May 30, 2011
Eric Shinseki, Secretary Veterans Affairs
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Over the past months I have written you concerning my perception of VA executives violating and mistreating America’s Honorably Discharged Veterans at the Dayton VA Medical Center. The allegations of discrimination in hiring, the lack of will to help Veterans secure employment through the Veteran’s Industry Department and the horrible service within the Mental Health Care Line continue and they can no longer wait for process to take it’s time. We are desperate. With Veterans depressed from poverty and seeing no way to a recovery from psychological injury, some self imposed and some from service to country, I am no longer willing to exercise patience. While there has been miniscule movement towards repairing these ills I do not see enough progress to begin to equal the offenses I have eye-witnessed. A Vocational Rehabilitation Department unwilling to put forth the smallest effort has broken the back of our imperturbability and I report that I see no qualitative redemption in sight, Sir.
After my latest meeting with the Acting Director, Bill Montague, where he informed me that I would never be employed here as a result of my contacting your office as well as multiple other stations of power, I do not foresee a way forward without a change in strategy. While I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, late but sure, his sports metaphors have now been clearly understood. He told me “you kicked dirt on the umpire” meaning I am being penalized and thrown out of the game. With “the game” being gainful employment or the ability to contribute or be of service on the center and helping Veterans recover. I find his call illegal retaliation and retribution and I absolutely intend to respond as if a crime has been committed against my person.
While “the process” has been enduring, Veterans are suffering and some have even died waiting while I promised them we would achieve victory. I gave my word and for some, I have failed.
Throughout my experiences, even when Veterans have volunteered to stand with me I have insisted that they not become involved or risk their security, seeking to shield them from the retaliation and retribution I knew would surely follow such action. I no longer hold that opinion.
Therefore I am proposing the following:
During the Month of June 2011, I will began to utilize my experienced and exceptional organizing sales skills to group Veterans into a formidable protest against this Center. I will organize this protest outside of the Dayton VA where I will forward my concerns to the Main Stream Media in hopes of gaining the necessary public support to right these wrongs. If I fail I am prepared to take this show on the road. After a sustained protest here I will began to move this peaceful assembly to Washington DC, outside of Congress, where I have long standing contacts, a history for veracity and have also garnered a semblance of reputation and support for my concerns.
This can be avoided with sincere communication and an immediate change of direction within the Veterans Industry Department and a righting of my being wrongly denied a position on the center. After a thorough review of the management philosophy of Bill Montague and the documented manner in which he “privatized” the Vocational Rehabilitation Department in Cleveland via turning it over to Volunteers of America (VOA), we stand to lose far too much. In fact, even here at the Dayton VA, VOA has not accomplished very much. Other than when you came to cut the ribbon on the Homeless facility I have witnessed no progress. I do not believe President Obama’s intention was to over-medicate and warehouse America’s Honorably Discharged Veterans. Personally, I think the President’s vision had a bit more rehabilitative and sustainable restoration with a future towards a substantial renewal as his goal. That is certainly not happening here.
The current Service Chief of the Mental Health Care Line, Dr. Victor Knapp, received a letter from me on February 8, 2010 that he has yet to respond to or even acknowledge was ever written to him. My best guess is he that he arrogantly feels that though the American people pay him to provide a service, his duties do not include seeing Veterans as significant enough to answer their letters and his responsibilities do not mandate a response to Veteran’s concerns. Sadly, I do not see the will nor even the hint of a way forward on these troubling issues. While they invest time analyzing me, concluding that I am intellectually insecure needing to be reassured that I have a brain, I am moving forward with the mission at hand. I have not the will nor time for self-serving obfuscation on these important issues or their foolishness in attempting to divert attention away from the truth that their policies portend suffering. Even a vaguely prescient person can see the end of their plans. While they are obsessed that I will receive some puerile vicarious catharsis from watching them finally do their jobs it is ultimately the look on the face of a Veteran who has a job that is my goal, which is priceless for me. Our local numbers of unemployed Veterans are escalating, our mental health is deteriorating, our depression is dominating and we need jobs! Work creates pride, a reason to continue living and has been scientifically proven to exponentially lower the current rates of Veteran suicides. My sole interest is that Veterans redeem their lives and I will not allow the myself luxury of indulging their vainglorious hypothetical of my motives. In spite of their speculations I am a serious man and saving the lives of Veterans is my sole concern. Like you, I am all in and I fully intend to serve America and complete this mission sir.
In my humble opinion the Dayton VA, by refusing to honor these rehabilitative services, is violating Veterans’ constitutional rights by denying these guaranteed benefits which are our property by virtue of our having Honorably served. The Fifth Amendment of our Constitution is a guarantee of freedom from unjustified governmental deprivation of this property. Unless you agree with this plan to deny and/or privatize Veterans benefits, no meaningful vocational services or with Guy Richardson and Bill Montague committing acts of retaliation and retribution against Veterans, I anticipate hearing from you, Sir. If not, I do understand and I will continue to respect, and honor your love for this country and your self sacrificing service to this nation. I will also continue my plan for the month of June ‘suit up” and embark on a determined long summer.
My Very Best regards.