Your reply about Vets helping Vets after getting their rating hit me good.
While I can't say I went hungry(and my 60 year old house was paid off), keeping it warm in the winter was a challenge-and A/C in the summer was not even thought of. I would like to help a vet with or without a family. I can't guarantee his house payment(will try) but I can guarantee he/family won't be hungry or cold over the winter. I'm not looking for anything in return. Just don't know how to go about it.
When John wrote that note to me it started me thinking. Not that long ago another reader offered to directly assist another veteran he read about here. I put them in touch with email and the $300.00 he sent to his brother in need kept the electricity on while the veteran was having his dialysis done.
I get occasional offers from you all wanting to help another. My usual reply is to volunteer or whatever. But I know some of you aren't able to do that as a regular effort and you are looking for other ways to lend a hand.
John and I set about brainstorming. John said, "...just don't know how to go about it" and neither did I. After weeks of back and forth and putting a lot of thought into it, here's where we are in our thinking.
There are a lot of agencies out there that help vets and other who are down on their luck for the long haul. We don't want to try to substitute for the efforts of Salvation Army, any United Way agency and so on.
Our thoughts always returned to the veteran who we are most familiar with here at the VA Watchdog dot org...the veteran who has the claim that is dragging on forever and is struggling with the wait was our number 1 focus. Then there are the veterans who need a different kind of help. Every day I hear of guys who can't make the drive to that VAMC that's 2 or 3 hours away. Some don't have a way to get to a clinic appointment 30 minutes away.
Some of us just don't get out much. Maybe it's the PTSD, maybe it's the diabetes or a feeling of hopelessness that keeps us from seeing our doctors. Maybe having a buddy come by to help with the daunting task of getting into the clinic would make a difference?
John and I aren't sure of any of this but as we kicked it around, we knew we had to give it a shot.
So...here's what we've come up with.
If you feel an urge to help a brother or sister in a time of need, tell John about it. John will record your gesture, get your email address and so on and then as that opportunity arises, he'll let you know. John will put you in touch with the other veteran and then it's up to you.
If you know of a veteran in need or if you're struggling yourself, get in touch with me. I'll assess the situation and we'll go from there.
Our criteria are simple; This isn't a rehab program for vets who are having a long term issue with life. As before, there are other places to turn for help there. If you're waiting for the final decision on your appeal or rating, you're relatively new to this long and drawn out process and you're in danger of the electricity being turned off, the car repossessed or not putting food on the table, we may be able to help in the short term. If you need a buddy to help you get by at the clinic or hospital, we'll see what we can do.
This is an experiment, not a sure thing. I can't begin to predict where this could go. I can tell you from personal experience there is a need, usually in your neighborhood. Before I started working with Larry I had a call from a neighbor about another neighbor. The veteran was 80 years old and needed directions to our VA hospital. I could tell the directions were confusing so I offered to take him in my car to his surgeon's appointment. He had a hernia that needed fixing.
I hate to consider what may have happened if I hadn't done that. I'm afraid he may still be lost, circling in some sort of 4th level of hell of traffic in Charleston, SC. That day was pretty routine to me and a grand adventure for him. Eventually he got all stitched up and did well. It was a little thing, no huge deal. If it made his life just a bit better, there you go.
I also know that the other incident of sending some cash money had a huge impact on a very sick guy. If you have never been broke, really broke where the bill collectors are howling on your front doorstep, you don't know what misery is. Then add to that waiting for a VA screw-up to be corrected and a need to get to your 3 times weekly dialysis appointments. Ouch.
There it is. If you think you want to give, write to John at < firstname.lastname@example.org > You know how to reach me.
BTW...no glory or awards here. John and I agreed, except for my name that's already out there, we want to keep it quiet, anonymous and a sort of stealth mission. No last names, no prizes or awards, no publicity for either side of the equation. No medals here, you're the only one who will know what you accomplished.