In 2007, Sgt. John Peck was serving in Al Anbar province, Iraq. After a daylong search for Taliban, it was time for his patrol to go back to base. Sgt. Peck was manning the machine gun for the lead vehicle. As it rounded a corner the vehicle was hit by a pressure initiated IED. Sgt. Peck suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and long-term memory loss. Despite his injuries, Sgt. Peck begged doctors to allow him to return to combat. His wish was granted, and that’s when his luck ran out.
On May 24, 2010, Sgt. Peck was serving in Helmand province, Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED. The force of the blast sheared off both of his legs, part of his right arm, and damaged his left arm.
Complications caused by the flesh eating fungus, Aspergillosis, forced doctors to have to amputate part of his left arm leaving. Sgt. Peck was now a quadruple amputee.
As noted on his website, his recovery was brutal.
Through the blast and twenty-seven different surgeries, John received forty-one pints of blood, thirty-five units of plasma and five units of platelets, and at one point bled out completely. He was medically sedated from late May to early August, during which he endured daily surgeries to clean out debris and dead flesh and to fight the infection that was slowly spreading through his body. At one point his family received the heartbreaking news that John was living minute to minute and the doctors, sadly, suggested they say their last goodbyes. During his surgeries, he flat lined three times and was pronounced dead once.
Fast-forward to present day. Sgt. Peck must use a specially adapted wheelchair to get around. Several weeks ago, a motor on the wheelchair blew out. He sent it to the VA to have it fixed. When he got his wheelchair back, he “thought it was fixed but it felt very rough and bumpy.” He took his wheelchair home, and then felt “something knocking underneath.” Sgt. Peck then called Keith Borders, his VA case manager. He asked if he could have his wheelchair fixed by a local company. His case manager said he couldn’t do that until the VA approved it or else he wouldn’t be reimbursed. He didn’t hear back from the VA.
That night, Sgt. Peck was putting his prosthetic arm away in his closet like he does every night. He started backing his wheelchair out of the closet when he realized he had no traction. He thought maybe a dog toy had gotten stuck under the wheel, but when he looked down, the left wheel was halfway off the chair. He was stuck.
John was nowhere near his cell phone, or his house phone, so he had no way to call for help. He slowly maneuvered to get off the wheelchair, and onto the floor, taking care not to injure himself. As he was getting off the wheelchair, the left wheel came off the chair completely. Peck crawled 10 feet on the floor to his bed, and got his cell phone. He called his mom and his friend to help him. John then saw what was wrong. Someone at the VA had forgot to put on the main washer and nut that holds the wheel to the chair.
John called his case manager again, letting him know what had happened. Peck states his case manager “was nonchalant about it and had no urgency whatsoever.” Sgt. Peck again told him he wanted to have his chair fixed by a local company. His case manager told him that if he did, he probably wouldn’t be reimbursed.
Regarding the incident, Sgt. Peck wrote on his Facebook page:
I am writing this hopefully this shine some light on how the Veterans Administration treat people. Because it does not affect them they do not care they have job security so therefore they do not put in 100% effort. Their responses are basically coming out of a script, they say they sorry but there is no feeling attached to it. Why is it you go anywhere else and if you’re treated like shit you talk to a manager or supervisor that person is either fired or given unpaid leave but with the VA they can treat you like shit and nothing happens to them.
Truly disgusting how severely wounded veterans are treated by this government agency that is supposed to help them. If I were John’s case manager, I would’ve been making calls all the way up the chain to get approval for the repairs. If an amputee vet has something as important as his or her wheelchair break, they shouldn’t even need approval for repairs. Reimbursement should be automatic. It’s not like they haven’t given enough for their country.
Sgt. Peck gives motivational speeches around the country, and dreams of being a chef some day. He was recently approved for a double arm transplant. We wish him all the best, and hope the VA gets its act together when dealing with severely wounded vets.
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Thank Our Military Servicemen And Women But Praise Our Heroes
With the continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places across the globe, well-meaning citizens are increasingly calling all of our military servicemen and women as well as veterans: heroes.
One could draw an argument that this began with President Bush and the beginning of these current conflicts after the voracious attack by Muslim extremists on 9/11. As a veteran, President Bush visited the troops in the field during unannounced trips and continued his actions by visiting wounded military men and women in the hospital – again without the press.
Without a doubt, this overt display of patriotism by the American public is something that we see more frequently now that President Trump is in office. Indeed, the former candidate and now president, has made it a mission of his to keep his and America’s attention on our military.
Most Americans appreciate Trump’s actions. However, it is now obvious that too many people, pundits, and even military organizations are calling all active duty military as well as veterans “heroes”. Many of us veterans think the word reduces the significance of those whose actions have proven themselves to actually be heroes.
Perhaps this comes from one of the definitions of a hero. Dictionary.com defines hero as
A person who, in the opinion of others, asspecial achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.
However, take a look at a second definition of a hero from Dictionary.com:
A person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.
Please don’t get misunderstand: our soldiers really appreciate your kind gestures and appreciation. Indeed, please feel free to thank them for their service, dedication to their mission, and let them know that you appreciate the sacrifice they are making to their personal and their families lives by choosing to serve our country. However, be aware that the definition of a hero should be anyone who has performed a courageous act of valor for someone else without regard for his or her own safety or life.
