Eight years ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) started a program that was the first of its kind in the United States. Recognizing the degree of injury endured by service members returning home from recent conflicts, and the burden shouldered by their caregivers, Congress took bold action to enable VA to meet their needs by establishing the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Limited to veterans injured on or after September 11, 2001, the program is designed to sustain a veteran’s caregiver and to recognize the sacrifice and service they provide to our nation’s heroes.
In March 2015 we made the decision to fly to the National Paralyzed Veterans of America convention in San Diego. I am a quadraplegic and have not flown in almost fifteen years so I decided to contact Delta airlines by phone for a flight from Augusta, GA to Atlanta, GA. I had scheduled a connecting flight with Southwest (SW) for a non-stop flight from Atlanta to San Diego. When I made the Delta reservation, I spoke with a CSR by phone and gave him the make model and dimensions of my three hundred pound power chair. The man assisting me asked about time preference and we chose 10:20am on May 2, 2015. Nothing was ever mentioned about the size of the plane for flight 5138.
Listen to the interview with Ed Sherman Gillums Jr., chief strategy officer of American Veterans on the future of veterans.
The phone rings after my call is transferred by the executive assistant to the hospital director's direct line.
The director picks up: “Hello.”
I speak: “Hello, Mr. Hawkins. I’m hoping to get your help with a problem that I’m having with the DC Prosthetic Office. I had a wheelchair ordered over seven months ago, and apparently the order isn’t even in the system now. I’m not sure what to do at this point. The casters on the chair I have now are broken, and I’m worried they’ll give out any day now.”
Director speaks: “How did you get this phone number?”
Topics: Capitol Hill