I have a fellow solider, we didn't serve together but we have things in common, the VA and serving our country. He would like to share his stories and experiences as well with the VA. I am working out the kinks on how I can get others that would like to share their stories onto my blog. Thank you to Tim and look forward to reading more from you!
Here is Tim's story...
PART-1 : When It All Began.
I enlisted when I was 17 years old. Actually, on my 17th birthday. Believe it or not, my brother was my recruiter. I began my service with the New York Army National Guard in the 1/156 Field Artillery as a 36K10 (Tac Wire Operations Specialist). I later transferred to the 101st Signal Batt. as a RATT team chief. I spent eight years with the Guard before going Active Duty as a 00E (Recruiter). I did fours years Active as a recruiter.
We moved from New York to Florida in 2004 where I had my first experience with the V.A. Medical System in Orlando. In all truthfulness, the V.A. in Florida seemed to be a bit more organized then what I was to experience when we returned to New York in 2017. I went to the Northport VAMC in New York and that is where I got my first taste of what the V.A. is NOT supposed to be. I also began working there in the Nutrition & Food Service as what I called, a GRUNT! It was rough especially at my age of 54 but I felt I was hardcore and could make it look easy. I also felt that since I worked there, I might have a backdoor to Veteran services that other Vets may not know about. Was I proved wrong. Many of the staff, not only in the kitchen were not Veterans but also most of the individual departments. For me, when I started working there, my main concern was for my fellow Vets. I had to lock the heels of MANY of the non-vets that worked there MANY times and remind them of what their jobs entailed. Serving Veterans. I even had one 21 year old female non-vet tell me once that she thought the Veterans staying at our CLC's (Community Living Centers / Nusrsing homes) were getting a good deal and a free ride. Guess you can imagine how that went! My fellow Vets that worked there were obvious by the way they cared and carried themselves.
This leads you to stayed tuned for Part-2, " Non-Veterans Working At VAMC's".