>Givers and Takers II (I’ll get to the Givers eventually)

>Case II, Tim:

For several years Tim earned an income by driving a van that transported Veterans from his home county to the nearest VA Medical Center so they could get to appointments.  As jobs go, that’s not so demanding; he basically drove eight or nine Vets in the morning to the VAMC, spent five or six hours smoking and conversing, and then gathered-up all of his “wards” and took them back home.  During the couple of years that Tim did this job, he lived meagerly and put most of income into building a home on some land his parents had given him.  When Tim’s house was nearing completion, something interesting happened.

First, Tim was able to use his connections in the Veterans Service Organization to get his Bad Conduct Discharge commuted to a General Discharge, and then later to a General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions.

Then the Veteran Service Officers and VA employees with whom he had developed friendships, assisted Tim with filing a service-connected VA disability claim.  Tim you see had been injured before getting kicked-out of Army basic training.  It seems that Tim took exception to an order issued by his Drill Sergeant who told him to “…move [his] lazy ass off of the truck and form-up like the rest of the platoon…”.  Tim decided that the best way to demonstrate that he was too exhausted to follow this order was to throw a punch at the Drill Sergeant.  Drill Sergeants being as they are, well trained combat-ready soldiers, this one defended himself from the punch by executing a move to avoid getting hit and to knock his attacker off balance.  Tim stumbled and fell out of the bed of the transport truck and broke his wrist and hand in the fall. 

So, Tim, having the right connections, was able to secure a 10% service-connected disability for his hand and wrist injuries.  The next time I talked to Tim, he was filing an appeal to get his disability rating raised because his wrist and hand were hurting a lot lately.  Not that the pain in his hand was keeping him from doing all of the carpentry work in his house to save from having to pay a Carpenter to do it, but it was sufficient to make driving that van harder and causing him to miss a lot of work because of it.  Again, Tim’s friends came through and their efforts resulted in an increase to 50% service-connected with the addition of a partial disability for PTSD because Tim was now having nightmares about that evil Drill Sergeant attacking him. 

Sometime later I again bumped in to Tim and learned that his house was finished and his hand and nightmares had gotten worse.  He was filing a claim for increase to 100% service-connected disability because between not sleeping due to nightmares and not being able to drive from the hand pain he was becoming unemployable.  Tim pushed tenaciously with his VA Doctors to do surgery on his hand and wrist; and eventually one of the Xrays showed a bone chip, or scar tissue, or something that permitted the VA to do the surgery.  After the surgery Tim was unable able to work and in due course his claim for 100% service-connected disability for PTSD and his wrist and hand was approved; with the aid of a Veterans Service Officer lobbying his Congressman from what I heard in the gossip mill.  The last time I saw Tim he had just been driven to the VAMC by the new driver so that he could see his Doctor and get his pain medication prescriptions increased.

Later I heard through a mutual acquaintance that Tim was relegated to a life of playing pool in his basement with friends who brought the beer, and watching movies on his big screen when he was too “high” on Oxycodone to play pool.  Poor Tim, it is heartwarming to know that we’re taking care of him for the injuries incurred during his brave and selfless four months of service in the United States Army.