It’s almost early three years after systemic problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) erupted into a nationwide scandal but veterans continue to struggle with a dysfunctional V.A. bureaucracy along with long waits for health care and other critical benefits.
A great example of this involves one of my colleagues at Liberty Alliance, Senior Airman Brian Kolfage, a wounded warrior who lost both his legs and his right hand serving in Iraq to protect this country. The V.A. isn’t meeting its obligation to Brian and thousands of other Veterans, even for the most basic of medical needs. For Kolfage those basic needs includes a working wheelchair.
Brian posted about ongoing issues in securing a new wheelchair from the V.A. on his Facebook page:
In August of 2016 I formally notified the veterans administration that my wheelchairs were broken, unsafe, and falling apart.
Paperwork was submitted and approved to get my wheelchairs replaced in September. They even sent the vendors to my house for measurements.
Today I sit waiting, calling and asking where in the hell are my wheelchairs? My only mode of transportation seconds from being gone. Should I just drag my ass across the floor EVERYWHERE I go?
This is the same VA who took 6 months + a call to congress to replace a missing/broken $100 wheel on that same wheelchair. They wouldn’t even allow me to buy the wheel through a third-party and fix it… because apparently I’m not competent enough to tighten a damn nut on a bolt. I can change a car tire, but hell no not a wheelchair tire! More BS of the govt. trying to control our lives.
Over the past 8 years I’ve watched the VA go down that damn tubes, and you know who promised to fix it and didn’t… the outgoing president.
So while I sit here waiting and waiting using dangerously unsafe wheelchairs that are duct taped together, I hope you take the time to share THIS EVERYWHERE. This is just one story and one of many insane incidents I’ve faced with the VA, but there are thousands upon thousands of us being screwed over. If it’s happening to a triple amputee who’s pretty public with things, it’s even worse for those who don’t voice their concerns.
Ultimately I want my new wheelchairs, but I also am so sick of the bullshit I deal with I want to help President Trump’s next VA leader make the proper changes. I need you to share this, help people see what’s going on, because it’s a damn cluster-f*ck of incompetence at the VA and it’s the exact opposite of what combat wounded veterans need [or deserve].
People wonder why suicide rates are so high, it’s because of the VA; they do more harm to these guys coming back than good.
I’ve been in the VA trenches for 12 years now since I was wounded. I’ve used every program they have, and have seen what works and what doesn’t.
We need to fix the VA, I know how to make simple fixes that will make lives easier for veterans, and save tax payers money.
If the VA is going to get fixed, the Trump transition team needs to hear our concerns and actually talk to veterans like myself.
When a nation sends someone to war, it is also making the promise to take care of that hero when that veteran comes home, especially if they are wounded during their service. Our Government is failing to keep this promise.
Along with being an architect, husband and father, Senior Airman Brian Kolfage, the most severely wounded us airman to survive his wounds still serves. He meets with newly wounded vets to give them new hope for their future and he fights for other Veterans. Kolfage didn’t post his story simply to let people know that he’s not getting a new wheelchair, he posted the story to show the continued incompetence of the V.A.
It’s strange that this President who gave Iran $1.7 billion to seal a deal that wont prevent the rogue nation from developing nuclear weapons, only gives lip service to fixing the V.A.
President-Elect Trump says fixing the V.A. is a priority for his administration, hopefully he will keep that promise. Hopefully Senior Airman Brian Kolfage won’t have to wait for Trump to keep his pledge and fix the V.A. to get his wheelchair.