in Denver who went through the pain of losing her husband to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is now going through the pain of something else.

Kimberly Vigil says her husband’s headstone at Fort Logan National Cemetery is wrong.

Cpl. Elias Vigil served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When asked to describe her husband Kimberly said, “Elias was full of life. He was an outdoorsman. He was a family man. He loved serving in the Marines.”

Vigil spent a tour in Kuwait, but like so many who have served, he came home with PTSD.

“He was very silent about it. We talked a little bit when I went with him to therapy, but it was very small sessions,” Kimberly said.

Eventually it was too much. In December of 2017, Vigil died by suicide and left behind Kimberly and four children.

“It was a nightmare,” she said.
read more here

Friday, March 30, 2018

Air Force veteran died saving kids from drowning

Veteran dies trying to save 2 kids from drowning at Florida beach
Military Times
By: Kyle Rempfer
3 hours ago
"Robidoux was deemed critically injured, and he was airlifted to a local hospital, where he later died. "He died as he lived — a hero," Robidoux's cousin, Annette, told Fox News. She added that he was “a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.”"

An Air Force veteran and pilot died after attempting to save two kids from drowning at a beach along the Florida Panhandle on Saturday.

Michael Robidoux saw two kids struggling in rough surf at Navarre Beach and jumped in to try and save them, Fox News reported. The current proved too strong, though.

Navarre Fire Chief Danny Fureigh said Robidoux got "caught in an undertow" as he swam out to the struggling kids, according to WEAR TV. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office said the incident happened just after 6 p.m, the local ABC affiliate reported.
read more here

How many times are we going to sit back and let this happen?

Are we really going to accept this betrayal?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 30, 2018

Ok, I need to clear the air after the post from yesterday calling what President Trump did an evil act. That is exactly what is. 

Why is sending veterans into the private health system bad? If you are a citizen, you know what we have to deal with on a daily basis. If you are healthy, you have no problems, but if you need to see a doctor, you know it is never really fun.

Just to clarify, I have a lot of problems with my back. I work a full time job, plus do 45 hours of volunteer work a week. I am busy, with no time to really take care of myself. 

Anyway, two years ago I started falling down a lot more often. I had pain running down my leg. I knew something was wrong. I called my Doctor and waited for an appointment.

I would have had to wait longer but I am an established patient, so they got me in as soon as they could. It was about 4 days later, I was in the exam room and he was pretty sure I was dealing with nerve problems. He wanted me to get an MRI.

I had to wait for that appointment, still in pain because he didn't know what he was dealing with. Then a couple more weeks, I had the MRI. 

He wanted me to see an Orthopedic surgeon. I had to wait for that appointment, still in pain. Two weeks later, I got an phone call saying they were sorry but they didn't take my insurance. Two more weeks and I ended up with an appointment with an office that accepted my insurance, and yep, you guessed it, another week before I got to see them.

That doctor took an Xray, then looked at the MRI. Turns out that my back was a mess. A vertebrate moved, crushed discs, nerves and top that off with arthritis and fluid build up.

Still in pain, we talked about an operation but we decided to do pain management instead.

Yes, you guessed it. No pain meds, still in pain, then waited for an appointment. Once again, they didn't take my insurance, so we had to find another office. Needless to say, that took another three weeks.

Finally got an appointment, they set up getting shots into my spine and I finally got some pain meds.

Shots over and feeling better. Went for the followup and told him the pain was ok to deal with. That lasted 6 weeks. It came back worse. I called to have more shots done, but that Doctor left the practice. They didn't have anyone to replace him. I was also running out of pain meds.

Phone call after phone call, finally I went to the office and told them I was not going to leave until they found me another office to go to.

I ended up with someone who did not have the right authorization to do the shots. 

I went back to my primary care doctor. He referred me to another office and refilled my meds.

Waited longer again, then went for the consultation. Waited for the shots and they stared working.

All in all, that took about a year and a half to get semi out of pain.

In that time, my husband, who goes to the VA had several appointments for all kinds of things. They are pretty quick on getting him in, or if they can't, they refer him out. That doesn't happen often at all.

He is also an established patient at the VA. He doesn't have to worry about his insurance being turned down, or having a doctor leave without someone filling their place. He doesn't have to go from one part of Florida to the other and praying someone helps him.

