Letter: Cut the red tape … Veterans still can’t get most benefits

To the editor:

Where can a veteran turn? We did what was called of us. And we were promised much for our service. Volunteer military, we best be careful. Many men may not answer the call, the word is out. Men and women may serve our great country, however, once their service is completed, and they try to get their VA promised benefits, then the real battle starts.

They have to prove how, when and where they were hurt physically and/or mentally. These claims take years and the longer they take, the more they refuse to pay your claim. No one asked us if we wanted to go to a certain place and do what our commander wanted us to do. We went where they sent us and did what was required of us.

We were promised much, however the government has fallen short of keeping their many promises. My only hope is to bring to light the veteran situation. For it’s the one I know most about.

In 1947, I joined the United States Marine Corp. Why? Because I love this country. My brothers also came out to serve our country.

My brother, Martin, was in the U.S. Army Medical Corp., during the Korean War. My brother Andrew was also in the Korean War. My brother John served in the Army Air Corp., during World War II.

Now my service was completed in 1963. And that was when my fight for VA benefits started in St. Louis, Missouri, at the VA Medical Center.

My issues were diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, asthma, depression, PTSD, strokes. These issues came about by my exposure to Agent Orange.

One of the main problems is the fact that the VA Medical Centers do not communicate with service organizations, like the American Legions, DAV and VFW.

Plus, when I ask the medical doctor to please explain my conditions to the service organizations, they tell me they have connection with my claim for benefits that may support the efforts of the service organization that may secure my benefits.

For years this has been going through red tape. All without any results. All they do is ask for more and more information. The bottom lime is I served my country and need my benefits. When I went to serve my country, I did not stop to ask, “do you really need me?” I went where I was told to go. I went and served as they wanted me to.

What we need is a voice, someone who will speak for us, let us cut the red tape. And help us secure our benefits. There are a lot of veterans who need help.

Leonard Garamella