Veteran voice


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Veteran voice
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Veteran Voice, LLC
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Port St. Lucie, FL
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Began in 2012

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University of Florida
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VOL. 2/ISSUE 39 THURSDAY, JULY 31, 201435 cents 1 Editors note: This is Part 1 of a two-part story. Part 2 will be published in next weeks issue. Joe Crankshaw is one of a vanishing breed a newspaperman who is also a combat-wounded Army veteran. The vast majority of todays journalists have never Not so for Joe. Never having been formally trained, he nonethe less rose to become a stellar reporter and associ ate editor for some of Floridas, and the nations, indeed the worlds, top newspapers, after having served in brutal combat in the Korean War. As a result, he was in the front seat for a ride through an astonishing amount of American history. He wears his still-thick white hair neatly combed and parted to one side. He is self-effacing, with a dry sense of humor. Though moving a bit slower goes. Actually, he originally wanted to join the FBI, and almost did. His wife put the kibosh on that. The rest, as they say, is history. The Stuart resident, 84, graduated from high school in 1947 in Atlanta, and immediately enlist ed in the Army thereafter. He was assigned to the 287th Air Service Group. At that time, the Army Air Corps was in the process of splitting from the Army, forming the nucleus of the Air Force. We saw the uniforms they wanted us to wear for the Air Force, Crankshaw said. They looked like something Greyhound bus drivers would wear. The stripes were upside down, like the British, and I I wanted a transfer. At the time, Crankshaw was a corporal at the age of 18, something almost unheard of. But I wore glasses. In the Air Force, you couldnt A front-row seat in historys theater: journalist-vets memories that, he said. infantry, which I didnt mind. My grandfa ther was in the infantry, serving from the Indian wars to World War II. But evidently, (being transferred to the threat. I didnt know that. Then came 1950, and hostilities in Korea. cer School (todays Primary Leadership talking about Korea, Crankshaw said. to the news. We hadnt even heard of it. We thought it was going to be a lecture on The CO said combat will make you better leaders, and the 24th and 25th Di visions (Crankshaw was in the 24th committed. Anyone who was infantry was needed. After lengthy train rides from Louisville, Ky., to Chicago, to Seattle, and plane Wake Island to Japan, Crankshaw found himself a member of F Troop, 2nd Bat talion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. phibious invasion of Korean land, at Pohang. Many historians cite the Inchon Mary KemperSTAFF to the news. We hadnt even heard of it. Joe CrankshawSee CRANKSHAW page 4 1


2 JULY 31, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 2 Chuck Hunziker and Bob Collier are called a legacy couple in some circles. The two military veterans have been a couple for more than a half century. Now the Fort Lauderdale pair wants the state to recognize their recent marriage. It was a long engagement, Hunziker said. We wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing, so we waited 50 years. Actually, they waited 50 years because Hunziker and Collier didnt have the option to marry until recently. They did last year in New York. Now theyre part of a federal lawsuit along with seven other same-sex couples demanding that the state recognize their unions. To do that, they have to get courts to overturn a state constitutional amendment voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008. Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized, the amendment reads. On July 17, Monroe County Cir cuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled that the amendment violates the federal 14th Amendment which guarantees due process and equal protection and ordered that the county issue a marriage license to a same-sex Key West couple. General, Pam Bondi, immediately automatic stay. That suit which Hunziker and Collier werent involved in was only one of many in the state and federal courts challenging the Florida Marriage Amendment. tle that everyone knows is losing, Collier said. Hunziker and Collier dont think of themselves as rabble rousers. As far as theyre concerned, theyve never been activists until recently. Theyve always thought of themselves as just two guys who worked hard to cultivate and keep a lifelong love. Interestingly, they met at a beach on Independence Day. I saw this guy, Bob, sitting on a towel with an eye patch on, Hunziker said. I was blown away. Collier noticed Hunziker, too. The two struck up a talk. Before the day was done, they headed to dinner at a cozy Greenwich Village restaurant. I decided that night I was madly in love, Hunziker said. Hunziker, 82, was an up-andcoming Broadway dancer back in the early 1950s. He was also in the Navy Reserves. out of the way, he said. I activated myself. I gave up my dancing temporarily. He ended up on the USS Eldorado from to He started losing weight and coughing up blood. It took the captain noticing that he looked sick before Hunziker got the medical attention hed been asking for. Turned out Hunziker had tuberculosis. Itd progressed to the point of needing surgery. That ended his Navy stint and any hopes for Hunziker to return to professional dancing. So, he headed to college for a business degree. Meanwhile, Collier was doing undergrad then medical studies at Cornell University. The Army started drafting young doctors. Due to a paperwork mix-up, Collier ended up heading to jump school and the 82nd Airborne. At that time, they were just starting the Special Forces and they were looking for volunteers, Collier said. They say in the mili tary to never volunteer. But, I did. He served in the 1st Special Forces Group and did some humani-Love interruptedVeterans sue state to recognize their marriage USS Eldorado in the early Army veteran together for married last eral lawsuit to their mar See SUIT page 3 FOR VETERAN 2


