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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>Are we doing enough for Veterans?

Are we doing enough for Veterans?

Nov 10, 2013|

Advocate Patrick Welch has doubts

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

It's hard line -- news radio 930 definitely the end. This is November 10 tomorrow at 1111. Veterans day the old armistice day 11111111. We are talking about veterans' issues this next and not really our guess 45 minutes before goes off to meet the press and some of the national -- they discussing there. There will be some overlap because some of the issues were kicking around here. Are in fact related some of the debate on what Washington's doing are they doing enough for the veterans community. -- their things that can be done trying to hire veterans locally maybe you are one and would like to share your story. 8030930. The number we'd love to have people call up and tell their tales of service and I guess some of their tails of re integration. Specifically what kind of obstacles are out there. What do you think about the jobs that the government is doing taking care of veterans at an appropriate topic not only on this day before veterans day. But it is also an -- he's got the marine insignia -- and -- it is also the anniversary. Of the founding of the Marine Corps. And retired or former marine I guess we can even say that once a marine always a marine right. Patrick Welch is here he's a professional veteran he's a former Erie county veterans commissioner formerly director of veterans affairs -- Damon. These days is on the veterans' court as their senior mentored. A guy that can certainly help us kick these issues around Patrick thanks for coming on and tell me. What you think. About this day not only veterans day tomorrow but this day again going back to the the Marine Corps that you re probably right there on here. Well well this day he is a birthday that all Marines celebrate all over the world that we are all 238. Years old today. We mentioned that with Sergio to Sergio Rodriguez the -- candidate for mayor. He also a marine and and he right off the top wished all the Marines are happy birthday. And that's important while it's it's actually important one of the things that distressed when you go to boot camp is our history. -- about what being a marine in tales. And it is ingrained in us and you know we look at today and we celebrate the fact that 238 years ago today. Two battalions of Marines were authorized by the continental congress in a bar in Philadelphia called -- over. And we like to joke that we've been fighting and drinking ever cents. I can see why that would be an issue should let let let's talk a little bit more about the jobs issue. How much of this now wanna put out a rhetorical argument and I I recognize that that's what I'm going how much of this is just talk. Everybody is out of -- job the nation has a jobs problem how can we say that is a specific problem for -- Well -- a -- current statistics indicate that veterans' unemployment is above double. The national average seriousness -- a double double and give them high you -- in the eighteen to 24 group. Then it is 25 and leader group. But those young men and women coming out after they've done their first to four years or six years depending upon what their enlistment -- was sport. Are fine and a great deal of difficulty competing in that market. Primarily. Because they mean if they're trying to get into management business positions because they want to in the service right out of school. A school they don't have that college degree so for companies that are looking for college degree is one of the requirements. That tends to eliminate those veterans coming out -- first enlistment period. And yet you can certainly make the argument that the experience is equivalent to a college education. Absolutely you know one of the analogies that I like to use with regard to a young people who serve in the military. Is that -- person who maintains. An aircraft. Our government takes a college graduate spends two million dollars in roughly about eighteen months to put him through flight school. To put him in the cockpit of forty million dollar jet and that's maintained by an eighteen year old high school graduate. So that pilot that aircraft the dependency. Is all on that young. Naval personnel person. Now use no employer that can tell me that that young man or woman does not have learning skills. And does not have a great aptitude. For getting involved in employment. How much of it though I -- I don't need to blame the victim here but how much of it is if they have not been in the corporate world. They are not necessarily used to or ready or adapts to at corporate networking. Are they not selling themselves or are they selling themselves and people are just now buying. Well there's several issues that we've been working on for prolonged period of time is is technology is he -- number one most companies are putting applications on line. And war most of them do not do is have a question in there that asks did you serve in the military. Including the National Guard and reserve. And then they go into some of the narratives that you have to put in and so. All of these companies for the most part of certain filters for worked. If you don't hit the certain keywords that they're looking for and those filters your application doesn't even get through the first screening. Because oftentimes the first thing to look at the resume is a computer not a person correct and the keyword search has to include stuff that the corporate mindset is looking for. And military doesn't have to correct military has got to put the words are different okay. And you know we will use you know -- if you put in avionics technician. It's corporate world doesn't know what that process but if you -- in the type of equipment that you work done and the schooling that you went through umi that the key words. That they're looking forty get through that first filter so some of it has to be with. Training the -- how to market themselves how to get over. That particular -- Correct it and it's also educating the employers which we've spent a lot of time on we continue to spend time on for them to understand. Number one you know that question. Did you serve in the military including the -- raiser in -- boxes checked yes that application should automatically. Flow through the filter. 