+ ++ Rio Grande Valley veterans march for a VA hospital they can call their own | Latina Lista
Causes

Rio Grande Valley veterans march for a VA hospital they can call their own

Rio Grande Valley veterans march for a VA hospital they can call their own

LatinaLista — People in the South Texas region, affectionately known as the Valley, have historically been ignored by the state of Texas and Washington. It wasn't until Hillary Clinton singled out the Valley during her failed presidential campaign that anyone took much notice of the people there.
' border=
Valley veterans take to the highway on their march to San Antonio to show how far veterans have to travel for medical care.
In fact, the Valley has always been seen as so "inconsequential" that the Department of Homeland Security, under Sec. Chertoff, thought it would be a breeze to roll into the region and start seizing people's properties to construct the border fence — he was wrong!
In fact, maybe it was the arrogant treatment from Washington of the Valley that awoke in local residents the most recent outrage that is making the Valley's war veterans say "enough is enough."
Their outrage, which has been seething for a while, is the fact that there is no VA hospital for the Valley's veterans. The closest VA hospital is in San Antonio — a four to six hour drive away. While outpatient clinics and contracts have been set up with local hospitals, the veterans say it's not the same as having their own hospital.


So, for the second time in four years that Valley veterans have organized to show Washington they need their own VA hospital. As the Rio Grande Guardian reported, "For decades, the fight for a VA hospital in the Valley has been spearheaded by Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. This march is being organized by the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America group."
So, over 100 veterans and supporters are in the middle of a six-day, 220-mile walk, dubbed the March to San Antonio 2009. Veterans will walk from Edinburgh, Texas to San Antonio to show their determination in getting their own VA hospital.

…“We do not have funds appropriated to build a Valley hospital,” VA spokeswoman Diana Struski said.
Veterans say all that is nice, but not enough, especially when a new generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is coming home.
“Contracts are not a long-term solution,” said Rey Leal, a 25-year-old veteran who served with the Marines in Iraq. “They make the VA more like an insurance company. The VA is not an insurance company. It's a medical provider for veterans.”
Alberto Ochoa, a double amputee, said doctors don't want to deal with VA paperwork and delays, and when they take Medicare, he's charged 20 percent.
“Twenty percent of $70,000 is a lot,” he said.
Other veterans say civilian doctors don't understand their afflictions.
“Most of us just give up,” said Mauro Bernal, a 79-year-old who lost hearing in one ear and was poisoned by radiation in Vietnam.
Andres Narvaez, 64, said veterans put their dream of a hospital in the hands of Democratic candidates who appeared to be letting them down.
“Hillary Clinton promised us one and Obama promised us one, and they didn't come through,” he said. “We need to get attention so they don't forget our plight.”

The Rio Grande Guardian is "embedding" one of their reporters with the marchers. He will be filing stories and pictures each day of the six-day march.
The VA says that the region doesn't have enough veterans to support a VA hospital but given the kind of support this march has garnered from lawmakers and the region, it would seem that some sort of official VA facility could be constructed to honor these men and women's services — who for too long have been forgotten in the Valley.

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Causes

More in Causes

2_462_ca66b9ec-7bf0-43b2-b6ad-7047e3037dc5

Crowdfunder: Four Friends, One Mission — Bringing Clean Water to Latin American Families

Latina ListaJanuary 5, 2016
2_455_7f555b5d-229f-44f3-8008-ba25a3c29d48

Crowdfunder: Creating a non-profit jiu jitsu & boxing program for at-risk kids

Latina ListaDecember 21, 2015
2_448_359da149-444f-4bf2-bf46-6bb69041e851

Crowdfunder: Reconnecting indigenous artifacts with their rightful owners

Latina ListaDecember 17, 2015
2_444_5bd43401-b010-4adc-881e-b04c028635ea

Crowdfunder: Striking the right chord with disadvantaged youth

Latina ListaDecember 16, 2015
2_439_4c4e3772-3dfe-4071-901c-117688fdd817

Crowdfunder: LURUCHA: An original children’s tale to fund a one-of-a-kind school in Peru

Latina ListaDecember 15, 2015
2_434_edf446e6-027e-4749-af26-53be4f0d94ab

Crowdfunder: Introducing the world to the new Cuba Libre!

Latina ListaDecember 10, 2015
2_429_463140fc-4061-400e-bf14-49f08291f6a9

Crowdfunder: Making second chances a sweet success for disadvantaged workers

Latina ListaDecember 9, 2015
2_425_3176a3bd-7a8d-4709-b7d8-0e077729e33a

Crowdfunder: Telling the story of a clinic of the people, for the people and a seed for change in communities across the USA

Latina ListaDecember 8, 2015
2_419_41541324-3d15-4c4f-b3a2-b6b246cf052f

Crowdfunder: Giving artists the space and “print” to stir public opinion

Latina ListaDecember 7, 2015