Over the years I've worked with the VA both personally and professionally, and I have to say I have met a lot of wonderful people. I've also met some real knuckleheads. Unfortunately, in a bureaucracy the "one bad apple" theory comes in spades.
One of my older veterans has been having trouble getting his pain medication since he has to wait 30 days before he can reorder (memory being an issue.) He then has to be available to sign for the mail - so he has to have it sent to his workplace, which eliminates the possibility of getting it on Saturdays as well as Sundays, and Mondays when there's a 3-day weekend, assuming he remembers to call the nurse to reorder (since older vets are not always computer savvy.) It's a case of getting someone on the phone, then the nurse having to get hold of the doctor who contacts the pharmacy. The pharmacy not only has to fill the order but then has to get it into the mail. Personally, I've had medication sitting filled at a pharmacy waiting to be picked up when the instructions clearly asked for overnight mail - and that's happened more than once. For that matter, over the course of a year my veteran has been without medication for a total of 30 days because someone in the half a dozen or more set of hands this has to go through, dropped the pill.
However, when we're dealing with opiates and vets can't get what they should, they become frustrated with the VA and in some cases go into withdrawal. In many cases the older veterans will turn to alcohol. The younger veterans will turn to street drugs. Heroin is now going for $10, so we shouldn't be surprised when overdoses among veterans increase as well as the rate of suicide.
My older vet was becoming frustrated with the mailing system and complained. He was told he could drive to the VA pharmacy and pick his medication up. He's 91 years old. The pharmacy at Castle Point was a 3-hour drive for him. He was then told he could go to the Bronx, which was closer. True, but only by a few miles and, putting him in the City at 91, I don't think is a good idea.
What if the VA could make a deal with Walgreen's and CVS to dispense their medication to veterans? It would give them over 21,000 additional outlets nationally that are handled by trained and licensed professionals.
Simply work it out with the computers where the veterans could by showing their VA ID card to pick up their medication. And have the medication available every 28 days, giving the vets a little bit of flexibility.
I think this works on many levels. Walgreen's and CVS are open 7 days a week - some 24 hours a day and many have drive-thru windows, which would be easier for disabled vets. Others will do home delivery.
We could start this slow. Say, just in New York State. My old boss used to say, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!"
Initially we could limit the vets to those over 65, or vets with service-connected disabilities. If it works, expand it. if it doesn't, shut it down.
All the VA would have to do would be to refill Walgreen's and CVS with the medication that was used. This medication they would have on hand and need anyway - and with what they would save in the cost of Federal Express fees, could cover the changeover, I would think.
Further, you might eliminate some of the pharmacy positions that the VA can't seem to fill at this point. With the veteran population continuing to decrease, the VA will be forced to close hospitals and therefore pharmacies.
So why not start the transitioning while we have the ability to control the direction, and not wait for crisis management?
If it's done right, everyone could take a bow and the vets would get their medication without hassle.
If the President can figure out how to trade 5 GITMO detainees for 1 veteran said to be a deserter, (and from the look of things, is going to spend the rest of his life in jail at our expense,) then surely we should be able to get drugs to a drug store to help millions of veterans who have done the right thing for their country.
Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
Cremains To Be Buried on Thursday, October 1st
On Thursday, October 1st, at 2:00 p.m., the cremains of three soldiers will be buried at Frederick Loescher Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Brick Church Road in Spring Valley, New York 10977. The cremains are those of a World War I, Korean War, and Vietnam veteran, who were never claimed by their families. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. All are welcome to join us.
In Unit Stalked by Suicide,
Veterans Try to Save One Another
The New York Times, September 19th, 2015 by Dave Philippes
United States Marine Battalion veterans scarred by suicides turn to one another for help.
After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.
He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.
He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.
Still reeling from the news, Mr. Bojorquez surveyed the old baseball posters on the walls of his childhood bedroom and the sun-bleached body armor hanging on his bedpost. Then he took a long pull from the bottle.
“If he couldn’t make it,” he recalled thinking to himself, “what chance do I have?”
He pressed the loaded pistol to his brow and pulled the trigger.
Mr. Bojorquez, 27, served in one of the hardest hit military units in Afghanistan, the Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment. In 2008, the 2/7 deployed to a wild swath of Helmand Province. Well beyond reliable supply lines, the battalion regularly ran low on water and ammunition while coming under fire almost daily. During eight months of combat, the unit killed hundreds of enemy fighters and suffered more casualties than any other Marine battalion that year.
When its members returned, most left the military and melted back into the civilian landscape. They had families and played softball, taught high school and attended Ivy League universities. But many also struggled, unable to find solace. And for some, the agonies of war never ended.
VFW Scholarship Offered to High School Students
Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition. The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Download the Scholarship Application here:
Congers Valley Cottage Rotary Seeking Veterans
World War II - Korean War - Vietnam War
For a bus trip to visit the Washington, D.C. War Memorials. On Thursday, October 22nd, 2015, the bus will leave at 7:30 a.m. from Congers Lake Parking Lot. Return time still to be determined. This is a free event for veterans and includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. There is limited seating. Please R.S.V.P. Scott Milich at 914-282-3703 or email@example.com, or Mike DiBella 908-391-4768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, October 2nd, 2015: Jerry Donnellan will host the monthly RockVets radio show on WRCR 1700 on the AM dial. It is just after the 10:00 a.m. news break. You can call in and ask Jerry questions or share information about issues concerning veterans or our military community. The show also airs live online at: www.wrcr.com. It is also a great opportunity to tell the community about upcoming events your organization may be hosting. The call-in phone number is 845-362-0013.
