Local veterans weigh in on VA investigation - WSMV News 4

Local veterans weigh in on VA investigation

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The secretary of Veterans Affairs had to answer his harshest critics Thursday, many of whom are calling for him to step down. Secretary Eric Shinseki faced a Senate panel in the midst of an investigation into a claim that 40 veterans died waiting for care in a Phoenix VA hospital. Area veterans are split on whether they believe the VA should face change.

With a wall covered in medals, patches, and dog tags, Lance Corporal Warren Bone of Pegram has a deep pride for his time in the Marines and serving in the Vietnam War. Despite the fire fights and violence he witnessed, Bone said a file he claimed to treat post traumatic stress disorder was denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

"Since my job was as a mechanic, they said there was no way I could've been in combat," said Bone. "We were getting mortared on a regular basis."

Bone said he was qualified for Agent Orange classifications but denied his claim for hearing loss and denied a PTSD claim.

"That's enough," said Bone. "After all that, I'm tired of fooling with it. If I had to vote for something right now, I'd say to scrap it."

Bone said he's hoping to see major changes to the VA come as a result of the investigation into misconduct.

Marcia Dickens of Shelbyville has a very different story with the VA. Her husband, an Air Force veteran, has Alzheimer's and is being treated at a VA hospital while she's allowed to stay at the Murfreesboro Fisher House next to it.

"I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't brought him to the VA," said Dickens. "I don't think my husband would be here. I hate to be emotional, but when it's your husband, and you know, you just do everything you can do for them. This was the last thing I thought I could do for him, and it's the best."

Dickens said the arrangement by the VA has eased her stress and allowed her to see her husband in the best health he's been in a long time. She said she hates seeing so much negativity for a department that's done so much for her family.

"I know he wouldn't have gotten the care, and I'm very happy," said Dickens. "I really don't know what we'd have done without VA or Fisher House."

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