Lincoln County Journal

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“If you don’t want to take care of veterans, don’t send them off to war”

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I’m on Facebook but I am not one which splashes a lot of personal information about my life or the lives of family members. However, I do enjoy some of the items which my ‘friends’ share on their timelines. One which grabbed my attention is a photo of a senator who basically says “If you don’t want to take care of our veterans, then don’t go to war.”

Those few words rang home to me as illness has entered into a member of my extended family. The husband of my cousin who is a retired Baptist minister, a Vietnam War veteran with two Purple Hearts, received word shortly after he retired that he has an advanced stage of brain cancer. It has spread to other parts of his body. He found this out this past December about the time he retired. His wife and he had placed a contract on a home in Warsaw near Truman Lake where he anticipated spending days holding a fishing pole and being near their sons and family.

He has been undergoing treatment at Veterans Hospital in Kansas City but this has been derailed. He has developed blood clots in his leg and the medication to address that has caused bleeding in the brain. He was immediately placed on hospice care.

So, how does our government respond? The hospital said he was to be released and family was to find a nursing home for his continued care. Fortunately the family has found a facility which he was transferred to late last week.

I don’t know much about veterans’ healthcare programs but it seems that a special unit at the hospital would better address his health needs. Doctors would be closer and could address any emergency which might arise. There have been long delays encountered for some returning young veterans to get the treatment they so richly deserve.

We believe we are the greatest country in the world but how often do you hear that our own continue to struggle while we are content on meeting the needs of those who are here illegally and for those who wish not to work and contribute? On a brighter note, we have people locally who go out of their way to assist veterans. Many veterans have transportation for medical trips to VA facilities through the Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV). Many businesses are participating in programs designed to assist veterans as they seek employment and pursuing their careers. A local dedicated corps of volunteers continue to document veterans’ stories on DVDs for historical preservation.

We in turn thank the veterans and military organizations for the dedication to continue serving this country with their commitment to community projects.

A significant milestone will occur later this month as local veterans are invited to the third-year anniversary of the Veterans’ Coffee Talk. This will be held Thursday, March 20 at LCCOA in Troy beginning at 9 a.m. Each Thursday, veterans simply assemble over coffee and share the special bond only they can fully understand. This will be a great time for even more veterans to get involved.

By Bob Simmons