78 years old
from Mescalero, New Mexico
You can read more about Theodore Harvey here
“…There are an estimated 190,000 Native American veterans today, according to the DoD.
Yet recognition for these warriors, as well as other critical benefits, lags behind other veterans, many of whom already are struggling to collect their dues.
According to statements from VA officials, wait times for benefits are nearing one year for most all veterans, up to perhaps two years in major population centers. The numbers of those waiting also have skyrocketed since 2009, up from 11,000 to a high of 245,000 waiting in line by the close of 2012, CNN’s Jennifer Rizzo reported.
Yet Native Americans are only half that lucky, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Healthcare Disparities for American Indian Veterans in the United States.”
“AIAN (American Indian/Alaskan Native) veterans have 1.9 times higher odds of being uninsured compared with non-Hispanic white veterans,” the report states. They also are “significantly more likely to delay care due to not getting timely appointments,” they are unlikely to get through on the phone and frequently have transportation problems.
Sometimes people help – Sabo almost always has a crusade to occupy his spare time. Whether its wading through VA paperwork or even driving veterans to appointments, he’s there for them.
“I have a son who’s an ex-Navy Seal, he has PTSD,” Sabo said. “I have a step-son who’s in the Army now. When my son came back from Afghanistan, he had major problems. There are veterans out there that need help.”
Sabo has helped many individuals – from a police officer in the community that couldn’t move with pain after retiring from the Coast Guard to a disabled paratrooper left without income, Sabo’s been there.
But he’s just one man, and the lists of those that slipped through the cracks seems to grow by the day, “because there just isn’t anyone else to turn to,” he said. “You have to know how to work the system. You have to word things properly so the VA understands. The bureaucracy of the VA is so thick, I swear they want to tell you, ‘no you don’t deserve it,’ just so they don’t have to deal with you anymore.”
Small gestures throughout the years – this veterans bill, that veterans monument – may make for nice showpieces, but, in most cases, they miss the mark for veterans that only want what they have already earned – life after service.
“A lot of people coming out of Vietnam were spit upon, ridiculed – ignored,” Sabo said. “Like many other service members, myself included, Harvey has (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). At times he has violent fits, depression – some people turn to alcoholism. He was found a number of years ago, half-dead, lying in a vacant house. He was basically thrown away by society. Part of the reason I did this, I explained to his daughter, to his niece; he was an honorable, respected warrior who served his country. What happened afterwards was because of PTSD. His daughter, who hadn’t talked to him in years, cried. She didn’t know all of this. Now she came back and honored her father. That’s the story behind this – because of PTSD, and some of the real problems, the crap that we go through, families don’t know what to do with soldiers coming back.”…”
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When
There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look
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