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Monday, April 30, 2012

Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion

Due to a mistake, no one knew I was speaking on Saturday afternoon because it wasn't in the program they were handing out. So I did my usual talk, Recovering from the War, to three people. Kind of disappointing, but I can say that what I said helped those three so it was worth it to me.
Bob got really mad when I called and told him and said I should never go again, that they don't respect or appreciate me. I was really down in the dumps, thinking he was right.
The next day, my talk was in the program, but it usually overlaps with the service by John Steer, so once again I gave the talk, The War at Home, to just a few people. Luckily they got a lot out of it and laughed at all my jokes. When I said it was probably my last visit, one couple who come every year got really upset. I was talking to a Korean War and Vietnam vet and to a really lovely Donut Dolly and a Navy nurse and a Special Forces guy and his wife, when the upset couple disappeared.
As I was packing up the free handouts I'd brought and my books, the treasurer of Vietnam Veterans of Brevard, Ralph, showed up with the upset couple to personally apologize and ask what they could do to get me to keep coming.
I suggested they announce my talks on the main stage and do some PR. He offered to put up posters if I could mail them down so they would be up before I get there next year. He suggested that the talk on Sunday should be at noon so it wouldn't be interfered with by the church service. He also said he'd write Bob and apologize. I hope he does.
I did a talk for VVB a few years ago, just so they would know what I was saying over there at the wall pavilion while they are busy running the reunion, and he remembered it and said it was so helpful. So maybe I will be there next year. I do love giving the talks and talking to vets and their families afterwards and Donut Dollies.
One of my pet peeves is that the Red Cross claims the Donut Dollies weren't employees and weren't in danger (yeah, right! like no one ever rocketed or mortared every place they could in Vietnam) so it denies them help with PTSD treatment.
So it was an interesting lesson in how little control I have over events and how perhaps my speaking up will lead to a better result next year.


  1. Keep up the great work Patience!

    I am sorry about the mix-up at this conference--as someone who has been on conference panels and a featured speaker, it is so easy to fall through the cracks. I try to forgive conference organizers--that's a tough job, very high stress--but better planning and forethought can avoid these mishaps.

    Be sure to send them feedback!

    On the topic of "denial of PTSD treatment" I am here to tell you that little groups like mine are struggling to prevent the suicides and provide assistance and care that the DoD and VA make so difficult for our brave men and women in the military to receive. Making them jump through hoops to get a "100% PTSD" rating, losing their records, the backlog of cases...I know my organization and hundreds of others that are going broke to assist military personnel--We are doing the job that the Government is failing to do...and we don't get a single penny from the government--or a donation--or any tax breaks.

    It's sad when a great nation throws away young folks, and us civilians (I'm an officer's daughter, but not military myself) have to pick up the pieces in hard economic times (please would everyone just admit it's a Depression?)

    Hang in there, you are a true patriot!

    \0/ Hurrah for Patience! \o/

    Colleen M. Crary, M.A.
    Founder and Executive Director
    ~ A 501c3 Non Profit Organization ~