November 25, 2006
Proposed Legislation Expands Wounded Warrior Benefits to Uncovered Veterans

Fewer that 1 in 100 Americans serve in the Armed Forces. I believe that if more civilians understood the sacrifices of those who serve and the sacrifices of those who love them, we would be more than willing to pick up the phone and lobby our Congresspersons to pass legislation to take care of our service members and their families. A specific piece of legislation that could use your support is at the end of this post.

Today I want to raise your awareness of the cost of war to a specific group of service members and their families; the severely wounded. Over the months to come, I will be informing you about legislation that will aid veterans, the wounded and their families, but it all starts with helping you understand.

To do this, I will share a recent email from my friend Tonia Sargent, who regularly sends public emails updating their family situation. Tonia's husband, Kenny, is a Marine who was shot in the head while in Iraq over two years ago; he will always be permanently dependent on Tonia. They were both at the dinner in Washington DC (I told you about that in my post last week), and are amazing yet vulnerable.

There are 10's of thousands of families just like theirs. Please take a moment and put yourself in their situation. And remember, there but for the grace of God go I.

From Tonia Sargent:

You will read below and I ask you to consider one more thought............

The families that are the support element, in my case, that's me and my daughters. The injury and PTSD that my husband suffers is a ripple effect throughout my family. I absorbed PTSD through my husband and my children through us both. I try to absorb the majority to shield everyone and hide my issues to provide strength and reassurance for my family. IT IS AN ILLUSION.

I remember the first year of his trauma from his severe brain injury and he has no recollection of it. I am triggered by hospital environments and the presence of other injured. I struggle DAILY with the depression of my family. I am looked to from my daughters and my husband as well as other families and injured on how to navigate. I am a leader and strong in my persistent personality. So I find it difficult to let down my guard to disappoint those looking to me for someone to follow.

My family is evolving each day into a new family struggling to let go of the old one. I am forever my husband's caregiver and need resources to cope with my new role. If a caregiver is not supported we will fail at our mission to provide care to the injured and ourselves. I am two plus years into this a 24/7 job that never gives me down time or decompression. It just builds and builds... Heavier each moment........

I will not quit but have been broken. I am truly humbled and scared.... I am tired and yet empowered....I question God daily of why am I worthy of this sacrifice. I am learning you must feel empty in order to be filled...

I was not handed a flag but a responsibility to carry forth my warrior and allow him to fly high. I am the now the color guard lifting and caring for a man who represents my freedom - I carry him high and walk tall. I am blessed to have been married to my Gunny for 17 1/2 years before he mentally died on the day of 8-5-04 to be reborn as the MSTSGT I will spend a lifetime getting to know.

I look at my husband...On his right side of his face he represents the Gunny he was.......On the left side are the exit wounds and his EGA tattoo on his left arm representing the MSTSGT and injured warrior he now is. It shows an external struggle of the two men he internally struggles to be. He is afraid to let go of one to be the other......................

He is my best friend..... my purpose.........my freedom............my hero............

Semper Fi,
Tonia Sargent

***

Additional Wounded Warrior Legislation to be Introduced
Week of November 20, 2006

U.S. Senator Larry Craig announced recently that he will soon introduce legislation to expand benefits for veterans not covered under current provisions of the Wounded Warrior benefit. The expanded definition, if adopted by Congress, will allow service members injured outside the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation -- from October 7, 2001, but before December 1, 2005 -- to receive payment for serious injures. Officially know as Traumatic Injury Protection under SGLI (TSGLI), the original legislation created a new benefit rider last year to the Service members' Group Life Insurance Program (SGLI). For more information on Traumatic Injury Protection, visit

http://www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/TSGLI/TSGLI.htm

How do you feel about this action? Let your public officials know how you feel!

(This link will take you to the Issues & Legislative Center of Military.com and will walk you through the process of emailing your elected officials. - Julie)

http://www.military.com/veterans-report/additional-woun...ntroduced?ESRC=vr.nl

Posted by JulieTackett at November 25, 2006 10:26 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Julie, do you have a link to the legislation piece? I would like to read what the proposed legislation reads. The reaason why is that TSGLI does cover servicemembers outside the Iraq/Afghanistan theaters, but it does not cover anyone stateside. What the current TSGLI reads is that anyone serving in operation enduring freedom abroad is covered. This means that the unit I was in in Germany who is, to this day, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom is covered. I would like to see if the new legislation provides for everyone whether they are serving stateside or abroad and what the limitations are. For example, I do not want to see a servicemember who ends up in an accident due to drunk driving get rewarded with TSGLI. I also want to make sure that this is not just some political grandstanding that really is nothing more than what we currently have just reworded to sound different (I have seen that before).

Posted by: TrueSoldier on November 26, 2006 08:56 AM
2. TrueSoldier,

"U.S. Senator Larry Craig announced recently that he will soon introduce legislation ..." Yes, like you, I want to be on top of this... it is the "will soon introduce" that made me want to get the word out early.

When I was volunteering at Walter Reed, one situation really bothered me, a soldier who was wounded stateside in a training accident lost his leg below the knee. His mom was at the Family Assistance Center watching all the other families and their wounded from Iraq get all these benefits and TLC and he got nothing, It angered me then, and then I saw this proposed legislation. I am most definitely hoping is is as you describe, a way to support those who support us.

Could you join me in keeping an eye on this legisation? First step would be to call Craig's office on Monday and asking for the bill #. We can then look it up on www.thomas.gov and go from there. It would be great to have your eyes and ears on this one!

At VMFP, we usually have one person "adopt" a piece of legislation, follow it along and keep the rest of us informed. Anything you can find out will make us more effective.

If you can post anything you learn or want to share about this, our VMFP site has discussion pages where we share and coordinate information with others interested in working on this project. Feel free to post anything there, you don't have to be a member.

http://www.vmfp.org/board/viewtopic.php?pid=784#p784

Thanks,
Julie

Posted by: JulieTackett on November 26, 2006 10:29 AM
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