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LETTERS: Thoughts on 'stolen' VA services and Branch Davidian memorial service

Waco Tribune-Herald - 5/6/2018

Veterans, be afraid!

I read McLennan County Veterans Service Officer Steve Hernandez's alarming April 22 Trib column and could not agree more. The proposed moving of the Post-Traumatic Residential Rehab Program from its established base at Doris Miller VA Medical Center to Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple is another example of a multitude of vital services quietly relocated to Temple through the years.

People in Waco don't know, but there's not even a triage unit in Waco to accommodate emergencies that arise. The nearest emergency room for the VA system is in, you guessed it, Temple. Good luck with that!

A former Marine Corps officer friend who called me last week told me a nightmare story regarding a recent appointment at Teague VA Center. Because of endless highway construction in and around Temple, my 85-year-old veteran friend spent nearly two hours trying to find the hospital. Finally stumbling upon it and getting his appointment, he informed the examining doctor this would be his last trip to Temple. If the service was not offered at Waco, he would refuse the appointment.

Going to the Temple VA? Get there early, before sunrise, or you'll be circling the parking lot for an hour looking for a place to park. Talk of traumatic stress! If you weren't stressed when you got there, I guarantee by the end of your appointment you will be.

The Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco is well-staffed, spacious and accommodating. It's everything the Teague Center in Temple is not. Have the VA bureaucratic bean counters crunch the numbers, including number of appointments per day in Temple versus number of parking slots; it will become obvious Temple is too overbooked to accept any other services, especially siphoned from the Waco VA to Temple. Do not even mention the I-35 death trap that awaits you when trying to keep an appointment.

Hey VA, leave the established Post-Traumatic Residential Rehab Program, hailed as a resounding success, where it belongs - in Waco. And think about re-relocating some of the services "stolen" from deserving veterans in the Waco area back where they belong.

Dan Dayton, West

Not worthy of fame

A couple of things struck me as odd with the Trib story about survivors of the Branch Davidian siege and their memorial service. First, it was a service for 76 people who died, yet only 100 people showed up. That kind of attendance makes me think this should not have been front-page news. And then to have one survivor (whose wife had two children fathered by David Koresh) demanding an apology? For what? For the government to acknowledge they did "it"?

These people don't need publicity, they need psychiatric help. Give them a coloring book and a cry room. But don't give them fame.

Peggy Cunningham, Bruceville


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