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 31, 2014 3 3 tarian medical missions. At that time, we were trying to win over the hearts of people, Collier said. But come 1963, he was out of the service and sitting on the beach about to meet his lifelong love. The couple lived in and around New York City until they moved to Florida about 17 years ago. While they were in the service, the men had to keep their sexual orientation secret. Even in civilian life, their relationship had to be kept hidden. If they found out you were gay, you could lose your job, lose your apartment, Hunziker said. Collier said staying hidden was Some of the clubs we went to he said. At the time homosexuality was still listed as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It was added in 1952 and remained there until 1973. In the s, the FBI and police departments were making lists of gays. The US Postal Service was also recording addresses that received gay literature. We had to be very, very careful, Hunziker said. But things did change over the course of their 50-year relationship. Now gay service members can be open about their orientation. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. So have 10 Native American tribal jurisdictions. Over the last 11 years, support for same-sex marriage has surged from about a third of Americans to more than half, according to numerous surveys. In 2013 Collier and Hunziker drove to their old home state, New York, to get legally married. On the way back, they felt free to tell servers and fellow diners at restaurants the news. We would say, We just got married, Hunziker said. We had not one negative remark. Now to complete the journey from hiding and fear of discovery to marital equality, Collier and Hunziker want Florida to recognize their union. The men said that theyve never sought support or help from their fellow veterans. litically probably a little bit more conservative, Collier said. It may be changing now. st SUIT from page 2Charles Frederick Tolbert knows its a long shot, but the Army veteran is aiming to edge candidates and a small forest of minor ones to win the Gover nors Mansion come November. No, really, this isnt a show. He means it. A runner who does not get to the starting block cannot win at all, Tolbert said. Regardless of the odds, theres still a percent age of people in Florida who realize theres a person running who could make a difference. The Florida Division of Elec dates for the 2014 gubernatorial race. Most assume that the race has already come down to incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former governor Charlie Crist. Tolbert said as hes gone across Florida campaigning, hes noticed a trend. Nobody wants Charlie Crist said. In such a politically discontent edatmosphere, Tolbert believes an earthshaking Cinderella story is likely. One person changes the world, Tolbert said. When people question whether I can change the world, I tend to Palm Bay veteran aims for Governors Mansion FOR VETERAN VOICEpatrick.mccallister@yahoo.comSee CANDIDATE page 7 3


4 JULY 31, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 4 his unit preceded it. Just like in the movies, a cruis er shelled the beach ahead of us, he said. But no one was there. When the troops got ashore, they started digging foxholes. the North Koreans were down east of us, but they didnt come, so they moved us to the northwest perimeter, he said. Crankshaw was a machine gunner. After Inchon, his unit moved north to meet the North Korean Army, which retreated to the 38th Parallel. The South Koreans werent supposed to advance, but they did, so we had to rescue them, he said. F Troop went on to help capture Pyongyang, for which it received a distinguished unit citation. Crankshaw arrived in Korea on July 17, 1950, and in December, was wounded in hand-to-hand combat. We were on patrol, and we got ambushed, he said. I got gre nade fragments, concussion, a cut on my neck and wounds to my leg but we got out of there, he said. Crankshaw actually has good memories of his hospitalization and convalescence, because of the kindness shown to him and his comrades. Starting from Seoul, wounded soldiers eventually were trans ported to Hawaii. It was a nice hospital, he said. We were in buses, in litters six deep. When we got to the park ing lot, there were all these hula dancers there. That got our attention, he chuckled. But each dancer put a lei on each soldier, and held our hands all the way to the hospital. Eventually discharged from a hospital at Fort Bragg, N.C., Crankshaw was tasked to train National Guard troops at several bases in close combat techniques, like those that saved his own life. At Fort Polk, La., he was train Publisher Partner Managing Editor Mary Kemper Graphic Designer 407-286-0807 (please note county in the subject line) (772) 204-2409 e Voice of Experience ing an Ohio National Guard unit when he was approached by the colonel, Crankshaw said. He said, Crankshaw, its time for you to re-enlist. By then, I was a sergeant, single, living the wild life, you know. He said, Do you think youll from now? I thought about it, and the answer was no. But if you dont go to college, in the new Army, youre nothing. The options were to stay in and by then, youd be too old to be an After his discharge, Crankshaw attended Stetson University in DeLand, but because of his combat service, he couldnt join the ROTC until his junior year. This was unacceptable to him. He joined the Florida National didate School, in effect earning his commission before he graduated from college. Subsequently, he chose to become a member of the Army Reserves. Then Crankshaw found journalism. But that, he said, was an accident. His plan at that time was to become a member of the FBI. I had spoken with a family friend who was employed in the Hoover wont hire you, because youre unemployed. Hoover thought of people not working as shiftless. But Crankshaw had edited a col lege newspaper, and a local paper for one of his infantry units. I felt like I had this choice: I was good at killing people, and newspaper writing. Somehow, the thing, he said, with a wry smile. He applied to any and every publication he could, and eventually The Stuart News offered to pay his expenses to travel there and interview. Stuart was very small in the 1950s. Crankshaw arrived at the tiny depot, not expecting any welcome. Sam Harliss was the chief of police, Crankshaw said. There were about 10 to 20 people standing around. He came up to me and said, Who are you? What are you doing here? When I told him who I was, he said, We have a burglar cornered I felt like I had this choice: I was good at killing people, didnt seem to be the thing. Joe CrankshawCRANKSHAW from page 1 See CRANKSHAW page 9 4


