Dublin couple credit life to VA

For well over a year the Department of Veteran Affairs has been decried for widespread problems. In spite of these issues, one longterm Dublin couple credits the agency for providing affordable care that has kept one hometown vet alive.

“We want to show people that everything is not negative,” Dublin’s Hazel Williams said.

Her husband, Bobby, served in the military from 1954 to 1955. Like many veterans, he was initially too proud to seek assistance but finally did upon his wife’s urging in 1989. 
Bobby has faced multiple problems since he started going to the VA.

He was diagnosed with diabetes and lost lost both of his legs. (The second one had to be amputated last year.) He could technically be designated total disability due to the severe loss of vision.

There’s nothing in his demeanor to suggest these problems. 

“The greatest gift is the fact that he’s doing well,” Hazel said.

Through the assistance of the VA, they have had a new bed installed, a ramp installed to the house and a valet seat that allows him into their vehicle. The VA, with the help of some “very nice friends,” is also helping install a roll-in shower for his use.

He also received a Davinci magnifier monitor that provides crystal-clear magnification (up to 77 times) of items put into the display area. The device also features impressive text-to-speech that can read text in its field of view.

These tools, along with the care he has received, have provided a better quality of life for both Bobby and Hazel.

The VA came under fire last year when the Office of Inspector General released a list of goals following a lackluster audit. Its audit fared no better this year and the agency recently was in the news for complaints of long wait times in VA hospitals as well as the VA’s suicide prevention hotline. (The latter is particularly troubling due to the high suicide rates of veterans.)

VA Secretary David Shulkin is working on some of these issues through more transparency. Last week, he unveiled a new website that will allow veterans to report their wait time at VA hospitals so that veterans can be better informed of their care. The website is located at accesstocare.va.gov.

Bobby and Hazel are aware of the problems but don’t want them to sway any qualifying vet in need from turning to the program. 

“I think vets should look toward the VA for help,” Bobby said. “They’ve taken good care of me.” 

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