Daily Chronicle: Vermont faith-based communities ‘powerful’ to help struggling vets, VA says

By Guy Page

Vermont’s faith-based communities can help the VA help suicide-prone veterans, Dr. Brett Rusch of the VA Medical Center said today.

In 2017 alone, 10 Vermont veterans committed suicide. Of 45,000 suicide victims nationwide, 6000 — one in nine — are veterans.

Rusch was speaking at a Montpelier press conference called by Gov. Phil Scott.

Guy Page

Vermont has particularly tight knit communities, including those based on faith, Rusch said. They can offer veterans help with one of their most crippling problems: “loneliness. Faith-based communities are particularly suited to help veterans see the extent to which they are not alone. These are powerful communities that can show veterans that they are not isolated.”

The VA reaches, at best, just half of U.S. veterans. People in government, civic, media and religious organizations of all kinds can deliver hope to suffering vets.

Sometimes hope looks like a phone number: the VA suicide prevention line at 802-295-9363 and the crisis line at 800-273-8255 (press 1). Also, walk-ins are welcome at the VA in White River Junction.

Sometimes hope looks like another vet describing how he or she found help. Gen. Greg Knight, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, described at the press conference how he admitted to himself and others that he needed help. “When I returned from Ramadi in 2006, I went to the VA in White River to work through some of my life changing experiences.”

“It hasn’t hurt my career,” Knight said, alluding to unnecessary, harmful concerns that admitting to PTSD can hinder advancement. “There is no shame in seeking help. You have options. Tomorrow just will not be the same without you.”

As the holidays approach, all Vermonters — including faith community members — are encouraged to include struggling veterans in family, community, and religious holiday observations. And listen. And do whatever else possible to throw a lifeline. The VA can’t do it alone.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: Vermont faith-based communities ‘powerful’ to help struggling vets, VA says

  1. This is a letter I sent the WRJ VA. The med staff is quite good, but the Bureaucracy controls the facility and Vets. Don’t know if TNR will allow the truth. This was sent to the New “Travel Assistant” in the White Mountain Clinic who’s mission is to deny Vets, hired about 2 years ago.

    RE: Your letter 9/3/2019 (received 9/6/2019) September 30, 2019

    I filed for travel pay (124 miles RT) after my appointment 8/30. Received your letter denying me dated as noted on baseless grounds. I’m protesting and sending your form for “valuation”. BS. Give me my travel pay as required and not play games. Interesting denial form letter, send many to Vets? The “new” sick WRJ-VA.

    The WRJ-VA since 2016 has gone downhill. Obama regime, he hated the military and Vets, well publicized. Of point, the FEE BASIS guy at VA-WRJ when confronted with my income facts said “WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT AND CAN DO ANYTHING WE WANT” and kissed me off. I showed my IRS 1040 on the “income-deductions”. He ignored he deductions which they do when submitting to the IRS and get a balance. Like to have them not be allowed any deductions, like a Vet in the VA system.

    The VA WRJ has drastically changed for Vet oriented to Bureaucrat oriented, changes:
    1. Use to have accurate evaluation of my income, now it eliminates all deductions and have losses.
    2. Medicare Part A & B which costs me $1200 a year you don’t charge, but charge me.
    3. My income is below the VA threshold as per my IRS forms.
    4. WRJ VA increased office visits $15 to $50.
    5. Have to pay co-pay based on VA-WRJ income BS.
    6. I can’t afford a home or apartment, live in an RV since 2001.
    7. Been fighting for a hearing loss since 1980, keep being rejected based on BS grounds—”nothing new”.
    8 VA-WRJ has increased disability to 30%. What and how decides the percentage—the WRJ-VA.
    9. Many VA facilities are killing the Vets, Phoenix, Tacoma, Denver and now the WRJ-VA based on giving the Vet
    status trouble.
    10. All past grievances are rejected by bureaucrats that have no knowledge of the Vet’s problems.
    A. One Vet known fought the VA 20 years to get total disability for Agent Orange, he finally got it.
    B. A Vet had a dis-formed ankle prior to enlisting. After 8 years the AF said he was to be discharged and got a
    disability because of the ankle.
    C. A relative, 20 years AF got a disability for NO disability, the American Legion assisted.
    11. The VA wastes millions on vacant leased buildings and “junket seminars”. Too much VA personnel waste.
    12. I have over 150 pages of VA waste and the Vet problems.
    13. The VA is too big to help Vets, bureaucrat controlled.
    14. The Disability evaporators deny based on NO reality. No one is an audio specialist. I failed 4 hearings tests
    and have been given 4 hearing aids by the WRJ-VA. Yet they say I don’t have a hearing problem. Since the
    AF I didn’t have any loud noises around, equip or shooting. An engineer. Yet the naysayers say my C172
    had loud noises. None of them know anything about private aircraft, can talk normal in the cockpit. Trailer
    trucks make more noise on the interstates. Anything to reject.
    15. Recent radio ads by a Texas Lawyer outfit getting settlements against #M for bad hearing aids in the past 5
    years used by the military. I had military hearing aids issued in 1959, ear plugs and muffs. If there’s trouble
    in 2019, what was the condition of the hearing devices in 1959? The lawyer tele number is 800-548-7132
    whom I’m considering on contacting. I’m sure I’m not the only VET, maybe a Class Action Suit.

    My remedies:
    1. Honor the Vet, that’s why bureaucrats have a job.
    2. Contacted Congress people, American Legion and my 39 years of protesting, no help.
    3. Contact a legal firm and sue. I have files of names and dates.

    I have a lot of data and will fight for justice. The VA is a waste of time and can’t afford you. Enough is enough. What is a bureaucrat TRAVEL ASSISTANT—assistant van driver for Veterans needing travel? You should serve in the Military and understand Vets before you judge them and go through what the Vet has to endure in the VA.

    Tom Chase

    CC: Congress Representatives, Senate & House

  2. Great article, our churches have some wonderful things to offer.

    The teachings can offer much to many. Most have no idea how powerful and practical the good book really is, perhaps the most valuable tool in life, there is a reason people live longer, healthier lives who have a good understanding.

    Our state has done everything possible to tear down the Christian community, who if vibrant and strong could bring things back. We truly need the holy spirit in our lives, our current atmosphere is envy, hate, division, while the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy and Peace…..

    This is good fruit, good for us all.

  3. Veterans put there lives on the line for the Country and when they return with
    the scares of war and its demons……… they are kicked to the curb !!

    This is the most disgusting thing to come out of our Government, they’ll throw
    money at countries that hate the US, support Illegals and discard our service
    men & women with issues like yesterday’s news.

    What a travesty

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