8030930s. Or number were were here for the entire rest of the hour with Patrick Welch he's a former director. The veterans affairs office and Erie county a professional veteran he says. And I don't wanna keep people on hold too long let's jump right to it we kick it off with -- -- in Amherst hello you're on the air. Are you there -- -- All right lets them move to a different well yeah -- You know. And what I was gonna call that was my friend Lois he reserve. Disabled marine. Vietnam issue in. For example the service he said actually been buried alive in a bunker for almost two weeks after. BC shelling. That he was. Dug out by then another attack by the Marines -- and they pull them -- and they got his big -- there and he was doing great for quite awhile but he's got Agent Orange in his liver and indeed deliver badly. And I would like to see the people in office now. Support the veterans administration over more more money more foreign certificate to best actors over there. Let's just right now in the Cleveland clinic. And where he was almost dead here he has been he's recovered to the extent work. He's really grouchy and I got a call on the opposite them off this phone. And wish him happy veterans day. -- now it is his stint in Cleveland because he couldn't get services here. Well I don't think they had to correct. Things you don't -- particular that liver. In -- and I don't mean his doctor of electrician and just play well on TV. -- sure yeah I hear on the radio that. And anyway you I think that services Cleveland clinic as a gigantic place. And we could do something like -- around a year that you know there have been they have hospitals -- specified. What your illnesses and how to -- just that. So it you know it's like a lot bigger organizations. And I would like to see and I'm not trying to enact everything around here either. But I'd like to see larger. Commitment to the VA appear for the guys coming back. I'm -- caller raises a great question Patrick gave Ben now first of all thank you for the call when you call less make sure you wish from -- Marine Corps birthday first. And and happy veterans day. On the couple things here first of all the you know is less registered with the veterans administration I -- -- is it sounds like they tried banners along with -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- news here -- but there's certainly -- point -- his call raisins -- the first point is that all veterans no matter what era. Should be registered with the veterans health care system. Two reasons number one they may need VA health care in the future but number two -- -- point is a funding issue. The registration. At the VA hospital in buffalo will determine the amount of funds -- yet each fiscal year so every veteran out there should register with VA health care. If the services that an individual veteran needs are not available in the Western New York veterans medical center. Do they automatically get the ability to transfer elsewhere or are there a lot of folks like like this caller said. That would have to go to. Something outside the veterans' medical system Cleveland clinic wherever if the VA medical center here does not have the appropriate facilities to serve that service connected disabled veteran. They will move him to an appropriate facility OK so and covered all costs of the fact that this guy had to go to Cleveland could point to what you were saying. Maybe he's not registered. Not registered or his specific issue they may not be able to handle here in buffalo so they move them typically 8030930s. Our number if you'd like to join the conversation we have enough phone lines open that we can start taking all sorts of phone calls. Right after the news break. I have I -- to call now I don't think we could do any of these stories justice or do wanna talk -- more pat. About the US veterans administration medical system. Is inadequate it's -- good in some ways I've heard it argued that on on processing paperwork on that sort of stuff. It's actually ahead of a lot of other medical systems but I'll bet if we open up the phone lines we'll get people to complain to what's your assessment -- -- good bad. I've been -- -- PA health care system since 1966. And you like I like it but I will tell you in 1966 it was assessed pool. It was probably the worst place you ever wanted to be and and I take the deal Clint Eastwood movie the good the bad the ugly. And the VA used to be bad in the sixties and seventies are ugly and it got bad into the seventies and eighties. And into the 21 century it is the good the day it is probably the best health care anywhere. Even though you will have people that have issues he gonna have issues in any medical X. All right we'll pick that up on the other side of the news break its news radio 930 WB yen in honor not only today -- -- Anniversary of the founding of the US Marine Corps but tomorrow of course the veterans day we decided to get in a marine of veterans someone who has worked. With veterans across the broad spectrum of Erie county government. In college a lot of different places Patrick Welch is here he's a former director of veterans affairs -- -- he's -- former Erie county veterans commissioner. He's one of the managers on the veterans' court what is that we'll talk about that before -- half hour is done here as well. But as promised let's go right to the phone 8030930s. The number. If you are a veteran specifically involved in some of the service. And having trouble we can maybe try to troublesome shoot some of that. If your personal wants to just talk about the process or maybe share a story. We can welcome you aboard for that 28030930. Let's kick it off with Anthony and Clarence high. Yes I'd like to point out that October 22. 