Sgt. 1st Class Barbara Ospina, now retired, is paralyzed and kept to a wheelchair all day due to excruciating pain. What has caused such a thing to happen to this soldier, you may ask? Oh, it's quite simple—she had a spinal surgery in 2004 on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and they left her like this; instead of fixing the issue, they made it worse. She claims medical malpractice and now she went to the DVA (or Department of Veteran Affairs), and has requested payment for the suffering she deals with on a daily basis, and for the government to care for her caregiver that cares for her now. The DVA refused to accept her need for a caregiver, and now she has a lawyer and may be suing for her rights as a Veteran.
I host a weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events. People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this—it can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.
It was inspiring to connect with Lauren Alexander, Founder of the non-profit organization called Canine Champions for Veterans (formerly known as Canine Companions for Veterans) on Episode 2 of Get Up Nation®. She and her staff are saving the lives of veterans by deploying service dogs that help men and women heal from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Military Sexual Trauma at no cost to veterans or their families. Her work is truly noble, as the cost of raising and training a service dog can reach nearly $40,000.
Veterans Benefits, Explained Simply
I have been working with ex military vets who have kindly shared their horrific war stories with me. As Soldiers... We soldier on. This was a repeated phrase used by many of our heroes. I have been connecting with soldiers and turning their stories into monologues working with a company called Iconic enterprise. With the stories, I have written them into performance pieces for our event to bring awareness to these outstanding people. I have shared three of my monologues below to help bring awareness of the pain and suffering our soldiers are put through, many suffering from PTSD.
Freedom is something many Americans take for granted, but for every day we enjoy our freedom is a day a military member has served fighting for it. Whether they are active soldiers or veterans, these brave souls have put their lives on the line to protect our nation's civilians.
Our country depends on security. It depends on this because if we are vulnerable to attack or defeat, we fracture. Being in the military is not an assigned career. It's a choice that men and women make freely every day. A soldier goes where his commander tells him to go. He shoots who he has to shoot. Fights through trenches, mud, water, fire, hail, rain, and snow.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that America might be going through an era of turbulence right now. Both sides of the political spectrum are, arguably, more at odds than ever before (not including the Civil War, obviously). Despite our differences though, we should all be able to come together and respect those who have fought to keep our country safe—our honorable veterans.
You served your country well, you met a bunch of new friends, and you learned to love the military lifestyle. Or, maybe you just did one tour in Iraq, only to find that you're alright with being a "one and done" type of veteran. Either way, you're working your life back into the civilian world and you need a new way to support yourself.
There are few bigger sacrifices that an individual can make than fighting for their country. Around the world, our military helps to keep our citizens and civilians everywhere safe from terror. Though much respect and admiration is extended to the American veterans of foreign war, considerably less help and resources are available to these brave men and women when they leave the armed forces.
So, you just met the person of your dreams and now you’re faced with the reality of dating a veteran of the US military. Don’t fret. It can be one of the most worthwhile experiences of your life.
I’m not sure whether it was the mini-movie marathon, the introspective sounds of the late, great Fela Kuti, or a combination of the two, but I recently realized that I had suppressed some memories from my first and only tour of duty.