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They Gave Him Back A Life: More Than Just Being Alive

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Once again, Larry Scott, Founder and Editor VA Watchdog dot Org (

), has brought to our attention something I want to share with us all. From a video of ABC World News with Charles Gibson, Thursday, August 21, 2008; Length of video is 4:39, posted on YouTube (



TBIs -- Traumatic Brain Injuries in other wars would often result in yet another KIA. Since then, much has been done to improve battlefield-medicine. The result, today, many TBI victims are saved.

Yet saving their lives is only the first step in what all too often winds up being a long and tortuous journey; a journey for which the end, time and again, is never in sight. That's where a group of NYC firefighters came in. Because of these men, who I would call my brothers any day, a TBI injured marine was given back a life. Yes, the VA kept him alive, giving him HIS life. However, it was the NYC FD 'soldiers' that gave him back A life, one as he wanted it to be.


It does not matter what his name is, or exactly where he was injured. Let's just say he is a current-day servicemember who had he been injured such that even a few years ago he would not still be with us today. Yet he is...

The Journey Begins; A Decision Must Be Made

After months of the finest medical and PM&R; (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) treatment for TBIs offered anywhere, a point is reached where a decision must be made concerning a servicemember's continued stay at a VA Med Center, 'just' to receive PM&R; therapy. This is a question I myself am well aware.

A Little About How That Type Of Decision Affects Me

As a tetraplegic I'm entitled/need PM&R; three to five times a week. The VA would gladly provide me this physical therapy if I had the time to go to the Northport VA Med Center each day. Even if I was unable to leave my home, they would gladly provide me therapy one or two days a week; at least something. However, since I work five days a week it's 'Xin Loi G.I.' -- 'sorry about that.' The VA will not provide me physical therapy at my workplace, period.

A Decision Made And Help Obtained

Our Marine decided he wanted to be home with his family. The VA explained that his needed daily therapy would be cut to one day a week. Still, it was at home he wanted to be.

NYC Fire Department Members To The Rescue

Every day, a group of NYC firefighters volunteer their time to ensure the needed physical therapy is provided, giving our wounded a life as he wants it to be.

Would it not be something if all our various organizations would do something similar...

September 1, 2008

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

--- Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, 1898

A happy Labor Day to all.

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt