Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans - crime in progress, part 2.

Part 2, The Crimes.

Let us start with the clothing room. When I first arrived here it was open every day.
Now it is open 2 afternoons a week. A Fellow named John and his mother ran the room. Both are volunteers that do not get paid. John's mom had it opened 6 days a week. One day she came to work and found they had changed the locks. The staff told everyone that John and his mom quit. The fact is they got fired without being fired.

Since then various members have photographed and documented workers taking clothing that was meant for members. New jackets, and other things that were specifically donated for the members, ended up being worn by the staff.

The lady running it, is a good friend of Sara Dunn, then acting commandant, who was later denied the job. Sara Dunn was acting commandant when the real one, who was a vet, went on medical leave just before I arrived.

Also, Sara Dunn wasted a HUGE amount of money, some say around 8 thousand dollars, redecorating the commandant's office, thinking she was going to get the job.

Next let's go to to smoking tent. This is a sore spot in all the veterans. You see many of them have smoked all their lives. The military even promoted it until recent years. But now, Michigan passed a law about smoking in public buildings - but made an exception to nursing homes. All that is, except this one. This is home to these guys and gals, but they have no exemption.

When I arrived, there was at least 1 smoking room set up on every unit. Each room had special exhaust fans to suck out the smoke, and members kept them clean. These were taken away when Michigan passed its law. It forced the members to have to go outside - even in winter. So a Plea for help was sent out and people responded. A special smoking tent would be set up on the outside pavilion, near kozy corners, complete with heat for the winter time. The project was supposed to be done in August of 2010.

In December of 2010, a congressional representative came by and said, where is it? That his office was told that the project was done. When he saw that the walls were not even up, crap hit the fan and within 3 days, volunteers were putting up the tent walls on temporary polls that could be removed in summer time. The tent part rolled up and tied up on the ceiling of the pavilion, out of the way. Great. But no heat.
Now, the members had to come out side, thru a double sliding door, and navigate thru about 3 feet of slick sidewalk due to icing, and then another 15 feet to the smoking tent. No heat was inside, but several benches were available. The walls kept the wind down, but it was still an average of only 5 degrees difference inside the tent.
The tent had vents at the top and 2 doors with thick hanging plastic for the doors. Kind of like what you see in grocery store freezer warehouse. Come February and minus 10 degree days and still no heat. Come March and they put the heaters in, only because people were complaining. Come to find out the volunteer who bought and installed the heaters told us that they had been sitting on his dock for 2 months, waiting for GRH4V to call him to come and install them. In other words since December.

So they came and installed them in March. To this day they still have not fired them up and they are still not certified as being usable. It is now June. As far as the members are concerned, this project is unfinished.

We lost over 48 veterans due to pneumonia related illnesses this last winter, mainly due to the fact they had to go outside to have their smokes, with no warm place to go. The project should have been done before the first snow fall. Several were pulled out of snow banks and one man fell near the double doors that lead to the pavilion area and layed there in his PJ's, without any warmth for 5 min's when he fell off his wheel chair and lost his blankets, when he slipped on the ice that was known to form outside that door. You see members are not allowed to assist others who fall down. We have to get nursing staff. And they took too long to get there. We gave him blankets but he was still laying directly on the ice.

This project would have been done if the administration bothered to make sure it was done before winter, but because they don't smoke, they don't care.

Part 3, more crimes next.

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