2009. Is very important date and that history. Of the VA medical -- stump. I bet they -- the president of the United States. But why the budget reform law get up there. -- on the VA health care what your advantage goes back at each fiscal year. That ended up that the congress was always strike at -- Appropriations. Bills and they never got to it and then create didn't have the money to spend -- -- The president is this. Well as a senator already black press them and also what president. Secondly the president again at a it's also promised that he'd -- brought I'll probably be eight claims should be worked on what more people. Pitcher Scott about yesterday and knocked that one the -- have been cleared out. That part of what goes like being -- disability. They're bleeding and the VA system. The president doesn't go to Brandon what veteran -- -- -- and Boris is care a lot. Patrick is nodding his head while you were talking their Anthony got toggle bit about the us client he's exactly right in 2009 bill signing that was something in the veterans advocates have been pushing for years and yours for exactly what Anthony said. Come the end of each fiscal year -- PA was running out of money. And because that is the spending was discretionary and -- a mandatory funding for the VA. Veterans were being put aside toward the end of each fiscal year so he's 600% right on that. And the backlog is coming down. It's it's down from about a million I think the last number I saw it was that indicated above 400000. How big of an issue once and not just in terms of numbers of backlog but. But personalize that form what problems that bring the problems that brought who is what some of these veterans are common back with with TB guy in with a traumatic brain injury issues and -- short term memory loss and don't have concentration capabilities. They're not able to hold -- so what was in the problem with that is because they couldn't get jobs they couldn't go to school and no money coming. So another sitting there waiting six months nine months eighteen months two years. For an error disability claim to come through they've gotten lower lip. So they become coach rappers and they become homeless and so it's been a huge issue -- buffalo it's your -- thanks for joining us this morning hi. I look at them -- I happen Akron today. I'm calling because. On -- brought up very good point about making sure that every veteran signal that the health care Scott Barry Hopkins here what -- And a story we aired earlier caller had mentioned the care needed to be given to a particular Akron Cleveland clinic and forget. -- -- -- -- state of the art innovative medical care being given that the VA health care system -- we duet. It actually become the standard of care in the civilian population. Pat mentioned a traumatic brain injury in the entire period trauma care whether it's what he'd -- Neurological impairments. Don't treatment modalities and the therapy that are develop -- -- And get all of so absolutely. The veterans didn't deserve the very effective medical care but it shouldn't interest that every American. Support. Full funding for the VA health care system. But this sounds like you plugged into the system and this is a question for pat to. Why would it be that a veteran wouldn't register wouldn't be part of the system. US and north near me what must -- attorney Atlanta got a clean up. Okay it in my opinion that -- -- -- -- hurt guys and women coming back from Vietnam. You heard it here would not optimal at that time and pour a lot on the on older veterans. Not very accurate. Older veterans of the Vietnam era and a great op stigma associated. On and what appeared care to get that. But that has changed. 100 per cent so again that standard care available -- actually. We need to get that information to these Akron. And particularly when they're talking about that Guardsmen in the desert that. -- actually. Full time employee in the building community. -- all the duty there at the white and they come back very often they go back and elegant health care system. You can nickel back to their own. But really it's imperative that each and every one of them has -- -- registered with the VA health care. Don't because Batman to an appropriate level of London are on the local it. All right -- tempo and the guy I think or wooden a lot of veterans came back particularly from Vietnam they went to the VA and they had a bad experience that was it. They never went back again because of that. What's happening with a lot of the younger veterans in many of whom are not aware that they are eligible for 54 years of health care. When they get discharged from the military. Now the Department of Defense we'll talk of model classes at the new album in the information. If you're a young person known as soon as a talking head at the front of the room is done talking. Euro Euro on your way home. He's not here in 90% of what they. I