Why the hell would anyone think it was a good idea to send veterans into our hell after they paid for their coverage the day they became a member of the military and were disabled for their service? Why the hell would anyone forget that? Reject the fact that these veterans were promised this care? Who the hell would have such disrespect for that service they even consider treating them like the rest of us?

The fact President Trump has been complaining about our healthcare system for decades should be a clue that he knows what he is sending our veterans into. Does he even care?

Ok, now, lets talk about the VA and the backlog of claims.
As of 2016, the VA "enrollees" were 8.97 million out of 21,681,000. 

On claims, you can check out the back log here 

January 2009 390,000 pending with 86,084 over 180 days. The C and P Claims were 624,755 and over 180 days were 129,872. 

What is C and P? Compensation and Pension exams. That is to figure out of what the illness or injury is, are tied to military service, at what rate or if it falls under pensions. Without that rating, the veteran is waiting for money and usually, treatment.

By July it was 416,085 and 82,122 over 180 days. C and P 737,575 and 147,311 over 180 days.

January of 2014, pending claims were 685,686, over 125 days it was 405,938.

As of December 2017 308,621 and 72,440 over 125 days, and I bet by know you have a better idea of what they all have in common. Veterans waiting for Congress to actually do their jobs and fix the VA so veterans won't have to go to a private practice and be treated like they did not deserve the best care this country could give them!

We've listened to all the bullshit all the time but it is about to get even worse now that there is yet another election year coming up and all the members of the House of Representatives will talk about how bad it is for our veterans and how much they plan on fixing it. After all, they all say it but none of them have managed to ever explain WHY THE HELL THEY HAVE TREATED YOU LIKE YOU NO LONGER MATTER AT ALL!

So, yes, dear reader, what POTUS just did is evil. It is also evil while he talks about sending you into this mess, he is also saying that older veterans and families, like mine, have the  "permanent and total" reduced down to when the President thinks we deserve it! Good luck on all the money you'll lose after not paying into Social Security because you were disabled by service and could not work! Hope your kids and grandkids have extra room when you can't pay your rent, or mortgage, or any care that will no longer be available from the VA they took care of when you were 100%.

How many times are we going to sit back and let this happen?

How many time will we allow any politician talk about and plan for destroying our lives?

They used to be ashamed to admit this was their goal all along. Now POTUS is actually proud to say it? WTF!

Someone needs to tell him and every member of Congress, veterans are not taking it anymore!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

POTUS committed an evil act pretending to care about disabled veterans!

Vietnam Veterans Woke Up To Attack
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 29, 2018
The "duty and honor" words have just turned into words for millions of our disabled veterans and families. They did their part, lived up to the oath to "protect and serve" this country. Yet the obligation this nation owes them has just been torn apart by the whims of the Commander-in-Chief.

What am I talking about? Treating veterans as if the promises made to them can be broken as easily as cowards breakup on Facebook or Twitter.

Right now, on Vietnam Veterans Day, as President Trump gloats for signing the Bill into law last year, he has chosen to begin the biggest assault against them.

Apparently he has decided our veterans should be treated just like all other citizens having to deal with private health care. 

"President Trump suggested Thursday that he fired David Shulkin as his secretary of Veterans Affairs because Shulkin wasn’t adequately aligned with his desire to quickly give veterans more options to get VA-funded care in the private sector."

“We made changes because we want them taken care of, we want them to have choice so that they can run to a private doctor and take care of it, and it’s going to get done,” Trump said during a speech in Ohio. “It’s going to get done. We’ll always protect the people that have protected us. We have to.”
That obligation this nation promised them has just been broken! Sending them into the mess the rest of us deal with is evil! They prepaid for their care the day they ended up with wounds they will carry the rest of their lives.

He also decided that older veterans should no longer be guaranteed the benefits they were told would be "permanent and total" should be cut because they are too old to work.

Any clue what these two things are doing to them? Any clue what kind of unjustified assault this is for them?

If we allow this to happen, then every generation should be terrified of what else they will take away after you put your lives on the line serving this country!

Congress has allowed all this to happen to you because far too many of them agree that you are no longer worth treating like you did something worthwhile by making sure this nation remained free!