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 31, 2014 5 5 War is felt on both sides World War II was a time of change for the United States. Men and women gladly supported the defense of their country, even to Considered the greatest generation that ever lived, these citizens gave of themselves physically and mentally, setting a precedent for the future growth of the country. Approximately 16 million Amer icans served during World War II. Today, about 1,034,700 veterans of that war are still alive (Source: Most of the survivors are in their 90s. CJ Miller is a former paratroop er from the Armys 511th Parachute Infantry. In 1944 he volunteered to serve his country. In his own words: After a short stint of basic train ing, I was sent to the Philippines as a replacement for those who had been killed or wounded. It was there that I was trained by Fort Bragg instructors as a para trooper. Most paratrooper operations were carried out by 20-man teams who were usually involved in either reconnaissance or the advance of the main forces. When they jumped behind enemy lines, each man carried their parachute, a spare, an 85-pound pack which included their food, clothing, weapons and all the munitions they would need to carry out their area that was reasonably close to the target, a place devoid of trees. Jumps occurred just prior to dawn to avoid being seen. The plane slowed to 120 mph and approximately 400 feet above ground. There was hardly time for the chute to open and about 1 percent of the time, it didnt. In one instance, our objective artillery emplacement that was knocking out our tanks and preventing an effective assault by our main forces on the enemy position. But because of the very dense ground cover, we were unable to make our usual jump behind enemy lines. Instead, teams were ordered, one group at a time, to territory until one or more were unlucky. They found themselves trapped between two well-hidden machine gun nests and were comWith this new knowledge, the second team was able to slip through a heavily mined area to the less-protected area behind. If we found a few booby traps or other remnants, we knew that the enemy had been there the night before and was likely still in the vicinity. We always tried to avoid spotted, quickly slipped away into the surrounding jungle. It seemed like we were playing cat and a weapon was the worst thing we could possibly do because it would give away our position immediately. One night we dug in on a hillside and the Japanese dug in on the opposite side, no more than 100 yards away. When a Japanese to look around and have a smoke, he walked so close to me, I could have reached out and touched his boot. We hardly breathed until he was gone and then, communicating only with hand signals, we slipped away in the opposite direction. on our target at the top of a low-ly ing hill. We moved to a protected area nearby where we called in an order for an immediate air strike and readied ourselves for the assault. When the bombs came down, all hell broke loose, soon as the bombing ceased, we gathered our weapons and used knotted ropes to help us scale the small but steep hillside. We moved in quickly with machine guns, brought the enemy out of their tun nels from the side of the mountain. Ive never seen such a slaughter and I dont often allow myself to think about what happened after that. Getting into a situation like that was tough, but getting out can be even harder. In this instance, we knew that all of the noise would bring other Japanese upon us at any minute, so we got out of there right away. Because of all the con fusion among the Japanese, we were able to execute our planned retreat to a mountain top about a mile away. It was a good choice, because there we were able to watch as the main forces moved in. The Japanese were completely overwhelmed. I could see them scurrying in utter confusion, trying to escape being killed or captured. Others avoided capture by holding grenades to their chests and blow ing themselves up. Seeing this, I couldnt help but wonder, What and authority are being used to bring these two sides together in While in training, soldiers are taught to take orders to preserve the coherence of the group action, but sooner or later, in moments of Its no wonder that some sol diers returning home have problems. CJ Miller relates very few graph time in the military. He prefers to leave those ugly details in the past. The reason: to keep his mind sane. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was known as combat fatigue at the end of World War II. Miller has been able to avoid post-traumatic stress by remembering what was interesting during his avoids thinking about the negatives. This is an important factor, as there is a link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and dementia. In a study of older male combat Veterans and ex-POWs of WWII lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 53 percent and the prevalence of current PTSD was 29 percent. (Source: Mental Disorders and Mental Health Treatment Among U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatients: The Veterans Health Study, American Journal of Psychiatry This is higher than the general population and is due to combat and warzone-related exposures. (Source: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a community group of former prisoners of war: A normative response to severe trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry) At the end of World War II, there was little help or understanding of PTSD. Today though, counseling and medication have been found to help the mind. Other im portant helps are an understanding family, rest, a support group, overcoming the feeling of help lessness, and spending time in nature. Even owning a dog can be recovering from PTSD. (Source: When World War II ended, Miller was in Okinawa. Shortly after atomic bombs were used against Nagasaki and Hiroshima, he was sent up to Tokyo, two weeks prior to General MacAr thurs arrival. He was to ascertain the atmosphere of the Japanese population toward the United States. Miller actually walked into the Dai-Ichi Building and took was over the podium. Entering a police station, he was treated to tea, a sign of respect. Miller also saw Germans, and reported back about the situation on the ground in enemy territory. Today he relates, I hate war and I hate guns. War is expensive and wasteful. Thinking back, he relates that his company once found a Japanese soldier dead on the ground. Inside his uniform was a photo of the mans wife and children. War is felt on both sides, Mill er added. Returning to the United States in 1947, Miller found life radi cally changed as the countrys debt had risen beyond the Gross National Product. Miller earned his way through school and today holds degrees in mathematics, science and electri cal engineering. Retired from GE, a part of his work with the com pany involved teaching statistics to incoming employees. Miller had his own computers at GE and was given a room to work on them. He learned to write computer programs. Eventually searcher, testing operations with statistical analysis. Always ahead of his time, the need for testing was radically reduced during his career with the company. At age 91, Miller is quite clear of mind. He recognizes the state of the economy today as being eerily similar to that just prior to World War II. Miller is a remaining piece of the greatest generation the Unit ed States has ever produced. At time to help others in a lasting way. This is the legacy of those who gave all they had. Hometown Hero tip to Kelly Jadon: Kelly Jadon is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and holds a degree in English with a concen tration on poetry. She is a teach er, poet, and writer. Her book, To Taste the Oil: The Flavor of Life in the Middle East is now available. Find her online at KellyJadon. com. FOR VETERAN VOICE 5


6 JULY 31, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 6 In honor of International Assis tance Dog Week, Dogs For Life, Inc., Vero Beach, will hold tours of its new Assistance Dog Train ing Center, located at the DFL Off-Leash Dog Park at 1230 16th Ave. and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations. In addition to honoring assistance dogs during their special week, one of the goals is to raise awareness about these very special and highly trained animals. This year International Assistance Dog Week is Aug. 3-9. DFL hopes everyone in the area love and devotion these dogs provide. DFL will have information on how service dogs are evaluated, trained, and the laws pertaining to service dogs in public plac es. Additionally, information will be given on how the program operates in and outside of Vero Beach. Finally, our Assistance Dog Training Center is complete, and we are training more service dogs than ever this year, said Shelly Ferger, DFL founder, CEO and head trainer. Our Veteran Dog Training Pro gram is moving full steam ahead, and we currently have three dogs in training for local veterans, Ferger said. Vero Beach has a gem right here in Indian River County, and we want our com munity to learn all about it. Assistance dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities, such as PTSD, by serving as their devot ed companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family. Assistance dogs include guide dogs, service dogs, hearing alert dogs, seizure alert/response dogs and medical alert/response dogs. For additional information, or to have your dog screened for training as an assistance dog, contact DFL will also offer two basic obedience classes, one beginning Saturday, Aug. 2, at 9 a.m., and the second beginning Friday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m. DFL will re-start its dog behav ior/obedience classes for assis tance dogs, pet-assisted therapy dogs and dogs owned by the general public. The classes are one hour, last for six weeks, and cost $120. of classes, along with accredit ed trainers Sgt. Jay Harris, U.S. Army, and Paula Via. Now that the Training and Ad ministrative Center is complete, we are excited to be teaching again, from the very basics to the advanced levels, all while having fun and using positive reinforce ment, Ferger said. Class size is limited, and res ervations are required, call DFL information, or email at dogsfor DFLs website can be viewed at For Life will offer FOR VETERAN VOICE The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of its most serious crisis in more than a generation. I know that, and I know you know that. But heres something I want to make sure you also know: The Department of Veterans Affairs has before it perhaps its greatest op portunity to enhance care for veterans in its history. Im not the only one who thinks that. Two weeks ago, I met with Dr. Harvey Fineberg, the distinguished clinician and healthcare leader who just completed 12 years as the president of the Institute of Medicine. When I commented that we could accomplish more in the next two to three years than we could have in two to three decades, he immediately interrupted and corrected me, No! VA can accomplish things now it never could have accomplished. Hes right: We are in an extraordinary posi tion. We all understand the seriousness of the problem. The president, Congress, VSOs, the Ameri board and understand the need for reform. Whats needed now is for all of us to seize this opportunity and make the most of it. VAs faults are well documented: Veterans are waiting too long for care. Our scheduling system is antiquated and cumbersome. The metrics we used to measure perfor mance became an end in themselves, rather than a means to better the quality of veterans care. There were widespread attempts to game the system, which only hid the problem, making veterans wait even longer for care. Those employees who pointed out problems in the system or wrongdoing by others were often punished for doing so. Managers who hid their poor performance or retaliat ed against whistleblowers were not held to account. Senior leaders failed to adequately assess and quantify the resources needed to provide the care they were obligated to pro vide. All of these problems fall into three catego ries: Business process problems, like improp er scheduling practices and our antiquated scheduling system; Leadership problems, like our misuse of metrics and failure to hold people account able for negligence and misconduct; and Resource problems our persistent lack space, information technology resources, and purchased-care funding to meet current demand for timely, high-quality healthcare. As we begin to tackle these challenges, what are our priorities? First, our process initiatives using avail able resources to get veterans off wait lists uling system; second, but simultaneously, our changes of leadership addressing VAs cultural issues, holding people accountable for willful misconduct or management negli gence, and creating an environment of openness and transparency. Third, the resource challenge making a compelling case for the resources needed to consistently deliver timely, high-quality healthcare. Those are our priorities. Now, here are some of the immediate actions we are already tak We have reached out to over 160,000 veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics sooner. In just the last two months, we have made over 571,000 referrals for veterans to receive their care in the private sector. Thats See REMARKS page 7 6


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 31, 2014 7 7 disagree. I believe one American citizen can make a difference. Tolbert said hes a living example of how his political ideas work. His 22 years in the mil itary that took him up to master sergeant started by committing some petty crimes. He was a high-school dropout with few prospects for a good life, but had a chance to avoid a record by joining the Army. So he did. Tolbert said he took advantage of the opportunity the military gave him to improve his life. After the Vietnam veteran retired in the early 1980s, he got into selling corporate airplanes. Tolbert left that behind in 1999, because he felt God called him to the ministry. In 2010, Tolbert got his last college degree: doctor of educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He also has degrees in educa tion and theology from American InterConti nental University and Logos Christian College & Graduate Schools. In 2012, Tolbert ran for president as a writein candidate. He believes that he garnered about 9,000 votes in that race. His name doesnt appear on the elections division history. Tolbert said thats because of a bureaucratic blunder at the division that kept his votes from being counted. So, why does Tolbert keep running for the I believe in God and Im a citizen for a bet ter America, he said. The only reason Im running for governor is because Im a citizen for a better America. At his website, Tolbert said the most im portant thing for the state government to do is help create more jobs. It can do that, he said, by helping to encourage more on-thejob training, eliminating withholding taxes, controlling immigration and reducing regula tions, along with training welfare recipients It would be easy to pigeonhole Tolbert as a conservative and move on. However, reading his website, tic categorizing. Tolbert, 72, selected Chris tine Timmon, Fort Lauderdale, for a running mate. The odds are always against the little guy, but its the little guy in America that made America, he said. Voters wishing to cast ballots for Tolbert must write in his name. CANDIDATE from page 3 up more than 100,000 over the same time last year. Each one of these referrals, on average, results in seven visits or appointments. So, we are talking about 700,000 additional appointments in the private sector just from increased referrals over the last two months! Facilities are adding more clinic hours, vacancies, deploying mobile medical units, provide care to more veterans as quickly as possible in all our healthcare facilities. We are updating the antiquated appointment scheduling system with the VFW and other VSOs actively engaged in the process, beginning with near-term en hancements to the existing system and ending with the acquisition of a compre hensive, state-of-the-art, commercial offthe-shelf scheduling system. We are contracting with an outside agency to conduct a comprehensive independent audit of scheduling practices across the entire VHA system beginning early I have directed every medical center di rector to conduct regular in-person visits to all of their clinics, to include interacting with scheduling staff to ensure all sched uling practices are appropriate. Veterans tors will also conduct similar visits. To REMARKS from page 6 See REMARKS page 8 7 Indian River Colony Club Call:877-484-6178 The Place Patriots Call Home 55 + Active Retirement Community I n dian River Col ony C lub 1 936 Freedom D r ive Vi era (Mel b ourne), F L 3 2 940Ready to start the next adventure? So many choices, with the time to use them. Golf, tennis, dance, craft, ne dining and over 40 clubs & activities of all kinds! Enjoy the lifestyle you deserve. Single family homes on 453 lush acres in Viera. Initially home to Military Officers, IRCC now takes pride in accommodating all those who served, devoted to the traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces. 12529


8 JULY 31, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 8 date, over 1,100 of these visits have been conducted. We are building a more robust, continuous system for measuring patient satisfaction, to provide information on patient satis faction. We will augment our existing survey with expanded capabilities in the coming year, to capture more veteran experi ence data using telephone, social media, and on-line means. Our effort includes close collaboration with the VFW and other VSOs, with whom we have already met to begin planning our efforts. We also will learn what other leading healthcare systems are doing to track patient access experiences. The 14-day access measure has been removed from all individual employee performance plans to eliminate any motive for inap propriate scheduling practices or behaviors. In the course of com pleting this task, over 13,000 per formance plans were amended. VHA has dispatched teams to provide direct assistance to facil ities requiring the most improve ment, including a large multi-dis ciplinary team on the ground, right now, in Phoenix. VA is expanding our use of private-sector care to improve access to healthcare for veterans who are experiencing excessive wait times. VHA is improving its monitoring of the effectiveness of our use of non-VA care to ensure veterans are receiving the care they deserve. These are just some of the ac tions we are now taking to meet some of the process challenges. Now, let me take a moment to talk about the leadership challenge. Ive been making the rounds of VA medical centers in recent weeks seeking out the on-theground truth. Ive heard both good and bad, and what strikes me is the contrast between places like Phoenix and places like San Antonio. In Phoenix: I spent over an hour in listening to a cross section of employees share their frustra tions, and sometimes their anger surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, custodians, IT staff. Half of those who spoke seemed to be holding back tears. Some actually broke down crying. These are people that care they care about our mission and they care deeply about doing things right and taking care of veterans and it angered them that their complaints werent being heard. A surgeon in scrubs stood up and said he didnt have much time before heading off to sur two X-ray machines in the OR, which hadnt worked since an attempted computer upgrade months earlier. All it took was getting someone down to the OR to work the problem, but some how that hadnt happened yet. By the next day, both were working. Interestingly, the very next day I went to visit the medical center in San Antonio. It was a whole dif ferent story: Everywhere I looked, what I saw was excellence. Not only in the facility and the equip ment, but in the people in the sparkle in their eyes and the spring in their step as they talked about the things they were doing to care for our veterans. When I met with the press later that afternoon, as I do at every one of these visits, I told them I wished every veteran in America could have been standing by my side as I went through that center because they would have been proud of what they saw. I would tell you that, for me, the harder of these two visits was San Antonio. Because everywhere I looked I realized that, but for leadership, that could have been Phoenix. But for leadership. Since those visits, Ive chal lenged VA leaders to explain to me the difference between Phoe nix and San Antonio. I have yet to hear an explanation that doesnt boil down to one thing lead ership leaders failing to take ownership of the problems, both large and small, facing their em ployees. Take, for example, the inoper able X-ray machines in the OR. You know what was wrong? The computers required to operate the machines needed to be updated from Windows XP to Windows 7. How simple a problem to solve. But no one took ownership, and I think that also highlights an unresponsive bureaucracy that frontline staff have simply given Weve created an environment where the opinions of the rank day-to-day work of caring for our veterans are not only not listened to, they are instead pun ished! Heres some of what weve done so far: I have frozen VHA Central ters hiring. I have also suspended all VHA senior executive performance VA is now posting regular data updates showing progress on its efforts to accelerate access to