An opinion is quickly formed when the headline of the day combines bureaucratic red tape and our veterans. Half of the story is told for the simple reason that negativity in the news will always attract readers and listeners. Behind the scenes lies a greater story of inspiration, dedication, and well-needed aid. In an office not far from your house, a Veteran Affairs officer listens as our service members, veterans, dependents, or survivors seek either long-awaited medical help or guidance to apply for entitled benefits. The officer will feel humbled in hearing a voice say, “Thank you, sir” or “ma’am.” Receptionists and doctors know their patients have come to face their problems. As a result of “veteran-centered people,” countless service members and veterans will not suffer the effects of their disability. Perhaps these are not newsworthy stories. Beyond the headlines circulating, thousands are standing tall and feeling stronger due to the tremendous support, aid and care provided by Veteran Affairs offices and clinics.
Myth Verses Fact
The VA Health Care Center offers a broad range of outpatient services to cover primary, mental health, and specialty care, in addition to audiology and optometry, imaging and laboratory services, pharmacy, compensation and pension exams. In fact, a new, expansive facility opened in Kernersville earlier this year with the intention of broadening its services.
Military personnel and veterans understand their benefits; however, the ability to obtain an appointment is both confusing and frustrating. Many believe the solution is to either sit in the Raleigh or Charlotte VA office and await acknowledgment or relinquish hope. Advocates are available to provide direction and assistance. Two options are available: Contact a veterans service officer through your local VFW, or through a Veteran Affairs department located in Clemmons, Greensboro, or Danbury.
My husband, a veteran of 26 years of service, had been living with tinnitus since 1989. Just imagine a high-frequency noise, continuously piercing your eardrum due to exposure to loud, sharp noises and test tones, generators and low flying aircraft. During moments of great stress, the frequency may increase in pitch and sound. As a Network Engineer professional through the military, and as a civilian, Kevin quickly discovered he could not easily navigate the VA’s website alone. After losing our son, Finn, in the spring of 2015, a nurse called to ask how she could assist our family. Two days later, I wrote down the name of an advocate with ties to the VA. Surprisingly, just miles from our home, Kevin attended an introductory meeting with a VA officer. Within two months, he met with several doctors and learned his hearing had drastically decreased over four years. Provided with Siemens hearing aids with a tinnitus therapy feature, the difference in sound and hearing was immediate. Sometimes, despite the news of the outside world, professional people are coming together to greatly improve the quality of life for our military men and women.
How many family members, friends, colleagues, or associates do you know who seek the help of Veteran Affairs? Perhaps the need regards medical, compensation, death or burial, or other types of benefits. Thousands of men and women whose only experience with the VA is frustration or lost hope need to know advocates in the form of service officers are available. By spreading the news, anyone seeking assistance can receive the help that is long needed and deserved. By typing through a web browser “Find a VFW Service Officer in Your State,” men and women can directly contact a trained state expert and receive guidance, especially with the claims process. Also, Forsyth County residents can contact the Clemmons office by directly calling (336) 766-1496.