Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Thinking of you veterans. – Gig Line #101

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

Each time I sit down to write GIG LINE, I think of you. I wonder what I will be led to say through strokes on a keyboard using words that may or may not touch your life, influence your thoughts or motivate you in some small way. I think about veteran related news that I’ve heard during the week and how it made me feel and I wonder how you’ve processed it too.  Depending on the news topic, did what you hear make you feel happy or sad? Did it inspire you to undo wrongs that were imposed on others or did you say to yourself, ‘poor guy’, or ‘what a shame’ and go on your way?

No matter the topic or the source for delivery, consider that we are blessed with minds to sort things out for ourselves and to make the best of what we have to work with. Consider too that no matter how old we are, or upon which platform we stand, it’s never too late to get involved and help pave the way for constructive changes in the lives of those we care about. Anything and everything related to veterans and what is good for them is of interest to me. Without reservation I can attest that I care and that I’m involved…not because I’m ‘Miss Goody Two Shoes’…or ‘Miss Know It All’ in fact, I’d say I’m at the opposite end of that spectrum. I don’t know it all…but I want to or as much as my little pea brain can handle. I want to learn everything I can and I’ve finally realized that sometimes it’s better to just listen…for a change…and closely observe those around me.

With veteran related news topics frequently at the forefront the well being of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for us should be listened to carefully. While I may not be a veteran myself, when it comes to the subject of veterans, I stop what I’m doing and I take the time to pay attention. Some of the news is good news…we want it allto be good news, don’t we? We like to watch broadcasts about ships coming into port after long deployments; we want to see the faces of the sailors as they run to greet the ones they’ve missed and dreamed about; we wait to see them embrace and hug and kiss their personal ‘welcome home’ committees; we feel good when we see the little ones jump into their hero’s arms and when the joy of their return overwhelms them…and when the tears fall down their cheeks…they fall down ours too.

When you care about the men and women who have served our country, you wish you could wave a magic wand and make everything that worries them just disappear. They deserve that. But reality sets in and you realize that sometimes the news about our veterans is not only troubling, unsettling and frustrating but even shocking.

Lately we’ve heard about deserving veterans who have died because they didn’t get the help they needed…when they needed it. And when you hear bad news like that it hurts. Even as recent as this past week, I was told by a local, retired U. S. Army veteran that he thought he had finally gotten to the bottom of a bad situation that he been dealing with after he unexpectedly stopped receiving his prescribed VA issued medications. He expressed his frustration about the numerous attempts he had made to address the problem and get it resolved. Finally because of his persistence, the matter was addressed and hopefully not to be repeated in the future. My point in telling you this? Don’t let miscommunication; human error or disappointments stop you from ‘fighting the good fight’ and seeing your problem through.

In the course of the last two years, I’ve come to realize that very deserving veterans become so darned fed up, they give up and they give in. Sometimes they grow so sick and tired of waiting for a positive response from the VA that they just walk away. Please don’t do that folks. Please. Look at why you’re a veteran in the first place. You’re unique, special and strong…you’ve been steadfast and determined to walk against some mighty winds…haven’t you? You’ve hung in there in very difficult times, in very difficult places and with what seemed to be insurmountable and impossible challenges facing you head on…but you still saw them through. Don’t give up if you feel the platform on which you stand is solid. Muster up the good stuff that’s within you that makes a veteran a veteran and push up the hill to see it through.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that veterans are sometimes denied claims that would seem deserved and when I hear that, I’m disappointed and aggravated. But I ask that you not give up…keep trying…keep mailing those letters…keep making those phone calls…consider establishing a relationship with groups like the D.A.V. (Disabled American Veteran), or connect with other veteran advocates who will press forward with you. Don’t be another single veteran who has a legitimate claim that falls into the abyss or ‘la la land’…see it through. Let your desire to be acknowledged give you the ‘umph’ to stand up for yourself. Maybe…just maybe it was just a type-o that fowled things up; maybe deadlines for communication with the VA were accidently missed or that the documentation you were asked to submit for review were misplaced and not received at all; maybe you chose not to appeal a decision made by the VA reps who reviewed your claim. Regardless…I’ve heard from veterans directly that they were glad they stayed on course because decisions have been known to be reversed.

Don’t forget to visit your comrades at the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 and V.F.W. Outer Banks Post 10950 (same location) at 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills (west side by-pass behind T-Tops) now on Monday through Friday between 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The Post will be open to receive you, provide information on joining/moving your memberships here locally (if you wish) and each Wednesday you’ll be able to obtain your Dare County Veteran I.D. Card right there at the Post also. Just bring your DD-214 and your Driver’s License for proof of local address. Remember NO ONE will keep your DD-214 or copy it. As you know we have been issuing the Veteran I.D. Cards (for business discounts) in Manteo for months now in addition to other locations but…because the Post has committed to be open for veteran traffic consistently, my sweetie pie Billy will be there on Wednesdays to issue you a Card…so please go see him and get yours if you haven’t already! You’ll be glad you did!

Newsflash! The newest addition to the list of businesses that honor your Dare County issued Veteran I.D. Card is Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood (located on the north wing of the Outer Banks Mall between the new Fresh Market and the Outer Banks Hospital) as of last Thursday, April 24th. As with Darrell’s Restaurant in Manteo, Tanner and his Daniel’s family welcome Dare County Veteran I.D. Card holders to receive a 10% discount off entries every day! Thank you Tanner! Billy and I went to lunch there last week and it was great! The fresh new coastal atmosphere of the restaurant was inviting and comfortable and they offer a lot of bulk take out foods like BBQ, ribs and seafood too…so stop by to see them and please thank you for honoring our veterans while you’re there!

A veteran from Columbia really touched my heart this week and I’ll tell you about it in next Sunday’s GIG LINE on May 4th, so as usual and in the meantime…be happy, be safe and be proud of yourself as a veteran or as a supporter of veterans! Get ready for a lot of veteran attention in the coming months and call if we can be of help. And dear and wonderful friends…please stay tuned so we can work together for our veterans!     

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at [email protected].  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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