I’m done beating around the bush. I am done talking about the problems and complaining, hoping that someone will realize what is going on in the VA and come to our veterans’ aid.
Last month, we highlighted a story about how the VA suicide hotline was mismanaged and calls sent to voicemail. We called for the VA Secretary’s resignation and if he refused, his impeachment.
People emailed us all day long saying we were overreacting. We weren't.
News just broke that one of the veterans who called the suicide hotline asking for help and was sent to voicemail actually committed suicide shortly after.
Thomas Young was a 30-year old veteran of the Iraq War. He was suffering from PTSD and, in his time of distress, he reached out to the VA looking for help. They failed him. They couldn’t even be bothered to direct the calls to a live person.
He called on July 23, 2015. That same day, Young laid down on the train tracks and waited for the next train, ultimately committing suicide. Police immediately discovered his body.
On the 24th, a VA official called his cell phone, returning the suicidal message he left with the VA’s voicemail.
Imagine if you were a family member, collecting your loved one’s effects, and then you receive a call from the VA apologizing for missing your family member’s call to the suicide hotline.
This keeps happening and it is unacceptable. No one is being fired from the VA.
VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald is no doubt trying his best. But when veterans are literally laying down on train tracks because the VA ignores them, then his best is not good enough!
I am angry. I’m livid. I don’t think I’ve ever been angrier reading an article.
Out of all the stories we’ve heard about suffering and needless death inside the VA, this is by far the most avoidable. Just answer the damn phone.
But they couldn’t even do that. The VA is so broken that the Suicide Hotline was forwarded to voicemail.
We owe our veterans better than this. When President Obama nominated the CEO of Procter and Gamble, I had high hopes that a person with private sector experience would be able to cut through the red tape and fix the bureaucracy.
He failed. No one has been fired. The people who were actually demoted ended up appealing their case and winning their old jobs back.
And veterans are still dying. They are still dying.
I weep for the plight of our veterans. I literally cried when I read how this man felt so hopeless that he laid down on the train tracks and waited for a train to take his life.
It doesn’t have to be like this. These men and women fought for us and now that they are suffering from the physical and mental wounds of that service, the VA is nowhere to be found.
VA Secretary McDonald needs to be replaced. End of story. When veteran are jumping in front of trains because they can’t even get through to the VA suicide hotline… enough is enough!