My Aunt Wanda was taken to the hospital with pneumonia and her lungs were and still are in terrible shape with scarring. She has been there for two weeks so far and in spite of her condition her biggest concern is her dear husband of over 60 years. He now has Alzheimer’s and just can’t remember whether he’s taken his meds or not. If he were to drive somewhere alone he might get lost and couldn’t find his way home, but he never forgets Aunt Wanda or the fact that he’s a Christian and he tells everyone he meets that. He’s sweet to be with and can tell you many stories from the past. He loves talking about his days in the navy. He can repeat poems and sing songs of that time. So it occurred to me to check out the veterans association to see if there was any help for him there. You hear bad reports everyday about the VA and how the government won’t help the veterans after all their service but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. How could it hurt? First I went to Lexington, Kentucky and talked to my long time friend, Robert Barnard, who had been a chaplin in the army. He is retired now from that but is working again as a Chaplin for a veterans home in Wilmore, KY. He gave me ideas to start with and phone numbers to call for help in Circleville, Ohio. I’m new at this and didn’t know that veterans have to get help from the state they are living in. A very important part of this puzzle too is they have to show their DD214. Now not being used to any military lingo, I thought, what the heck is a DD214? I starting calling the numbers Robert gave me which lead me to new numbers which lead me to more numbers and so on. I tried talking to Uncle Bob and if you got him onto the right subject he could give you his Navy ID number, and I found on his garage wall a framed Honorary Discharge paper and on Uncle Bob’s key chain was his dog tag. I thought well, with all this I formation, I’d be set. Wrong!! One of the numbers I called was the Pickaway County VA office and I went straight down there. Everything I had brought with me was not enough to get that very important DD214 document!! Finally after talking and pleading and praying right in front of the lady there at this office she said she could call the county where he joined the navy and luckily I knew from my mother who was from the same area a name to start with. I also knew where he was born and close to the right birth date so now there were three people helping me. They found him in the system after all these years and she faxed to this VA office the famous DD214 paper, which looked like a birth certificate to me. With this new information the office lady went back to her boss and gave her all the information and I had an appointment with her for the next week. This made the fouth person helping me to get Uncle Bob enrolled. At this point I still didnt know much if any help was out there to help Uncle Bob. My next move would be to go to the VA hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio. This veteran who was now working in the admitting office was so funny to watch. He knew his business backwards and forwards and jumped from chair to chair talking all the time, even faster than I do, and after calling the woman in Circleville the DD214 paper was faxed to him. He was the fifth person to help me. From there we were sent to the Social Security office to get Uncle Bob’s last year taxes to see what he had paid for his Medicare insurance. This was the sixth person to help.
I’m getting familiar with the right questions to ask. With the new information back to the VA office we went. This officer kept putting in all the information and to even his surprise over the computer came the words printed ENROLLED. The man told us of how Uncle Bob would qualify for medicines and doctors visits and a slew of others things I could barely hear because I was busy thanking God for all the wonderful help we were finally getting. The next day back to the Circleville office we went and everyone was so nice and helpful. He now has his veterans card proudly in his billfold to show off. We got his DD214 paper documented and safely put it in his safety deposit box at the bank. I am so thankful to all the many veterans out there that helped us. And I’m telling this story so others will know that not all the bad stuff you hear is correct!!