quality healthcare for veterans who have been waiting for ap pointments. We have also made public additional care-quality sta tistics for every medical center as well as the results of our recent I have personally visited 12 VA Medical Centers in the past six being taken to get veterans off wait lists and into clinics. I will visit the VA Medical Center here in St. Louis later today. Such visits have been invaluable to me, both as opportunities to speak to veterans, local VSO representatives, and VA employees; and as opportunities to gauge the scope and scale of the issues we face are. Let me talk for a moment about accountability. At VA, we depend on the service of employees and leaders who place the interests of veterans above and beyond self-interest. Accountability, de livering results, and honesty are also key to serving our veterans. Those who have not performed and have not delivered results honestly will be held account able. Where willful misconduct or management negligence is documented, appropriate personnel actions will be taken this also applies to whistleblower retalia tion. We will not tolerate retalia tion against whistleblowers. Leaders make the difference be tween Phoenix and San Antonio. Leaders are responsible for identifying shortfalls in resources and taking action to secure additional resources. Leaders are also responsible for setting the standard for honesty and square dealing, and for quashing the corrosive culture of self-protection and retaliation that destroys the trust required for any organization to succeed. So, as you would expect, there are many changes in leadership under way. First, Ive named Dr. Carolyn Clancy interim Under Secretary for Health. Dr. Clancy is new to VA she joined us last August as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety, and Value. Before that, she worked at the Department of Health and Human Services, as Director of the Agency for Health care Research and Quality. Dr. Clancy is a proven leader and in novator when it comes to health care quality and safety. She will spearhead our reform efforts to accelerate access to care and re store trust among our veterans. Second, I have appointed Dr. Gerry Cox as the interim direc is a 30-year Navy veteran and for mer assistant Inspector General of the Navy for Medical Matters. He will provide new leadership and a fresh perspective to help restructure OMI and ensure a strong internal audit function. Third, Ive brought on Dr. Jon athan Perlin for a short tour of duty as a senior advisor. Dr. Per lin comes to us on loan from the Hospital Corporation of America, and president for Clinical Ser vices. He is also chairman-elect of the American Hospital Asso ciation and a former VA under secretary for health. Dr. Perlin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to help us bridge the under secretary for health. Inci dentally, that selection process is well under way and included participation by VFW executive director Bob Wallace on the selec tion Commission. Fourth, Ive also brought back Leigh Bradley for a four-month assignment as special counsel to the secretary. Ms. Bradley is a former general counsel at VA and, most recently, a senior member of the DoD General Counsel team, with direct responsibility for their ethics portfolio. At VA, she will assist us in taking action against those supervisors and employees accused of wrongdoing or serious management negligence. Finally, as you all know, the president has nominated former Proctor & Gamble CEO Robert A. McDonald to be the next Secre tary of Veterans Affairs. Bob and I have been friends for 40 years, beginning during our time together as cadets at West Point. He brings strong leadership and exceptional management skills to this role, and hes got one of the strongest moral compasses I have ever seen. This combination of executive skills and values are ideal for VA at this critical is today, and I hope for a speedy (Editors note: A Senate panel voted 14-0 last week hearing to the full chamber. At expected by this week.) Before, I move to my last topic on health care, I want to say a I have been very impressed with the transformation that is under way at VBA. I seriously doubt that any major part of the feder al government has transformed so much in the past two to three years, and I believe that without this transformation, we would not be on track to eliminate the dis ability claims backlog in 2015. Having said that, veterans REMARKS from page 7 See REMARKS page 10 8


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 31, 2014 9 9 along and cover it? I said yes. Such was policing in the day, that the alleged burglar was per suaded to turn himself in Why did you break into Miss Lulus house? asked a policeman, to which the suspect answered, To use the bathroom and he was taken into custody calmly. before he had even reported to his new employer. So small was Stuart, in those days, that he was one of only four single men in Martin Coun ty. Really? Yes. At that time, myself, a sheriffs deputy, and I cant remember the other two, were the only single men, he said. Most county resi dents were female, being nurses, school teachers and the like. He made it a point to learn courthouse reporting. Dorothy Pierce was the clerk of the court, and she made it clear, This is my domain, he said. While we were talking, there were all these women typing away. She asked me, How does your wife like Stuart? I said, I dont have a wife. She said, You mean you are SINGLE? he said, laughing. All eyes were on me. I was like a piece of beef. The phones got go ing, and everyone in town learned I was single. But that was how he met his wife, the former Jean Parker (who In those days, the single wom en held these Sunday dinners, Crankshaw said. All four of us single men were invited. At this one, I was asked to say Grace, and my future wife was in the crowd. No big deal; I was a lay minister in the Episcopal Church for many years. Jean Parker (daughter of Stuarts said. Crankshaw soon learned his intended had very decided viewpoints on his FBI plans. He was newly re-eligible, thanks to his employment with the newspaper but Jean had other ideas. They had met when Crankshaw took a physical exam at Dr. Park Part of this included an injection against mild anemia. Jean was a nurse in her fathers She said, Where do you want the shot in your arm, or the other place? I said, wherever it doesnt hurt. That meant the Thirty seconds after meeting her, I had my pants down! he said, laughing. They had set a wedding date of April 4, 1959 but the FBI had Crankshaw had proposed to Jean, but she had reservations. In a series of conversations, she had eventually asked him, Are you going to be a cop? meaning, subject to being killed? I dont want to be married to a cop, she said, so that was the end of that, he said. So, then came life as a reporter for The Stuart News. After that came stints with The Florida Times-Union, as an associate edi tor, a