Congress has had the jurisdiction over how all of you are treated since 1946. We all need to be asking why it is the VA has gone from one crisis situation to another while veterans suffered, waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.

In order to destroy the VA, they allowed all the suffering to continue and they got away with it because too many were pretending they cared about those who dared to risk their lives. 

If you think this is political, you're right because all politician have been dismissing the IOU we owe veterans!
Time to honor the IOU
Chaplain Kathie
March 23, 2009

There are wounds you can see with your eyes.

Then there are wounds you can see part way with your eyes.

His hair will grow back in and cover the scar of his head wound, but you will not see what has happened to his life after.

But there are also wounds that cut so deeply you never manage to see what is right in front of your eyes.

You need to see these wounds, these hidden casualties of war, with your heart.

Sometimes they grieve and the pain fades while memories linger. For far too many the pain feeds on the sensitive soul within the heart of the warrior.

They come home, try to return to friends and family but they are not the same. They want to excuse it as everyone else has changed instead of them until they finally stop denying the nightmares and flashbacks have managed to change the way they think and react to others.

Paranoia takes over and trust erodes. They cannot trust what friends tell them or even what their spouse tells them anymore. They cannot trust strangers. When it's the government they cannot trust, it hits them like a knife in the back.

Imagine if you served your country, followed orders, did what you would not do of your own accord for the sake of others, risked your life and ended up finding that the war came home with you, but the government decided to ignore all of it. They ignore what they promised you to take care of your wounds and provide for your family when you were not able to. This would cause a deeper wound within you as well as resentment. It would eat you away. It would make any shred of hope within you evaporate. You would find it unnecessary to wake up in the morning because everyday would be one more never ending nightmare.

For too many, PTSD has been allowed to fester like gangrene on their soul. Every relationship they had begins to fall apart. They are blamed for all the turmoil in the family and financial difficulty. They are blamed for drinking too much or turning to drugs to kill off feelings they can no longer bear on their own. They are then abandoned by family and friends they used to have before the wound of PTSD took control over their lives.

Abandoned by the government they thought they could trust, by family they thought would love them no matter what, friends they thought they could trust, what's left? Faith? Faith in what or whom? Faith in God? Could you hold onto faith in God when everyone has turned their back on you? Could you hold onto faith when you believe that you've been judged and are being punished for what you had to do? Wouldn't you wonder where God is when everything is happening to you and inside of you without anything or anyone coming to help you? Pretty impossible when you think of all that is involved in claims denied or trapped in a backlog with hundreds of thousands of others reduced from human to a number.

When claims are denied while the veteran carries the wound inside of them, it entraps every part of the veteran's life. There is nothing that is not being consumed by PTSD. This is a battle against evil for the sake of the good but the good end up being disarmed by everything that comes with PTSD.

First came denial. They were told they could train their brains to deal with the traumas they would face in combat. They were told that only the weak would fall prey to the wound of the mind. They were told this by people without a clue that it is not really a wound to the mind and that the mind cannot be trained to do something it was never intended to do. PTSD is a wound to the soul. It is a wound that strikes the sensitive and sets off changes in how the mind functions protecting itself from further harm. If they are changed by trauma it has to be their fault. Unable to think of themselves as weak, they believe they can get over it if they try hard enough. After all, they know they are not weak and they know they are not a coward. They know they are just as strong as everyone else they served with. They'll just have to get over it, bury it inside of themselves and never allow anyone to see their wound. There can't be anything "wrong" with them.

Then comes anger. They can't get over it. They can't stop the flashbacks and nightmares. They can't calm their nerves. They are quick to react with anger because that is a sign of "toughness" masking the pain inside. They get angry with themselves because they cannot move on the way everyone else they know did. They take out what they see as their own weakness on everyone around them. They push friends away and disconnect from family as walls are being built brick by brick around their soul.

When someone finally gets to them to help them heal, when they finally understand PTSD is not a sign of weakness and it is not their fault, they must find the courage to seek help. They need to talk to strangers about what is in their hidden world of pain. The walls begin to come down because relief restores hope of healing but soon they discover the same government they risked their life for is denying ownership of everything that is happening to them. Claims are denied. They are chastised for being weak by commanders. They are punished for drinking or doing drugs to relieve the pain. They are discharged with the wound disregarded. They are told they will no longer have their base housing. They are told they will no longer have their basic needs taken care of. They are told they are no longer worthy of any of it and they are told their service to the nation is no longer needed. They have lost everything they had including themselves.