For instance, consider those firefighters who entered the smoking buildings of the twin towers in New York City right after the attacks by Muslim jihadists. How about the passengers on Flight 93 who intentionally fought off their attackers resulting in its crashing in a Pennsylvania field, all of whom perished because of their actions?
Then, of course, there are those courageous servicemen and women about whom you’ve read of their receiving the Silver Star or Medal of Honor medals. These are the highest medals available to be given by our military. All of these people deserve to be called heroes!
President Trump recently called veterans ”This Country’s Greatest National Treasure”. This is a perfect description that many of us veterans easily accept.
Just remember: when our military men and women go about the job to which they committed themselves, they are not heroes and they will gladly accept your thanks for their service. However, many of us do ask that you lavish your praise upon our true heroes.
They’re the ones that really deserve it!
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Parasites May Be Killing Vietnam Veterans
Results from a recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has shown that a parasite acquired in Vietnam may be killing veterans of
Vietnam. Indeed, in excess of 20% of 50 blood samples were either positive or “bordering positive” for liver fluke antibodies.
This infection came from eating raw or undercooked fish and results in a rare bile duct cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. The problem is the worms
“can live for decades without making their hosts sick. Over time, swelling and inflammation of the bile duct can lead to cancer. Jaundice, itchy skin, weight loss and other symptoms appear only when the disease is in its final stages,
which is death.”
One veteran, 65-year old Mike Baughman, fought with the VA in order to have them grant his claim. In fact, the VA denied it three times. However, his doctor wrote a letter to the VA letting them know that his cancer was “more likely than not” caused by the liver flukes. Fortunately, he now receives $3,100 per month and knows his wife will continue to receive benefits after his death.
Unfortunately, the VA is still up to their old tricks: refusing to grant veterans their just due for a variety of claims. In this case:
Claims hit a high of 60 last year, with nearly 80 percent denied. Decisions appear to be haphazard. Some are approved automatically. Others, presented with the same evidence, are denied.
For instance, some rejections were based on the fact that parasites were not found in stool samples, but those tests were conducted years after the worms would have died. Other claims were dismissed because the veteran did not report his illness within a year of leaving Vietnam, yet symptoms typically don’t appear until decades later.
VA officials say while they’re sympathetic, it’s up to the men to prove that liver flukes from Vietnam are killing them. They say because the cancer remains rare, it would be unrealistic and onerous to carry out regular screenings.
“This is still a legal process that both the VA and the veteran have to go through, and we will look at each case and all the evidence that is presented to us and make a determination at that point. Certainly any veteran has an opportunity to appeal.”
The lesson here is never give up. If you have to, do what Baughman did: get a doctor’s note explaining that your cancer is due to the worms you acquired in Vietnam!
Go for it and good luck!
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WOW: Homeless Veteran Gives Stranded Woman His Last $20, What She Does Next For Him Will Bring You Tears Of Joy
The holidays tend to make us somewhat introspective about how great most of our lives are. It also makes most of us want to reach out to help those that aren’t as fortunate as we are. If you’re one of the people being helped by a good-hearted friend or neighbor this Thanksgiving, you’re probably especially thankful for the holiday spirit.
Usually those of firmly planted in the middle class take this opportunity to help at a homeless mission or hand out money to people we see on the street. However, one New Jersey native found herself the recipient of kindness from a homeless man who came to her aid just a few days ago. According to Daily Mail, Kate McClure found herself broken down on a dark and lonely road when her angel of mercy came out of the darkness to save her with his last few dollars.
McClure wasn’t sure what she would do until the hhomelessJohnny Bobbitt Jr. selflessly gave her $20 to get home. She was so touched by his kindness that she started a campaign to raise money for her newfound friend who was down on his luck.
“Kate McClure, 27, started the GoFundMe campaign 12 days ago after she ran into trouble on Interstate 95 and Johnny Bobbitt Jr., came to her rescue with his last $20.
Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, McClure said that she didn’t know what to do when she pulled over on the deserted highway just before midnight. ‘My heart was beating out of my chest.’
She phoned her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 38, and asked him to come and get her. It was then that Bobbitt Jr. emerged from the darkness and approached her car.
Because of his kind and caring nature, the couple decided that they had to do something for him, to try and make a perminate change in his life. He truly seemed to be interested in working his way back up to functioning as a productive member of society, he just seemed to have fallen on hard times. Especially after finding out that he was a homeless veteran, they knew that they had to do something for him.
“‘He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal.
‘Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully, with your help, I can be the one to give it to him.
‘He just needs a push in the right direction. I can’t imagine how hard it is. He’s from the Carolinas. He’s a thousand miles from home with nothing, nobody. Things probably snowballed to where he’s living under a bridge.’
Bobbitt told the couple that he wants to live in Robbinsville, New Jersey and work at the Amazon warehouse.
‘He definitely has the drive,’ D’Amico said.
‘He doesn’t want to be on the streets anymore. He wants to be a functioning member of society and not be sitting on a guardrail in Philadelphia.
‘He knows where he’s at and he knows what he has to do to dig himself out,’ D’Amico said.
‘It’s almost impossible to dig himself out if he has nobody and nothing. If we can raise enough money to set him up for a few months, where he doesn’t have to worry about where he’s going to sleep and what he’s going to eat, then he can get a job and go about his life.’
The cash will go toward renting an apartment for Bobbitt and paying for necessities like food, clothing, cellphone, and transportation.
He will also receive a small amount of cash for walking-around money.
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