by AMBER KELLY Photographer
Veterans Affairs agencies throughout the country are currently under investigation for faked numbers and withheld documents concerning veterans receiving medical care.
In Washington State, an official working for Veterans Affairs is accused of double booking and reporting false numbers in order to hide the amount of soldiers who died awaiting care. Even more than that, the agency did not fully report on the number of suicides that occurred.
An official in the Phoenix Veterans Affairs office, Sharon Helman, is similarly accused of forging documents. Along with other officials in the agency, Helman reportedly kept fake books in order to make it look like veterans were receiving care as quickly as possible, when in reality they were not.
According to reports from various news outlets, at least 40 veterans died while waiting to receive medical attention from the agency. Furthermore, veterans were forced to wait multiple months until they received care from a single physician.
“It’s horrible that this has been happening. These soldiers have done everything for us, but we can’t even get them medical care in a timely fashion? These people have tried to cover this up, and that’s disgusting. I don’t understand how people can even try to cover up veterans dying. This issue must be fixed and the officials responsible better be punished; not just fired, but prosecuted by our judicial system,” says senior Ryan Jendras.
While visiting the Arlington National Cemetary, President Barack Obama praised our soldiers. Although he did not specifically talk about the Veterans Affairs scandal, he talked about our soldiers in the highest regard and stated how we must do more for our veterans. On the topic of American soldiers, President Obama said, “these Americans have done their duty.”
American television personality Montel Williams spoke to a crowd in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina about America’s veterans. Having served in the U.S. Marines, Williams felt passionate about the Veterans Affairs scandal. He promoted a surge in medical care for veterans and went on to say how he visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center frequently.
“I respect Montel Williams for this public speech. He’s right and his speech is even more effective because of the fact that he served in our nation’s marines. Our soldiers deserve more than what our Veterans Affairs agency has been doing,” says senior Jennifer Park.
Williams went on to say how fewer celebrities are visiting the troops.
“We’re at war. Guys are still dying. How dare this nation treat us this way,” said Williams to the crowd before him.
Government officials are continuing their investigations into the Veterans Affairs scandal to see if any more wrongdoing has occurred. Officials like Helman are being asked for comment and being individually investigated as well. As of now, Helman has neglected to directly comment to the press about what has occurred and her involvement.
Hopefully this investigation is thorough, and all transgressions against our veterans through this agency is brought to light, with those responsible properly punished.
How do you think those involved in the scandal should be punished?