When PTSD is disregarded until they become a combat veteran civilian, they arrive at a point where they are able to seek help from the VA. They know they can no longer function on a job because of the gangrene of their soul, nightmares robbing them of rest and flashbacks draining them of strength. They turn to the VA to be treated so they can heal and financially compensated for when they cannot work but end up being told whatever is happening to them is not the fault of the government. They find their claims denied and any responsibility the VA doctors tell them belongs to the government is ignored by the government.

This is what we face when we finally get to them. This is what we face when we finally get them to the point where they understand PTSD is a normal reaction to the abnormal world of combat. How can we offer them any hope of healing when it is being denied and their lives are still falling apart? How can we tell them the devastation of their lives goes on with these denied claims but they need the government to treat them?

I can come up with videos to get them to understand PTSD is a wound. I can email back and forth with them and their families until my fingers are ready to fall off but all the education I can offer, all the hope I can demonstrate from coming thru the darkness in my own family, will do them virtually little good when the help they need is being denied to them.

I cannot replace hope when it is being denied by someone else. I cannot tell them to trust the VA or the DOD to take care of them when they are telling them "no" all the time. All the hope that is there for them is impossible for them to get to when doors are shut and they are told the responsibility for their state of life belongs to someone else.

It's time we paid the IOU we gave them the day they were sent to serve. It's time the DOD stopped telling them they can train their brain to be tough enough to take it when it is their soul that is attacked by the horrors of combat. Stop doing the same research that was done 30 years ago. Stop asking the same people the same questions settling for the same answers they heard 30 years ago.

We still owe Vietnam veterans the truth. We still owe them the knowledge they were denied over 30 years ago and compensate them for the wounds they brought home with them. It’s too late to save most of their families from falling apart but it’s not too late to restore relationships they had. In many cases it’s too late to save the homes they lost because they couldn’t earn income to cover their mortgages as PTSD claimed more parts of their lives but we can provide them with the compensation to secure their futures. In doing so, we will honor the debt that should have been pain long ago but we will also restore within them the belief their service was honored, their sacrifice was worth it because this country honored it.

Vietnam Veterans Day is March 29. The last accountable death was in May of 1975 but the fatalities truly connected to the Vietnam War are still happening today. They die from Agent Orange exposure related illnesses. They die on the streets and in shelters across this nation. They still die from reaching for alcohol and drugs to cope with untreated wounds. They die when they can no longer find the strength to carry the burden their service caused by their own hand. None of their deaths are counted as the price paid by them. We need to get this right for them and stop ignoring them within the growing numbers of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan flooding the system seeking the same help that was not available when Vietnam veterans came home. None of the accomplishments reached for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would have been begun had it not been for Vietnam Veterans fighting for it and all other veterans.

We can build them monuments from coast to coast but if we do not honor the living monuments of sacrifice to this nation they are all reduced to hunks of rock. We can give them parades and all the flags in the world, but until their sacrifice to that flag is truly honored, they are all empty gestures. We can place all the flowers we want at their graves but until we honor all the living the lives already gone will have disregarded.

As we try as a nation to honor the IOU to the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, we must pay the original debt we owed to the Vietnam Veterans. This is not an option. Taking care of them is not something that can be put off any longer or we further assault their service to this nation. We further deny them justice. We further allow them to pay a price for a debt we owed to them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

VA David Shulkin Fired--Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson Replacement

Shulkin is fired; White House physician Jackson will take over at VA
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired David Shulkin as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and replaced him with Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the president's White House physician.

After weeks of speculation that Shulkin would lose his job, Trump finally announced his decision to dismiss him through the president’s preferred mode of communication — a tweet.

Now Jackson, 50, will be responsible for the second-largest federal agency, with more than 350,000 employees. It operates on a nearly $200 billion budget and includes a health care system serving nine million veterans nationwide.

Jackson was selected as White House physician in 2006, while he was still serving in Iraq as an emergency doctor. He served as a physician for former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Jackson appeared before the White House press corps earlier this year, when he reported he examined Trump and found the president to be in "excellent health.”

