Friday, February 24, 2012

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans: Crime in progress part 20 News flash!

What do the veterans need to do to bring about changes that are needed at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans?

Veterans are being forced to pay for meals that are substandard. 3 times this week their dinner consisted of soup and and a sandwich or salad. Tonight, Friday they were served 8 thin slices of salami, or 2 peices of low sodium cheese on white bread, choice of Half a cup of tomato soup or Black bean market soup. That was dinner. Next meal is 13 hours away at breakfast.

The last thing these guys need is fatty food like Salami. Add to the insult of only half a cup at a time of soup, and you realize these guys are getting NOTHING that is solid food. It is no wonder many get hungry towards midnight and end up snacking on the wrong kids of food because it is the only thing available to them. Meaning, they raid the candy machines for high sodium chips stuff.

It is being reported that Rankin's Dom unit, (the dormitory unit) had its monthly meeting this week. Present were Acting commandant Sara Dunn, chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs James Dunn, another man who claimed to be the new ombudsman for the home, and various Rankin Staff members were present. James Dunn was asked by one of the veterans if he would be willing to meet with veterans in a separate meeting, without any staff members, because some veterans were afraid of speaking up, due to threats of reprisal by staff members.

Dwight Furgasson (SP?) one of the Rankin counselors stated that there were no such treats, and that the veterans did not feel that way. It is being reported that 2 other veterans who attended the meeting then stood up and stated that what the first veteran had said was true, and that they too were being told that people would not stand up and speak up out of fear of being targeted and kicked out of the home. Also, that there were many issues dealing with the staff, that needed to be addressed, and so those veterans did not want to speak up with those staff members being present.

Jim Dunn did not answer the question directly. The question was dodged when they started talking about the veterans who feared to speak up.

Also, just last night I was informed by 3 separate veterans on 3 separate occasions thru out the day, that someone has a voice recording of Dwight Furgeson (SP?) stating words to the effect that, "if anyone from Rankin contacts the Press, and gets them to report in a bad way about the home, that people on the unit would suffer greatly". I am trying to get a copy of that audio and if I get it, I will post it.

Another complaint I am hearing a lot about is that many staff members, including and specifically, the social services director Gary Davis are telling veterans that it is a privilege for them to be here at the home. Only recently have some veterans started telling Davis and the other staff members, that it is a PRIVILEGE for them to work here on taxpayer dollars, and that we earned our right to be here with our service to our country.

And finally, a news flash: US Department of Veterans Affairs is being contacted tonight because a member is filing harassment charges against the home and the staff.

Decorated Vietnam Veteran, and former Detroit Police officer, Fred Plicta is filing a complaint about being targeted and harassed by staff members, for creating a hostile environment for veterans, and illegal detainment.

Fred Plicta has had his power wheel chair taken away from him because of his driving, which they claim is bad, but which is proven to be better than a lot of other veterans in the home.
Then they claimed it was because Fred drinks (alcohol). It is being reported that Fred was in his room, and they demanded he take a breathalyzer test, and he blew over .08 which is legally drunk in the state of Michigan. Fred, suffering from agent orange exposure, is slowly wasting away and weights 110 lbs soaking wet. As a result of his test, Fred is being held against his will, in his room and is being told he cannot leave the room, under threat of being moved to the court yard (lock up).

Last we knew, drinking was not a crime in Michigan and since Fred does not drive, and has to use a manual wheel chair, being drunk in his chair shouldn't be seen as a crime either.

More on this as information becomes available.


  1. I am a Dom. resident, and fully support the writers comments, actually they are ABSOLUTELY factual. I myself (resident for more than 2 yrs.) when he states that residents that attempt to stand up for their rights, they are sigled out by staff for reprisal! This individual he spoke of, Dwight Fergeson, LCSW is charged with duties that include assessing those members who are to be punished for various infractions, be they trivial or major, and deciding their fate, if you live here on a pension, your pretty safe. If you are among the otherwise homeless he almost seems happy to show you the door! My major issue with this is that his office is on the second floor, however his girlfriends office (she has nothing to do with discharges or discipline) is on the 3rd floor. So why is it that most of his day is spent in her office with the door closed. I don't think we or the taxpayers appreciate spending their money for the 2 of them to do "what ever" all day in her office. If he is charged with enforcing rules, he should be setting an example to be followed don't you think? Live here and bring that complaint to the proper authorities and see how long you last!!!!! Signed: someone who has resided himself to being a 3rd class citizen !!!

  2. As a long suffering vet living on the Rankin Dom. Unit, I fully concur with the writer. On the issue of this LCSW Dwight Fergeson: not only is he suppose to be an active engaged advocate for his half of Rankin 2 and 3 members, but he charged with determining punishment for those who have been "accused" of infractions. This can range from a warning to expulsion. The norm seems to be that punishment is metered out by who you are not nessiserily the infraction. Over the years I have lived here, I I found that he seems to almost delight in this power, and the fear and intimidation it can bring. MY ISSUE with this is that his office is on the second floor, and his girlfriends (she has nothing to do with discipline), her office is on the 3rd floor. It is well known by the residents here that the majority of his day is spent in HER office with the door closed. I don't think that we members and any taxpayers who should be apprised of this would appreciate knowing that their hard earned money is being used to finance the BMW he drives while he spends his day behind his girlfriends office door doing god knows what all day! Well except when he steps out to put one of us out on the street because we aren't part of the 'In' crowd! God help the member who raises this issue, see how long you last? Yet when we ask our ombudsman for a private town hall style conferance so we may voice our concerns without fear of reprisal we are left swinging in the wind!!! We truly are becoming the forgotten few! Just keep telling us "you'll look into it and get back to us"

  3. Come on guys, speak your piece! Let the outside readers know we stand as ONE!! They can't kick us all out, and this way the outside readers of this blog will know the various issues we have. And if they see this, they may be more willing to lend a hand.


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