An Army Veteran that served in Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom recently contacted our foundation because she saw online that we offer grants to Veterans. She had been out of work for a while but she was a few months into working a new job. She was getting back on her feet again. She fought to keep a roof over her head, she kept the power on but her natural gas had been disconnected because of a past due balance.
I had the chance to talk to her on the phone a few times while reviewing her application. It became apparent to me that she had just fallen behind on some bills and she couldn’t get caught back up. I also found out that for about 3 weeks, her options for keeping clean were to either take a cold shower or boil water to get a hot bath.
We are thankful that she took the first step, which was making the decision to reach out and ask for help. The fact though is that many Veterans won’t ask for help because there are so many hoops to jump through when they do need assistance. How could we really blame them for feeling that way? Very little action has been taken to change that mentality so far during my lifetime.
Think about this for a moment, here is a war Veteran who came back home from serving in Iraqi. Is there ever a time where she or any other Veteran for that matter should have to go back to living without all the conveniences they fought to preserve? I say no, there should never be a time where a Veteran goes without shelter, without food or all the conveniences an American way of life offers. America is failing our Veterans. There is an ongoing debate on how to provide more assistance to them but the fizz has gone flat on enacting actions to help. We can sit down and understand how to help them as quickly as we can decide to send them into battle.
Thinking about this Veteran, I realized there are a few mentalities of service within our country. If you have ever been a civilian in a government agency, you know there is no customer service. You are a number and there is a job to do, so wait your turn “we will get to you”. When it comes to private enterprise, the customer is king! Serve your customer with excellence and they will reward you with new clients to serve. If we are ever going to improve care for Veterans, we really need to adopt an expectation of excellence in taking better care those who have served us all.