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U.S. Vets Agency Shirks Duty Again

Here in the Mountain State, we revere our veterans of military service. We understand we owe them a great debt. The least we can do for them is take care of them if they become ill or infirm, we think. From state government to volunteer organizations, we make that a priority.

Apparently the feeling is not shared universally.

One obstacle some veterans face in obtaining health care at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals is getting there and back home. State Department of Veterans Assistance officials, having enlisted a corps of volunteers willing to drive the vets, are doing all they can to help.

But providing transportation or other services can be difficult if the veterans are not aware of how the state can help.

Merely knowing who they are and how to contact them would help, state VA officials say.

One might think that would be easy for those discharged from the services recently. The Pentagon would have contact information.

But, during a recent visit to Parkersburg, WVDVA Chief of Staff Randy Coleman said the Defense Department has been asked for that information. Federal officials would not provide it. “They said, ‘Well, if we do that for you, we have to do it for everyone else,'” Coleman related.

Well, yes. But helping veterans by providing names and contact information to a state assistance agency ought to be part of the U.S. DVA’s job. Instead, helping others help veterans apparently is viewed as a nuisance.

Memo to Gov. Jim Justice: Clip this out of the paper and send it to your friend, President Donald Trump. Heads should roll at the U.S. DVA.

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