C-123 veterans, and others who care about us: Please contact your congressional representatives on Monday morning first thing!
Urge them, in the strongest terms, to contact the veterans' affairs staff members of Senators Merkely, Bennet, Udall and Burr to assist in confronting the Department of Veterans Affairs. Contact Congress by email this weekend and by telephone on Monday morning. Ask for help!
The senators mentioned above have carried our burden for three years and now things are finally getting resolved. Faced with solid scientific evidence of our exposure, and supported by findings from numerous federal agencies and from highly respected scientists, VA finally agreed to submit the issue to the Institute of Medicine for an analysis.
Good, at least in that VA finally has kept the promise we shook hands on two years ago. Not good, in that VA will use the eight to ten months before the IOM study is released to continue denying perfectly valid C-123 exposure claims. That's money saved for the VA, because it enables them to continue refusing care for the study period but also for the years those denied claims then have to wait while appealing tainted decisions against us. Believe me...they've thought this through. Delay, delay, delay!
What I find amazing is that in reaching out to senators, only the gentlemen mentioned above, and a couple other leaders such as Senator Ayotte, have even heard of the issue. That's where our C-123 veterans have let each other down.
Please...this weekend log onto the web sites for your two senators, and explain the problem we face in some detail. Then on Monday morning, very early, call the Washington DC offices of your senators and speak with their military or national security staffer. We need senators to contact Senator Burr's office (Mr. Brooks Tucker) or Senator Merkley's office (Mr. Will White) to offer their support.
We C-123 veterans do not need Congress for any new legislation. We C-123 veterans need Congress to confront the VA on its failure to follow the law, VA's own regulations, and announcements in the Federal Register. VA has committed to providing exposure care to veterans proving their Agent Orange exposure, and we've proven that fact in spades. VA – obey the law.
VA has redefined the word exposure to keep us from qualifying. That's unscientific, and also lays landmines for every other veteran concerned about burn pits, radiation, biohazards, dirty water and even unidentified exposures which put them in harm's way just as much as enemy munitions!
Perhaps the folks at VA working against us aren't bad people. However, how can they not feel shame and self-disgust for their actions...their scheming, to keep people like Master Sergeant George Gadbois from entering their hospital for life-saving care?
Right: with his own camera, here's how Gabby wanted VA to remember him.
Gabby wanted VA to see how his soft-tissue sarcoma (an Agent Orange-presumptive illness) looked. We can't imagine how it felt!
In their personal zeal and professional skills dedicated to prevent veterans like Gabby from entering their VA hospitals, certain individuals in VA redefined the word exposure to define away Gabby's eight years flying the toxic C-123 transports and prevent his VA exposure claim being approved.
Victory for the VA: VA kept Gabby out of their hospital and let him die somewhere else. Gabby was just another (as the VA's Agent Orange consultant described him) trash-hauler and freeloader for whom he had no respect.
Those VA individuals and their paid consultants, trusted by the public to care for veterans but policy-driven to prevent that care, need to see what harm they've caused. We can't show them the graves of dear friends like Bob Boyd, Doc Jones, Mike Walker, Jim Gallin, or Gabby, but this picture tells the story.
To VA. With love, from Gabby. Remember me when you cash your bonus checks!