six-month assignment with a Birmingham, Ala., magazine, and then a 21-year assignment with the Miami Herald And after that, Crankshaw served with The Stuart News for 21 more years. He retired on Feb. 3 of this year. Crankshaw admits he was kind of a star throughout his long career in the news; but hes so self-deprecating, I felt almost like Walter Mitty, he said, referring to character who had a rich fantasy life. Crankshaw was covering a uniquely rich state for news at a uniquely rich time. Those decades from the 1950s on Take the time he covered the test of a Polaris submarine missile, aboard the ship Observation Island. We were about 12 miles off shore, and you could see the submarines red conning tower, he said. And there was this Rus sian trawler really, a spy ship coming around so close I could see the captains red beard. Two destroyers were trying to keep him away, trying to box him in, and so forth. Finally, right as the launch got to zero, two heli copters came in and dropped a whole load of metal confetti on him, to bollox up his electronics. The trawler even tried to scoop up sections of the missiles nose cone, which had broken into four sections as part of the launch. Another time, Crankshaw cov ered the capture of or 70 members of the infamous Black Tuna Gang in south Florida. In a masterful action, coordinat ed federal, state and local law enforcement agents surrounded the gangs hideout and when the gang members realized the law was there, it was like kicking over an anthill, Crankshaw said. Yet another time, he was work ing the federal courts during the time of the Cuban revolution, and a case came up concerning several Cubans who had been caught with 50-calibre machine guns and ammunition. It seemed open-and-shut but a mild-mannered witness for the defense stepped up and told the court the men were in his employ. And who are you? the judge asked. Im an auditor. For whom? The CIA. The case was dismissed, and a huge crowd of Cubans started singing their national anthem. It was wild. But perhaps Crankshaws favorite story came after a woman from Cocoa, Sue Relyea, sought his help. Her husband, Gordon, was serving in Vietnam, and part of serving included visiting orphanages. One orphan, a girl named Nguyen, had become attached to Gordon. The problem was, everyone there knew that when the soldiers were sent back to the states, a lot of these kids would just curl up and die, Crankshaw said. At the time, it was a new thing to try and adopt Vietnamese kids. The government treated them like ATM machines, he said. They told Sue and Gordon they wanted $20,000 for Nguyen. Of course, they didnt have that kind of money. I told her, Dont talk to anyone. The Herald has long arms. Crankshaw went on to write a lengthy article on the Relyeas plight, and it wound up going on page A1A of not only the Florida editions, but editions worldwide. One thing led to another. People started making inquiries, and a state senator came to Sues door, asking how to help. He got more people involved. The Vietnam minister of welfare tried to say they were only wor ried that any of their nationals would be well cared-for. So the Florida State Senate and House signed a resolution stating they would bear responsibility for Nguyen. There was a huge crowd wait ing for her in Melbourne (at the down the planes steps into her new mothers arms. Crankshaw pauses, the emotional memory fresh even today. He goes on: Florida Today tried Thirty seconds after meeting (my wife), I had my pants down! Joe Crankshaw Joe CrankshawCRANKSHAW from page 4 See CRANKSHAW page 10 9 OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 9AM TO 5PM Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum 6600 Tico Road, Titusville, FL 32780 Special Event Venues Available $1.00 OFF ADMISSION WITH THIS AD 3 Display Hangars Over 30 Aircraft Memorabilia Free Guided Tours Gift Shop C-47 Plane Rides Canteen $1.00 OFF Admission Cannot be combined with other offers. This coupon is not redeemable for cashWITH THIS AD12387


10 JULY 31, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 10 to make it sound like they helped in the effort, but Sue wasnt having any of it. A reporter asked her, Arent you glad the American press helped you get your daughter? And she said, Yes, Im happy for all the help I got from Joe Crankshaw and the Miami Herald. It was better than the Pu litzer. It couldnt have been a better up yours, he said with satisfaction. The grandson of a veteran of the Indian Wars to World War II, Crankshaws great-grandfather, who lost an arm in a threshing accident, went on to serve on the staff of the gov ernor of Georgia during the Civil War, and then worked for Alexander Graham Bell. He eventually became president of Southern Bell Telephone. It seems military service and being on historys catbird seat are in Crankshaws blood. And its a safe bet hes forgotten more than most people will experience in a lifetime. (Next issue, Part 2: Crank shaw is anxious that local Florida heroes of war are not forgotten. Read his take on those who served valiantly.)CRANKSHAW from page 9 still wait too long for decisions, and our quality is still not up to standard. More recently, there have been reports that call into question the accuracy of the data we use to report our progress. Clearly, we have more work to do faster, more accurate deci sions, documented with credible reporting. The last topic I want to ad dress is resourcing VA to meet the current demand for timely, high-quality healthcare. As I mentioned in my Senate testimo ny last week, and as I will repeat at my House testimony this week, I believe that the greatest risk to veterans over the intermediate to long-term is that additional resources are provided only to support increased purchased care in the community and not to materially remedy the historic shortfall in internal VA capacity. Such an outcome would leave VA even more poorly positioned to meet future demand. Make no mistake: Purchased care plays an important role in extraordinary circumstances: Extraordinary geographywe will never be able to put an outpatient clinic in every com munity in America; extraordinary technology it will always make sense to refer veterans to great providers for certain, highly-spe cialized procedures; and extraordinary demand such as the time we are in right now, trying to accelerate care to veterans who are waiting too long. But purchased care is not a replacement for a strong and vital veterans healthcare system. Consider these points: For years, the VFW and other key VSOs have warned of a shortfall in resources needed to care for our veterans. the most frequently cited barrier to scheduling veterans for care was a lack of appointment slots. The number of veterans seeking care at VA continues to grow steadily during a period of high country, and we continue to serve a population that is older, with more chronic conditions, and less able to afford care in the private sector. nicians, direct