Monday, May 13, 2013

GRH4V Expelled veteran: would he return to Dorm Unit if given the chance?

I bumped into one of the guys who got discharged from the home for drinking, at the VA clinic last week. We got ourselves a coke and went outside to the wooded area next to the clinic and sat down and had a nice conversation.

I told him of my discharge, and how I was targeted for expulsion. He agreed with me on that issue.

I asked him if he could would he return to the Dorm unit.

"That", he said, "I am not sure I could do under present circumstances."

He told me he had gotten counseling and had stopped drinking. His social security disability finally got approved with the help of a lawyer. He was living on 1200 a month, staying at a local hotel. Come to find out a lot of past members of the home, were at local hotels, paying special rates for a room for a month at a time, instead of getting an apartment or something. They are not getting any help from VA reps, or anyone. Seems to me they would qualify for section 8 housing somewhere, but like he said, "most of the section 8 housing is in high crime areas, with lots of minorities and lots of trouble.". He went on to say he was trying to avoid the trash people that usually end up at such places. The willful welfare people who never tried to work a day in their lives.

"I miss the camaraderie, the feeling of belonging to a group of guys who all share common experiences. Being around fellow veterans. Kind of like being part of an exclusive club. And for a while there, I finally felt at ease with myself. I was starting to get things together, despite my drinking. That was something I had to deal with eventually, but it got me kicked out sooner rather than later like I had planned."

"I miss going on the unit trips, the Veterans verses staff softball games, Playing bingo, and although I was not good at it, making poppy flowers. I miss sitting around the supper table chatting with friends, and going for bike rides in the summer time. I miss the fishing tournaments we had. Man, that pond is looking worse each year! Haha.

"But I do not miss the people who constantly asked for smokes. The same people every day, day after day. I do not miss the attitude of the staff of the Dom unit. Space Kadet Kathy, and her thinking of us as inmates.. I do not miss that at all. Nor the extremely dry air we got in winter time, and their refusal to do anything about it. My nose was constantly bleeding inside, due to the extremely dry air they had in the winter time. And their refusal to allow the guys to use humidifiers in their rooms at the time, no I don't miss that at all.

"I do not miss the frustration of the Member council meetings that were nothing but bitch sessions, and completely ignored by the staff members. Oh they showed up, when they wanted to complain to us, or threaten us with something - usually for something someone else on other units were doing.

"But most of all, I do miss the feeling of not worrying if I was going to have a warm bed, and a hot meal, (despite the low quality food they fed us).  At least it was a bed, and a meal.

'The thing that is really preventing me from re-applying is the current administrator. I will not re apply even if I am disabled and can no longer function, as long as Sara is top administrator. I watched her destroy that place. At one time it was a home for veterans. Now go there and look at the guys, talk to them.. many feel that they are in prison. Now its just a place to go to wait to die - and not a good one at that.

'They blame it on the economy. And pigs fly. Yeah, it is that way because of poor leadership, poor administrative decisions, and lack of accountability of the staff members.

"So No, I will not re-apply. Not any time soon. "  We continued to talk about things and his hope for the future. He will be qualified to collect regular social security retirement in just 3 years. Right now he is trying to get into an independent living retirement community. But wishes he could find one that is just for veterans.

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