will tell you this stat from a registration standpoint where he post nine elevenths. The amount of veterans registered -- PA health care was about 20%. In the current generation of veterans in numbers were seen is about 54%. Of registering PA. So it is much better for this generation that's a huge improvement but there's a part of me that wonders why it's not -- around 90% you would think that anyone would. Well if you go back to World War II Korea a lot of those veterans attitude was you know I didn't get hurt. I don't I don't care let blood money use the money for those that got hurt. So that was a lot of feeling. And a lot of the feeling also is someone who had a bad experience in the military looks at the government says Ottawa making -- government and picture. Tony in Niagara county thanks waiting your turn now. Welcome to provide Patrick in the FB ranchers say they're. The he some of the Korean War veteran and father of the United States marine who -- recently been. Separate from the Marines in Arabic and billion light and you know like first and it is the parent of the young marine traveled from coast to coast to Camp Lejeune Camp Pendleton and camp -- -- -- I'm sure those those places. Are very familiar with you. -- -- Yeah yeah I feel I I was on the beach -- will be tried many times and I enjoyed my time there you know with well with. Commingling with the weather fighting man there and and that base. But you know. This what I see is apparent this is what I see as me as a citizen and as a grown adult and as a businessman. Whose employee. Many of our young man in the automotive repair industry and that I have instant franchise what I see here whether. Let our military. -- -- visas this first of all. They analysts at a very young age and most 171819. Current product at a high school -- if you -- Stated earlier. The little and they have not been integrated really instability like they've never held that job incidentally society. So -- they really don't know firsthand what it was all well expo are reservists. Nobody they have regular jobs it was very easy for them reintegrate back in two civilian job. My what I noticed OK and I -- taking special note is that number one. -- military Marines and soldiers may be very disciplined. In the code of military. Functions. How are they being. Debriefed. And and and I'd be compressed. When they get out of the military. -- function that would be civilian discipline. Issue well -- Some of -- suicide rates are among the highest in the Marines in in there okay and they've escalated through the years. That's a problem why. I think drug and alcohol and it has been a problem in in our services and we're trying to address and whether. Well what drug court now -- Niagara county which kudos to everybody and all the mention all the volunteers because I've been there are seeing what they do. And my heart goes out to every one who is suffering and all those who are taking the time my other family style but we need to. Try to better integrate. Our military young men and women especially the young man who had never. An extra reason to believe that we need to better integrate them or or or just and then in the civilian -- like before. They are separated from the service and I think that it's something that needs to be special some special attention to. I've noticed a lot of them like to drink. On the base which we know it goes out there but the problem is. They may need discipline in the navy you know audit. Supervisor. The commanding officer down there to keep them in line the problem is when they get back into civilian life. There I think they're having problems because they're not coddled like there is in the military we can't -- in -- society we're trying to. -- it's not working. I'll let you elect to they'll collaborate on the. I will land for me out of line tank company -- Anthony thank you for serving because as a family member you don't get enough for management to. Too many people don't think of the mothers the fathers husbands in the wipes in the children he's serving two so -- you are serving you were serving with your son also on thank you for that. Amid the department of defense's worried about civilian world. You know that's a reality to bluntly say they're worried about the assets that pay him when they have them under contract. And once their contract ends the Department of Defense isn't too worried about it but -- should not be some sort of handoff. Or exit interview or something where the VA picks up. And helps to integrate absolutely we year and veterans advocacy. Have been after Department of Defense in V8 for years. Two at the point of discharge him that BA right at the next table. So when that military members signs off on their DD 214. The next table. Is in rolling in the VA health care system becoming aware there educational benefits their employment opportunities. To date we haven't had any success with that but that would be part. Of one Anthony's talking about. And then the handoff from the VA when they register is back to a local contest like the veterans one stop center here in buffalo. Or other agencies that we -- I would guess though that the second half is awfully difficult sure I can sign up on a piece of paper. But I don't have a problem on the -- it down and admit any Faneca talked to a counselor first for for for God's sake. Getting over that second hurdle. That's gotta be tough. Well so the signing up with the VA doesn't mean you're acknowledging that you have mental health issues there is still huge stigma with regard to this Anthony's comment about suicides is right 22 veterans today. Commit suicide now the military's suicide rates the highest it's ever -- Part of it is -- part of it is drugs. If folks are aware of hits in the last recordable years the Department of Defense issued three point six million. Prescriptions for -- code not to cotton and for all to troops now own range and keep operational units up to speed. That creates a drug dependent military -- prescription drugs. And then that come out into the civilian world and there's no more freebies. And then they wind up looking for those fixes that they need to keep him but don't all right now on the other side of the break gonna talk a little bit about. Some of what you see in the veterans court because that's where that's where the addiction issues and no doubt the crime issues all come together. Patrick Welch is here we're talking about all the issues that need to be raised on this the day before veterans day. It's hard line on news -- 930 WB in the it's hard line on news radio 930 that. -- -- -- Coming up at twelve -- Meet the Press among the guests there secretary of state John Kerry and fresh off his election win this past week in New Jersey. We'll hear from Chris Christie is he running for president or is he still being coy stay with us the answer about five minutes from now. In the meantime we have Patrick -- here former Erie county veterans commissioner he's a senior manager on the veterans' court in the city of buffalo will talk about that the remaining moments. What is that. By the buffalo veterans' treatment court was -- created is an offshoot of judge Ron Robert Russell's mental health and drug courts. And two of my fellow Vietnam veterans Jack O'Connor in the league -- Perot ski. Were working with the judge in and noticed is that they had a couple veterans in the drug court. That weren't doing too well in the judge asked Jack and -- to talk to one day and they saw an immediate change. And in this veteran. And the three of them looked at each other and said you know maybe weeks come across something here. So a judge Russell who is a city court judge in an acting county court judge set up is that trance track and similar to. Youthful offenders being diverted into family court this is a separate practices. Court that veterans can go to where. It's not a silly punitive but restorative exactly what can happen is is a veteran makes a choice to either enter the drug treatment -- the veterans treatment court for ramp or do is their time. And if they come into the program they've got to spend at least a year with us. To be clean and sober before they Gator recognition which allows them to then complete the court session. And then their records will be expunged -- which they get and just an opportunity. To clear up their records let's try to bang out the remaining couple calls here before we go off to meet the press and it's your turn quickly go ahead. They -- Character. -- perfectly you're trying to. Eight certainly reported revenues. Actively -- that 66 into the sixteenth. My question do you really nobody like me -- 173. And I am told -- anything it will be a tough test system and is concerned about. Well my day at the general react questions reaction of that question is yes it's gonna depend upon you know you if you 72 year probably retired. About what you need to do is get down to Bailey avenue 3495. Bailey avenue go into the -- Service senator on the first floor with -- DD 214. They will immediately plug you into the system and advice you'll all of the benefits that you -- earned three years or restore country John in Rochester cleared -- for us in the final call high. They gave a -- you might dead was in World War II it was probably a -- we're really proud album got dresses Saul. And the question I get that the Walter Reed -- hospital back. -- two to 2007. Was under a lot of scrutiny and I've got a lot of bad publicity from the media. What is what that is bad is that that was portrayed -- if if the -- as it is it's sad situation being cleared up right notable person who -- Used to go there on a regular basis and didn't see. The abuse that was portrayed in the media -- what are your thoughts. Well I don't know enough about those specific. Insinuations. I did make several trips to Walter Reed on occasion. And from what I saw on the veterans the military people that I visited. There he expressed to me that there conditions were fine. I will tell you I didn't have one experience I got thrown out Walter Reed because I was in the amputee ward one time and there was some army jag officers. Trying to get some of these young men and women to sign off on there but the benefits. -- gonna give them 40000 dollar cash settlement so they would waive their military benefits. I put up a little bit of a stink and I got escorted off the Walter Reed campus by military police but there. Treatment to the best of my knowledge is -- they merged Walter Reed in with Bethesda now. They got revealed hospital and to them the best of mine now which at this point. Conditions are pretty good. Remaining fifteen seconds here 01 stop piece of advice -- referral how how does if someone couldn't get in or -- wants to know more about what you've been saying. Where do they go to what can they do their first stop should be the buffalo veterans administration hospital 34 and 95 Bailey avenue buffalo. And they should go to the veterans service -- on the first floor with a copy of their DD 214 and they will immediately be informed. Of the benefits they have burned through their service to our country. All right very good Patrick -- thanks for serving thanks for stopping by my pleasure happy veterans stayed all my friends out there who -- I knew it was gonna say that. Now it's time to go off to Washington and Meet the Press.

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