Wedneday, October 14th, 2015: The Rockland County Marine Corps League is sponsoring a trip to the 911 Museum on October 14th, 2015. The bus will leave Kearsing & Edward American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970. The cost is $22.00 per person. The Memorial site is free but entrance to the Museum is $18.00. Contact Dale Robinson at 845-323-8774 for bus reservation and further information. Dale Robinson e-mail: email@example.com.
Saturday, October 31st,, 2015: A group of veterans known as the Bob Hope Division will visit the Montrose VA Nursing Home on Saturday, October 31st, 2015 - blanket day - and they can use your help. The nursing home is located at 2090 Albany Road (Route 9A) in Montrose, New York 10548. The veterans will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby of Montrose VA Nursing Home. For further information, please contact Commandant of the Bob Hope Division, Chip Hayes via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, November 7th, 2015: Hudson Valley Honor Flight offers an opportunity for the community to serve as Guardians on Mission #10 of the Hudson Valley Honor Flight on November 7th. Enjoy spending the day traveling to Washington, D.C. as an escort to a World War II Veteran. Applications can be found on their website: http://hvhonorflight.com/how-to-participate/. For further information, contact Beth Vought, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Honor Flight via e-mail: Beth@HVHonorFlight.com.
Saturday, November 14th, 2015: Suffern American Legion Post 859 presents The Essential Elvis Tribute Show, featuring Jeff Krick with Jeffrey Krick, Jr. There will be a Hot and Cold Buffet Dinner and Beverages. Tickets are $35.00 in advance - limited seating - first come, first served and are available at:
http://mkt.com/bje-productions-llc. The event will be held at the American Legion Hall, 17 Pavilion Road in Suffern, New York 10901. For more information, call Chris at (845) 709-4705. Proceeds of the event to Benefit the Legion's Youth and Scholarship Programs.
Saturday, November 14th, 2015: The United States Military Academy at West Point will host their Military Appreciation Day on this date. There is an Army vs. Tulane football game between 12:00 noon and 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the game are $20.00 each The folks at Michie Stadium, West Point, offer many different options for tailgating, rentals of tents, chairs, and tables. Catered food is available to order as well. For further information contact Zoe Cohen, Army Athletics - 845-446-2349 or e-mail: email@example.com.
RJ Staffing: If you are looking for work, I can help! My name is Jennifer and I work for RJ-Staffing in Rockland County, New York. We have many job opportunities available and would love to speak with you if you're looking for work! Please contact Jennifer directly via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jennifer at 845-624-0400.
Macy's: Macy's in Nanuet and Palisdes Shopping Center are currently hiring people for part-time and full-time positions in sales, as well as part-time positions in support. To complete an online application, visit: http://www.macysjobs.com/.
Greyhound - Now Hiring Motorcoach Operators in New York City
Free training (and money while you learn!)
Free travel passes
Comprehensive benefits including 401 (k)
Snow Removal/Heavy Equipment Operators - Top Pay for Seasonal snow/heavy equipment operators. CDL license Drivers, Fuel Truck Drivers. (HAZMAT/TWIC,) Spreader drivers (CDL B). Valid driver's license and able to pass background check. LaGuardia and JFK Airports and locations in Port Washington, Long Island. Apply: http://www.dejanaindustries.com/ or call 516-944-3100.
Local Veterans' Organizations
For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
- Rockland County Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 191, Haverstraw, New York 10927
- Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
- Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
- Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
- R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
- Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
- Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
- Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary
The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, Pomona, NY. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.
Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit
We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:
- Motorized Wheelchairs
- Manual Wheelchairs
- Bath Chairs
- Transfer Benches
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
Rockland County Department of Health Classes
Sign up for free and low-cost programs offered by the Rockland County Department of Health
Better Choices, Better Health (free 6-session workshop): Learn ways to manage your ongoing health conditions. The next workshop series begin September 15 in Spring Valley, or September 30 in Garnerville. Call 364-2501 for more information and to register.
Diabetes Prevention Program (free 16-session workshop): Learn how you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you are at risk for diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The next workshop series begins September 30 in Pomona. Call 364-3864 to find out if you are eligible for the program.
Living Well With Diabetes (free 6-session workshop): Learn how to manage your type 2 diabetes and prevent complications. The next workshop series begins October 20 in Congers. Call 364-2501 for more information and to register.
Lose to Win (low cost 8-session workshop): Get help to lose weight safely and successfully. The next workshop series begins September 10 in Garnerville. Call 786-3800 ext. 18 or 19 to register.
Put It Out Rockland: Get help to successfully quit smoking. Call the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program at 364-2651 for one-on-one, or group, help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for help with quitting.
RockVets - A Project of New York Vets
You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at www.rockvets.com. Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website.
On the first Friday of each month, just after the 10:00 a.m. news-break, RockVets has a live call-in talk show on Rockland County's local radio station - WRCR 1700 AM dial. This live show is hosted by Jerry Donnellan. We encourage you to call-in and ask any questions you may have relating to veterans or the military. This is also a good opportunity to promote any upcoming events for your organization that would be of interest to the veteran/military community. The call-in number is 845-362-0013. Please note, WRCR is now on 1700 AM dial. The show is also live on the internet at: http://www.wrcr.com.
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
If you plan to come to the Veterans Service Agency office, please call to make an appointment so we can give you the time you need: 845-638-5244.
Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County
20 Squadron Blvd., - Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
RockVets website: http://www.rockvets.com
RockVets newsletters: http://www.rockvets.com/newsletters