Jackson must still be confirmed as VA secretary by the Senate. In the interim, Trump announced Robert Wilkie would serve as the acting secretary. Wilkie serves now at the Defense Department as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
read more here

WWII veteran jumped out of plane...because he never did it before

93-Year-Old WWII Veteran Checks Skydiving Off Bucket List
WFMY 2 News
March 27, 2018

He is 93-years-old, served in World War II, and once won the lottery but in his life, he hasn't done one very important thing: jump out of a plane.

Age is just a number when it comes to Stanley Sasine.

He is 93-years-old, served in World War II, and once won the lottery. But the Sandy Springs native says, in his life, he hasn't done one very important thing: jump out of a plane.

So, he did.

At 93, the filter is gone and the years become golden. Surrounded by family, Stanley is happy to show his life in pictures especially the album of his “fun days.”
read more here

Disabled Navy Vietnam veteran saved from burning house

Vietnam vet who is disabled rescued from Schenectady fire
WNYT News 13
March 28, 2018

SCHENECTADY – A Navy Veteran who served in Vietnam is being treated at the Westchester Medical Center’s Burn Unit, according to his nephew. Fire broke out inside Rick Batcher’s house at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Glendale Pl. in Schenectady around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Neighbors knowing Batcher, 69, has a prosthetic leg rushed up the block in the Mont Pleasant section of the city to get him out. Clarence Cohen and his son-in-law tried to break in the door to save the man they called “Ricky.”

"He must have made it right to the door because when I kicked the door in it went on top of him,” Cohen said.

Batcher has lived at his house for 30 years. He is a Life member of VFW Post 357 in Schenectady. He was initially taken to Ellis Hospital, rerouted to Albany Medical Center and then flown to the Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit and in critical condition.
read more here

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Florida First Responders Covered for PTSD!

Gov. Scott in Tampa today to sign first responder bill 
WFLA News 
Avery Cotton 
March 27, 2018 

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Governor Rick Scott will be in Tampa today to sign a bill into law that aims to help Florida first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Florida lawmakers passed the bill extending workers' compensation benefits for first responders to include treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The Florida House of Representatives voted unanimously for the legislation (SB 376) . 

Lawmakers have heard stories of firefighters and police officers who have taken their own lives or can no longer do their jobs because of repeated exposure to horrific deaths and tragedies, but they don't have benefits that include treatment for PTSD. 

Right now workers' compensation benefits only cover physical injuries. read more here

So, how is that "Veterans Choice" thing working out?

Remember how many times Congress said they needed more money to cover veterans being sent away from the VA? 

Any idea where that money went if they didn't pay the bills?

Department of Veteran's Affairs years behind on payments to local hospitals
WAVI 5 News
By Emily Tadlock
Mar 26, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) Many hospitals in Maine provide services to veterans through the VA Choice Program, a system where veterans can choose to receive care closer to home instead of traveling to a VA facility far away.

But, the Department of Veterans Affairs is slow at paying the bills for those services.

Congressman Bruce Poliquin spear-headed a discussion in Augusta Monday designed to ensure hospitals are paid what they're owed.

Lisa Harvey-McPherson with Eastern Maine Healthcare System says, "It's a system wide issue from the Aroostook Medical Center to our hospitals in Hancock County to our very rural hospitals in Pittsfield and Greenville. The Veterans Administration is fundamentally challenged to pay their bills on time. It's highly inefficient on their end and on our end to spend so much time reviewing each and every claim in an effort to get paid."

The Department of Veterans Affairs is years behind on their payments and millions of dollars in debt to hospitals for veteran's services.

This is a challenge for all hospitals, especially for those in rural parts of our state.
read more here

Considering those yahoos thought that veterans becoming disabled serving this country were no longer due the best care we could give them!

Yes, they forget to mention that part all the time. 

Vietnam Veterans Remembered in Bushnell

Ceremony at Florida National Cemetery honors Vietnam War vets
Jeff Patterson
March 27, 2018

BUSHNELL, Fla. (WFLA) - Bruce Burnham is a historian and Vietnam combat veteran.
The Tampa native served as an MP in Vietnam in 1972 and 1973.

During his tour of duty, he earned the Bronze Star for bravery.

