Walter Harris

(Navy – 1971*): “I’m interested in service connected and non-service connected benefits?”particularly veterans who do not have employment. It is a disgrace to have veterans homeless and unemployed.” (Harris in served in Vietnam as a combat soldier.)

Napoleon Sanders

(Army – 1972*): “I’m interested in disability services and better service at the VA hospitals. There are long appointment dates. For instance, I can’t go back for dental care until September. So I’m hoping by Christmas I will be able to eat dinner with a big smile.” (Sanders served in Vietnam.)

Stanley Wicks

(Navy – 1972*): “Better health care and more knowledge of the care that is available to veterans. The VA facilities could be a little friendlier to the individuals because when you go into the VA, you are kind of lost because you don’t know where things are. I attend both the Maywood and Jesse Brown facilities. (Wicks served in Vietnam as a combat soldier.)

Randall Johnson

(Army – 1979*): “I’m interested in the health and the benefits that we’re not getting and that we should be receiving from our government, especially for those guys that are overseas right now. It’s going to be hard when they come home because they are barely taking care of the ones that are here now. I don’t know why there have been cutbacks on benefits because for some guys, it is a life-or-death thing. It’s a shame they have to split pills in half and do what they can to get their medication, but that is how the government is. They are just taking away everything.”

Stephanie Johnson

(Wife of an army vet): “I’d like to see the benefits, the health benefits improve to the point that the doctors are able to inter-communicate with one another so that there aren’t reparative things going on, such as asking the patient the same thing over and over again, or the doctors not communicating in terms of what has been prescribed to the patient and drug interactions.

“Oftentimes, especially in the last year I’ve had a better appreciation for what the veterans have to go through. My husband had a series of health problems, and it seems that each time he was getting a different answer from a different doctor because there wasn’t the internal communication that’s needed.

“And the medication that was given was not being looked at thoroughly enough. He was having side effects or the medication was not the appropriate medication for the condition. I’ve also noticed a lot of women veterans and I imagine they are probably experiencing some of the same things, the long waits, etc. Every time you go it’s a different doctor or a long time for filling prescriptions. Unlike retail pharmacies, the pharmacist looks to see what you’re taking to make sure there aren’t any counter-interactions or side effects. And that oftentimes is not done at the VA, even if the problem is immediate.

I’m thankful that my husband is not a disabled veteran or a person who is suffering from post-traumatic-stress, so my heart really does go out to those who are in active service now, and hope everyone returns soon.”

Faydra McLean

(Air Force – 1984*): “I’m interested in more training programs as well as information on VA loans for homes. Seminars like Supermarket of Veterans are a good resource and help to get the benefit information out. It is very resourceful. I’m from Aurora and came for the seminar. As for the VA facilities, I’m very pleased with the one in my town.”

Ron Healey

(VA Veteran chairman, Durango & Dubuque, Iowa, Army – 1971*): “The benefit I’m interested in is the continued support of the VA hospitals throughout the Midwest. They’re steadily closing them down with lack of funds, and all I hear about is that we support the troops, cars with ribbons and in the legislature. But when I attend vet days in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, I constantly hear how they continue to close the facilities. I think that we need some honest information and support to keep these facilities open and not only say we respect the vets. We should do it.”