patient support staff, space, information technol ogy resources, and purchased care funding to meet the current demand for timely, high-quali ty health care. This simple fact explains my statement to Con gress last week that we need an additional $17.6 billion in funding over the next three years making it possible to hire an additional 10,000 clinical staff, provide essential information technology support, make a very small dent in the massive capital additional purchased care while we build the internal capability to meet current demand. These resources are critical if we are to seize on the opportunity before us! VFW has been there for veterans from the beginning, as the oldest of the major VSOs. You have had a hand in every major achievement on behalf of veterans for the past 100 years: formation of the Veterans Administration and the original GI Bill; advancing VAs elevation to Cabinet-level status; creation of the new GI Bill; and advocating for recent funding increases and advance appropriations. I know I can count on you to lend a hand, along with your best advice, to make a lasting difference for vet erans. My thanks to your leadership: Bill Thien, your command er-in-chief; John Stroud, senior vice commander-in-chief; John Hamilton, adjutant general; Bill Bradshaw, director, National Veterans Service; Bob Wallace, executive director of your Wash Thank you for all you do for veterans. I look forward to work ing with you to seize this historic opportunity to transform VA into THE provider of choice for veter ans health care. REMARKS from page 8 10 County Veterans Service OfficersSt. Lucie County, Wayne Teegardin Phone: (772) 337-5670 Fax: (772) 337-5678 veterans@stlucieco.orgDorothy J. Conrad Building(formerly the Walton Road Annex Bldg.) 1664 S.E. Walton Road, Suite 205 Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 By appointmentMon., Tues, Thurs, Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pmWed 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Lucie County Community Services Bldg.(Corner of Avenue D and 7th Street) 437 N. Seventh St., Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Walk-ins Mon. and Fri. 8:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Brevard Veterans Services Office2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Bldg. B, Suite 102, Viera, FL 32940 Office: (321) 633-2012 Fax: (321) 637-5432 Mon., Tues. and Thurs., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed. and Fri, 8 a.m.-noon Manager: Glenn McGuffieIndian River CountyJoel Herman Vero Beach 2525 St. Lucie Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Ph: (772) 226-1499 Fax: (772) 770-5038Sebastian Square 11602 U.S. 1, Sebastian, FL 32958 Ph: (772) 589-6597 Fax: (772) 581-4988Martin CountyTony Reese, Veterans Service Office Super visor Nick Ciotti, Veterans Service Officer (772) 288-5448Veterans Services OfficeMartin County Community Services 435 S.E. Flagler Ave., Stuart, FL 34994 Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.VA Life Insurance Ctr., Phil., PA 1-800669-8477 VA Regional Office 1-800-827-1000 VA Medical Ctr, W. Palm Beach 1-800972-8262 Pharmacy, VA Medical Center 1-800317-8387 Military Retired Pay Activities, Cleveland, OH (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force ONLY) 1-800-321-1080 Military Retired Pay Activities, Topeka, KS (Coast Guard ONLY) 1-800-772-8724 Survivor Benefits (SBP), Denver, CO 1-800-435-3396 Stuart VA Clinic (772) 288-0304 Okeechobee CountyVeterans Services office (863) 763-6441, Ext 5. Fax: (863) 763-0118.Orlando VA Medical Cente5201 Raymond St., Orlando, FL 32803 (407) 629-1599 or (800) 922-7521Telephone Care(407) 599-1404 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. Fri. (800) 645-6895 8 a.m. 4 p.m. Mon Fri (321) 637-3625 Viera patients8 a.m. 4 p.m. Mon. Fri. (877) 741-3400 Weekends, holidays, evenings and nightsWest Palm Beach Department of Veter ans Affair s Medical Center7305 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-8262 or (800) 972-8262 Telephone Care(561) 422-6838 (866) 383-9036 Open 24 hours 7 daysViera VA Outpatient Clinic2900 Veterans Way, Viera, FL 32940 Phone: (321) 637-3788 1 (877) 878-8387 Mon. Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.St Lucie County PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) Outpatient Program 126 S.W. Chamber Court, Port St Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 878-7876Fort Pierce Community Based Outpatient Clinic1901 South 28th Street., Fort Pierce, FL 34947 Phone: (772) 595-5150 Fax: (772) 595-6560St Lucie Community Based Outpatient Clinic128 S.W. Chamber Court, Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 344-9288Stuart Community Based Outpatient Clinic 3501 S E Willoughby Boulevard, Stuart, FL 34997 Phone: (772) 288-0304 Fax: (772) 288-1371Vero Beach Community Based Outpatient Clinic372 17th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Phone: (772) 299-4623 Fax: (772) 299-4632IMPORTANT NUMBERS ... Veteran Voice is a weekly publication designed to provide information to and about veterans to veterans and to the broader community. Veterans are an integral part of their Florida communities, which currently have individual organizations of their own, such as the Veter ans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America and many other groups with a nar row focus, but no convenient way to connect to a wider population of veterans and to the community in general within a limited geographic area, their community. The mission of Veteran Voice is to publish a weekly source of information that will provide, in one place, a listing of resources available to veterans, articles about changes in policies or organizations affecting veterans and events of interest to veterans as well as articles about veterans of interest to the general public. Veteran Voice LLC is organized as a partnership of experienced newspaper executives with an interest in veterans and in the communities of Florida veterans and friends. Veteran Voice is a start-up intended to ad dress a perceived lack of information readily available to veterans on programs and policies affecting them and objective reporting of veteran affairs to the public. To our knowledge, and based on comments from lead ers of local veterans organizations, there was no media or website currently meeting this need until the launch of Veteran Voice. We hope you agree, and will support this publica tion with your subscription. Without subscriptions there will be a limited number of people we can help, without which this mission will not be realized. As part of our commitment to supporting local veteran communities, readers and subscribers. Please let us know what you think by emailing or mailing your comments to us at 1919 S.W. South Macedo Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.OUR MISSION STATEMENTAND OUR OBJECTIVE12386




























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