Tuesday, Burnham was the keynote speaker in a ceremony to honor others who served.

"That was a very, very difficult time for many of us who just wanted to come back and be normal again," said Burnham.

The gathering at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell was small.

Burnham believes it is because many Vietnam vets still shy away from ceremonies and talking about their service in public because of the way they were treated by protestors when they returned from the war.
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WPFT 5 News got involved, veteran had claim approved in days!

WPFT 5 News got involved with a veteran about his claim. Suddenly, it was approved. 

One more lesson on the squeaky wheel!
Veterans and their families would be automatically eligible as long as they spent more than 30 days at Camp Lejeune and had one of the qualifying ailments, including kidney cancer. 
“They should be paying me,” he said,

But the VA wasn’t paying him, not until last week when we told them about Tom’s story.

And just days later, they granted Tom his long awaited benefits at an 80% disability rating-backdated to March of last year.

He's due more than $1,700 per month.
click link above for video on this veteran.

Monday, March 26, 2018

62 Year Old Veteran Committed Suicide at John Cochran Division Veterans Medical Center Waiting Room

Veteran kills self in John Cochran VA Medical Center waiting room
St. Louis Post Dispatch
March 26, 2018

St. Louis Police Officer Michelle Woodling said the 62-year-old man committed suicide inside the hospital waiting room at 4:19 a.m. Monday.
The John Cochran Division Veterans Medical Center, photographed on Monday, June 9, 2014, is located at 915 North Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden

A veteran committed suicide inside the John Cochran VA Medical Center at 915 North Grand Boulevard early Monday.

Authorities have not identified the victim. The hospital said he was a veteran.
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Florida First Responders PTSD Bill Being Signed Tuesday!

Gov. Scott to sign PTSD legislation into law at Tampa Firefighter Museum
By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter
March 26, 2018

News 6 will join first responders, their families for special ceremony

Gov. Rick Scott will sign legislation Tuesday that will provide first responders with wage compensation as they receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Senate Bill 376, approved unanimously by both the Senate and the House, will provide workers compensation benefits, “Providing that, under certain circumstances, post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by a first responder is an occupational disease compensable by workers’ compensation benefits.”

The new law eliminates the mandate that a physical injury must accompany the PTSD diagnosis.

During a special ceremony honoring state fire fighters in Tallahassee earlier this month, Scott took a moment to honor first responders lost in the line of duty and to PTSD.

“I want to thank all firefighters for the sacrifices they make,” he said. “I intend to sign it (SB 376) as soon as it reaches my desk.”

Scott and Chief Financial Officer/State Fire Marshall Jimmy Patronis will join dozens of first responders and their families at a special bill signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Tampa Firefighter Museum.

In an exclusive interview, Patronis said the stories covered by News 6 along with his meeting with first responders and their families, inspired him to make the PTSD law his top priority.

“Suicide in that profession is five times higher than the rest of the United States. I hate that those sacrifices had to take place in order to bring this issue to light,” he said.
Jessica Realin, wife of Pulse first responder Gerry Realin, has been an instrumental force in pushing for PTSD legislation.
read more here

Congress tells Navy "No Atheist Chaplains"

No ‘atheist’ chaplains, lawmakers tell Navy
Navy Times
By: Mark D. Faram
4 hours ago

A command religious ministries department divisional officer and a chaplain baptize a sailor aboard the carrier George Washington. A self-described "humanist" has had multiple attempts at becoming a Navy chaplain denied.
(MC3 Eric S. Brann/Navy)

Lawmakers are applauding a decision by Navy officials to reject the application of a secular humanist — called an atheist by many — to be a Navy chaplain.

It’s the second time the sea service has declined to accept Jason Heap, who calls himself a “humanist” and and a “non-theist,” into the chaplain corps.

A “humanist” is one who doesn’t believe in a god, but in the natural ability of humans to “lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity,” according to the Humanist Society.

The latest denial of Heap’s application is at the center of a debate on whether or not one who doesn’t believe in a deity can serve as a military chaplain.

Despite the swirling debate around Heap’s beliefs, or lack thereof, no one is denying his qualifications. Heap holds a master’s degree in divinity from Texas Christian University as well as a theological history degree from Oxford.
read more here

Actually, he's been trying since 2013.