"The ratings that our Sheridan and Cheyenne vVA facilities have gotten, I guess because a lot of the other numbers have kind of become suspect, you sort of have to look at those too and say 'hmm are these real life, honest, correct numbers or what?'"
- Bob DeBernardo, Wyoming Quartmaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars
This morning secretary of veteran affairs Eric Shinseki resigned, taking the fall over the dysfunction in the veterans administration coming to light. Casper is home to the oldest veteran of foreign wars chapters in the state and some vets think there are some fundamental things they'd like to see changed in the VA.
Bob debernardo proudly served his country in vietnam and he says one of the biggest problems with the v-a now is the inablity to relate to veterans.
DeBernardo said, "Several of the people i've met in the VA who are supposedly dealing with PTSD are not veterans. They have no idea what the veteran has gone through."
Debernardo is also unhappy with the lack of research the VA has put into curing PTSD.
DeBernardo said, "I still dont think the VA has figured out how they need to treat people."
Debernardo is now the quartermaster of the VFW for all of wyoming, and to him, and many other servicemen the best help for vets are their brothers in arms.
United States Navy Veteran Robert Wooleridge said, "It's so wonderful to be able to come into a place like powder river here and talk to the older war vets and share stories."
Although the VFW may help the vets, it doesn't do anything to take the heat of off the VA.
DeBernardo said "The ratings that our Sheridan and Cheyenne vVA facilities have gotten, I guess because a lot of the other numbers have kind of become suspect, you sort of have to look at those too and say 'hmm are these real life, honest, correct numbers or what?'"
Now with changing leadership in the agency. The question that must be answered is what can vets do to help themselves?
Wooleridge siad, "I think we need more veterans to stand up and express what issues they are having."
But as two vets tell us, at the end of the day, no one does more for veterans, than veterans.
Debernardo said he thinks the v-a needs to invest in hiring more medical professionals; rather than focusing on the administration