Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Greg M Speaks, Part 2

Angry - " Ok, so what happened that got you so upset that you threatened to remove the head of one of the security people? That's the reason you got discharged, correct? "

Greg - "Well, the simplest answer is I cracked under stress, and took something the wrong way and ran with it for 2 weeks. In the simplest terms, I panicked. I really thought they were intending to steal my car, which was the last thing of value besides my computer, that I owned. I mean it really freaked me out. And now, after the fact, I am angry that the home didn't show any "care" about my mental state of mind during that time. I mean, here I was stressing out and they acted as if they could care less.  "

Joe - "How so?  What was stressing you out at the time? You had no responsibilities, were being fed, had a warm bed to sleep in, and all you had to do was heal up from your heart operation. How stressful can that be? I mean its not like you were working full time and were chasing the ole time clock like I have to do 5 days a week."

Greg - No Joe, I wasn't chasing a clock the way you were, but I was in a way. I had specific times for meals, if I wanted to eat that slop they served in the main dining hall.  There were other things adding to the stress.. but let me back up a moment. I've always had a car. When I arrived at the home I had a little Mercury Topaz with a 4 banger engine. I had 250k on it and drove the wheels off of it. Damn good little car too. One of the best I ever owned.  Well, when I got to the home I knew something was wrong with me physically as I could not walk the east -west length of the compound carrying 2 2liter bottles of pop in a back pack without needing a half hour nap afterwards. By this time I had already sold or gotten rid of most of my personally owned stuff, as the money from the sale of that stuff, provided my car insurance payments. In just over 2 years I went from having a nice 2 bedroom apartment with walk out and garage, to owning practically nothing and not having any home at all. I went from being able to work 70 hours a week, to just being able to walk for about 1/4th of a mile. I gained weight, lots of weight. I went from 210 lbs to 360. OWCH. I lost all of that, and more before I came to the veterans home. I went from a productive citizen to one who was now dependent on government. The stress from that alone was damn near unbearable. 
  Well just before the surgery, I got rid of the old Topaz and bought a Grand Prix. Bigger car, bigger engine. And like the year before, during the winter time, the members had specific places to park their cars so the snow crews could come in and do the plowing.
  Didn't have any problems the two winters. But the third winter season started out a bit ruff and that's where I got kicked out.
  The home put up notices, that contained a graphic of a car being towed away. And that angered me. How dare they threaten veteran members with having their cars towed away! Especially the dorm unit guys who had little or no income to use to recover said cars if they got impounded and towed. So when Josh (security guy) Put up a notice on the Rankin 3 bulletin board, I told him that I felt sorry for anyone who towed a veterans car.. the legal repercussions would be horrendous.  Well, he took it the wrong way and wrote me up for an incident. And that's where this whole damn thing started.
   A week later, I came back with a bunch of guys from a Meijers run and once again, our parking area was filled with 2nd shift employee cars. So I parked in front of Rankin 3, about 3 car lengths down from the chapel entrance. Since I didn't go anywhere for a few days, the car sat there with no one messing with it. About 3 of us parked there regularly.
   Then on the 3rd of October, I found the towing citation on my car. THAT sent me ballistic. It was bad enough with my condition that Doc Edgar would not recommend I get a handicap sticker for my car. I mean I was limited to 25lbs lifting. Carry a Meijer bag with 2, 2 liters of Coke or Pepsi in it, from the back lot to my room, and I needed a 15 min nap. Heaven forbid I actually had 4 bags of stuff.
  Due to the fact that the home could not (or would not) provide me with a diet the VA hospital recommended, and due to their low quality meals, I supplemented my own meals.  Let me go into a bit more detail here.
   A non income person (someone without any income what so ever) gets 5 dollars a week for personal use by the Michigan veterans trust. A person with income, has to pay for their cost of care. Anything above that, they may keep. But at 2100+ dollars a month (depending on the individual) most people with any kind of income, did not pay their cost of care in full. They were allowed to keep 100 a month. Well as I said before, I was selling off my possessions to pay for car insurance. Once I got Social Security disability, I got the 100 a month. But even with my perfect driving record, with Michigans no fault insurance which is a nightmare, my insurance costs were 85 a month for PL and PD, the state minimums.
  Luckily the America Legion Auxiliary had the poppy program at the home, and I was able to participate in that. I got paid 60 bucks to make 1000 of them, and I did about 3000 every two weeks. This paid for my cell phone and extra food, that I would get to supplement the terrible diet the home fed us. Ya know its bad when one of the staff nurses who used to work in the state prison system tells ya that the prisoners had better meals.
   I would get boxes of Breakfast Cereals, and extras for salads, and things I could nuke up in the microwave, that were shelvable. I had my own plate, bowl, and stuff to cook with, and I actually made spaghetti several times, using sauce I bought at the store because I hated the tomato and water they served as a sauce down in the main dining hall. If I wanted extra Veggies for salads I would go and get them in the morning of the day I knew we were going to have a salad bar, and then have them ready to go in plastic containers that I took to the chow hall. This included my own salad dressings. I even bought a box of Miracal Whip packages, so that I could have them for days we had sub sandwiches. Took me almost a year to go thru all 500 packets.
   So anyways, if I made a run to the store and had to bring this stuff up in those cloth Meijer bags, I would have to make 2 to 4 trips to my car, due to weight limitations. So when I could not find a place to park in the member parking area, I parked in front of our building by the chapel entrance, which drastically shortened the distance.
  So when I found that citation on my car, I went ballistic, Got angry and wanted those idiots to know they had no business threatening to steal a member veterans car. I just did it the wrong way. By the time I had realized it, it was too late to change what had happened."

