By Marsha M. Brown
Well folks this past week we celebrated an exceptional day in the history of our beloved America. It was a day in 1776 when extraordinary men of character, determination and vision impacted our future in a very positive way. Their fortitude and thoughtful creation of the Declaration of Independence is significant to our way of life even today. Imagine no cell phones, computers or modern technology but rather strokes of a feather pen that composed a masterpiece…our foundation on which we stand. Using good common sense they provided a blueprint, a backbone so to speak for which to govern ourselves and a reminder to us all that we are created equal…none being above the other. The way I see it…thank goodness for the group of 56 men ranging in age from 26 to 70 years old who stood unified in the quest to survive the ills of the world and those who come against us. No doubt about it…July 4th is worthy of celebration not just once a year but every day.
Speaking of celebrations and fireworks, July 5th my sweetie pie Billy and I celebrated another special day…our 46th Anniversary!! Yippee! It’s so hard to believe but you know what they say…time flies when you’re having fun! Of course some folks look at marriage as being just the opposite…but I’m here to tell you that I’m glad marriage is an ‘institution’ that I am willfully ‘committed to’…especially being married to a spouse like mine. I’m thankful and proud that he’s a veteran and that he loves our country; I’m thankful that when he sees TV interviews with veterans and recovering Wounded Warriors that his eyes tear up; I’m glad that he cares if he sees our American flag hanging tattered and torn at a business or a home site; I like that he instilled in our children and grandchildren pride in the red, white and blue and its honor; I love that he respects and cares deeply about fellow veterans and that he wants everything to be right and righted for them; I’m grateful that he’s a member of the American Legion and V.F.W. and that he encourages others to be members as well; I appreciate that he encourages every single veteran he sees (especially fellow Vietnam veterans) to seek a relationship with the V.A. in addition to their private health care provider and I listen intently when he looks a Vietnam vet straight in the eye and says adamantly, “Go get your screening for Agent Orange” because you know immediately by the tone in his voice that every vet who served ‘boots on ground’ in Vietnam and Korea should take the time to schedule an appointment. The V.A. Hampton Medical Center in Hampton, VA provides screening for 15 relative conditions that could result in the care, prescriptions or treatment for veterans who so deserve it.
You’ve probably seen the T-shirts and other sources of conveyance that reflect that ‘Freedom isn’t free’…well, that’s an understatement. As a veteran you have earned that for us all and if there is anything that will heal you and help you and your family you should consider determining what that ‘help’ might be. Billy is relentless about this as am I, not as a veteran myself, but as the wife of a veteran who served our county honorably and nobly whom I love very much. He deserves whatever is due him and so do YOU! For example: many of the vets we talk to tell us they have hearing problems. Typical military service subjected many vets to not only artillery fire but ships engine room noise with little to no hearing protection creating hearing problems today such as ringing in the ears etc. Some vets told us they have sought help but the process and determination of benefit is still pending, stalemated or denied. Our suggestion? Don’t ignore the issue that you have to deal with daily and go after what may be due you again! According to Dr. Mark Olesen at the A.P.O.C. (Albemarle Primary Outreach Center located in Elizabeth City, N.C.) where at the clinic, a veteran can get his/her annual V.A. medical screening physicals and P.T.S.D. counseling, the following is per his email verbatim to me this week:
“VAMH HAMPTON AUDIOLOGY CLINIC CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION July 8, 2014…regarding referral criteria for hearing aids and other assistive devices evaluations:
Reason for request: To determine candidacy for hearing aids or assistive listening devices: NSC or SC veterans who are legally blind and have gone through the VIST program, Veteran is service-connected 10% or greater for any condition, Veteran is service-connected for an ear condition 0% or greater, Veteran is in an active vocational rehabilitation program, former POW, Purple Heart, A&A, House Bound, inpatient, OEF/OIF Veteran”. A “fairly broad and inclusive list” as indicated per Dr. Olesen.
There is no denying we’ve all heard a bunch of really bad news of late about the lack of attention and treatment of our veterans but in view of the fact that so much attention to the problems is now out in the open, it might be the best time for veterans to seek the care you deserve. If you’d like to investigate your potential benefits, you can either call Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer at (252) 475-5604 to schedule a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday appointment in Manteo or you can call Jeff Pearson, Integrator for the Rural Health Initiative (R.H.I.) at his office at the V.A. Hampton Medical Center in Hampton, VA (757) 722-9961 Ext. 7741 or his cell phone: (757) 344-9501 to schedule an appointment. Regardless and again…exams, screenings and devices that could make your life more comfortable, healthy and happy, you have EARNED.
Remember the American Legion Post 26 and the V.F.W. Post 10950 both meet monthly in Kill Devil Hills at the Legion Hall located 302 W. Lake Drive (approx. 9.5 MP not far from Harris Teeter west side of the by-pass behind T-Tops, second building on the right). The revitalized V.F.W. meets there once a month on every third Wednesday at 7PM. Please make an effort to reconnect with fellow veterans if you are a member or are eligible to become one. The American Legion meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 12 noon (lunch is served) and will resume again September 23, 2014.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud that you are an American and that we have veterans to celebrate, honor and appreciate each and every day. Stay tuned and God bless you all.