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January / February 2008

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National Secretary’s REPORT
The Battle Is Not Over

BY BARRY HAGGE
I don’t know how our 56,000 brother and sister VVA members feel, but the last five months have flown by. It’s been a blur: the Springfield Convention, planning for the 25th Anniversary of The Wall Parade, the publishing of The Wall, planning for our Leadership Conference and 30th Anniversary, and our next legislative blitz on Capitol Hill. It seems like we never have enough time, yet we still succeed. Thanks to our National Staff for all they do for us. They are few in number and overworked, but they always are there to help us succeed.

By the time you receive this issue of The Veteran, we will have rolled out the National Secretary’s Info Center to the chapters in Region 3 and asked the other Regional Directors to supply e-mail addresses for the chapters in their regions. The next region to be rolled out is on a first-come, first-served basis.

What is the Info Center? It is a secure section of the VVA Website where information (sometimes more than you want) is posted as it becomes available. Over the last nine months or so, we have opened the site up for the Board of Directors and State Council Presidents, and now to our chapters.

If you want to see the work of the national committees, the latest on the efforts of the VI, public relations info, and Government Relations news, go to the Info Center. Information is posted when it happens, and you do not need to wait for a mailing. What can your chapter do to get on Info Center? Just give your State Council President your chapter e-mail address.

In my next column, I will address in more detail the issues I noted during my visit to the National Cemetery and VA Hospital in San Juan and my meeting with the Puerto Rico State Council, which was scheduled as a follow-up to VVA President John Rowan’s investigative trip last year. While I had hoped to see improvement, such was not the case.

What I found was a national cemetery running out of space in 2016 and no federal effort in process to expand the cemetery; veterans forced to walk a mile for a doctor’s visit because parking is not available; a single physiologist with a 300-patient caseload; the VISN scheduling the length of a counseling session instead of the attending doctor; a Vietnam War veteran denied compensation for type II diabetes and peripheral neuropathy when it should be a slam dunk; and veterans being quiet because they are concerned their ratings will be reduced.

We have accomplished a great deal during our thirty years as a service organization, but the battle is not over, nor can we declare victory. Our brothers and sisters must know that they may be out of sight, but they are not forgotten. The fight continues.

My wife Dee and I hope that your holidays were joyful, your faith renewed, and that our healing continues in 2008.

 

 

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