Angry - "Was that what they were really doing?"

Greg - " In retrospect, probably not, but at the time, in my state of mind, that is how I saw it.  2 years of the staff not listening to veterans at the Dorm Council meetings, and now this? I wanted to make sure they understood that if they towed my car, there would be serious repercussions including the possibility of my becoming totally unglued, even with my condition. So I told them the first idiot who had my car towed would be the first to go to the hospital to have their head reattached - and I did it in writing, not verbally.   This I gave to security.
    I then made a copy of that and added more and gave it to Gary Davis, Veterans Rep at the home, asking him how the hell we were supposed to park in the designated area when it was filled with employee cars?!! 
   After 3 days without a response and seeing those flyers being plastered all over the place, I decided to act again.. (dummy me). I took some Avery return address labels and printed out "Think safety, think what will happen if you tow a veterans car, you cannot afford the price you will pay." and started slapping them on every one of those flyers that I could find. I was still VERY VERY angered at their using that towing graphic. So, After a few days of that, I finally calmed down and one morning it hit me.. and I said "oh crap, I just blew it..".. So I figured I was gonna get 3 to 5 days out seeing how this was my first screw up at the home.
   But that is not what happened.  Dwight Ferguson, the Titled counselor for Dorm unit guys, who really didn't do any counseling, came to my room on the evening of 9 October and told me I had a meeting with Sara Dunn the next morning. Sara was by some political action, declared to be the permanent head administrator of the home. It was to be my first and only time I talked to her while I was a member at the home.
  So the next morning I went down, knocked on the door, walked in and was asked by Gary Davis if I knew why I was there. I said yes, that I screwed up and took something the wrong way and kinda ran with it for 2 weeks. I was NOT ready for what happened next. That's when they told me they wanted me out that day. Since my Disability check did not arrive for another 2 weeks I told them it was impossible, and told them why. So they got a loan from the bank for me so that I could put gas in my car and move my stuff out that day. It took me 4 trips to Kalamazoo and back.

  No Due process, no facing my accusers, NO consideration of the fact that Josh's write up contained a suggestion that someone talk to me about the incident.. They failed to listen to their own staff, which is what the dorm unit council meetings showed us.. It was one of the major problems facing the members at the home. They still do not listen to their staff.

Now understand this. Every one of us on Rankin Dorm, were Thankful to the People of Michigan for giving us a place to stay and help us get our act together. But little did we know that our financial futures were being threatened too. Talk about a mind job.  The home was stressing us out with the way it was being run, while we were trying to heal up from various medical issues. Its kind of like hitting the hand that is feeding you.. sooner or later it won't feed you.. but the problem was not the hand, but the people running it.  We veteran members had no voice, and no rights. We were treated as if we were stupid morons even though many of us had college degrees.

What people do not know, is that the cost of care at the home, accrues, and later in life, if a veteran ever comes across a large sum of money, by inheritance or winning the lottery, the state of Michigan will try to collect that money for their care.  The longer a veteran stays at the home, unless he stays until he dies, the larger the debt becomes. And they WILL try to collect if they can.

 This means a contract is in effect, and the home breaches that contract numerous times, and give us no voice in how our money is being spent, or how much they are charging us. They should be sued for the massive amount of fraud that they do every day. 

When I got there, there was a nurse on staff in Dorm 24/7. When I left they had 1 "Part time full time" nurse named Kathy. We call her part time because she always says "its not my job".

And understand this. They also commit bank fraud and mail fraud almost on a daily basis.
When I got my final hearing for Social Security disability, the judge asked me where to send the check. I said my home address which was registered in Plainwell, Michigan.

Yet some how that check got to the home, and they rubber stamped it or forged my signature, (I have no idea which), as I never saw it. To this day I will swear that I never got it.  But they said they had it and put MY part of it into the member bank.. Well, I couldn't even get my money out!. My car needed repairs and I was limited to 500 per day withdraw from the bank. Had I gotten the check, I could have cashed it, Taken the home their part and got my part that same day, ALL of my part of it.
AND the dam thieves had it for 3 days before I found out they even had it!   This is just one of the criminal acts they do on veterans there.

Continued >

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