Wounded warriors deserve supportPublished 12:58am Wednesday, August 7, 2013
More than a decade has passed since the start of the war against terrorism. While many service members have returned home safely after their deployments ended, others have not been so fortunate. Hundreds of thousands of veterans have had to return home due to a combat injury or in some cases suffering from the invisible wounds that war has left behind. After years of veterans returning from war with both physical and mental wounds, the care of our wounded service members and veterans would change drastically. In 2010 Congress unanimously passed into law the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Care Act. This was a monumental piece of legislation that would set new standards for not only the medical treatment of our wounded veterans but also establish new programs to help their caregivers, female veterans and homeless veterans. Through government funding from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), an effort was made to meet all the demands of these populations, but as is common throughout governmental agencies, programs often take time to be implemented. Pat Murray, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, publicly criticized the management of the programs by the VA leadership in February of 2011. Although the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was a major supporter for the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Care Act (2010), the organization has also criticized the policy’s implementation. Founded on the basis of providing assistance to those returning from war, the WWP has been able to help over 33,000 service members in the past decade. The writer argues for stronger support of the WWP in order to serve those the VA has not.
As a Master of Social Work candidate from the University of Southern California, it has been my goal to bring awareness to the cause of wounded veterans. Social workers give voices to vulnerable populations that need to be heard. Our nation’s veterans are a special group of people that have earned support and deserve the highest of honors. The groundwork for organizing events and educating the general public on WWP has been rewarding beyond belief.
It is evident when communities care for their veterans as ours does. Along with the Student Veteran’s Affairs at the University of South Alabama, support for the WWP was shown on the afternoon of July 22nd on campus with fundraising efforts. The experiences learned through the advocating process are some of the most valuable lessons the writer will carry throughout their career as a social worker. It is my belief that even though government agencies will continue to do their part when it comes to honoring our heroes, there will always be room for someone else to go above and beyond as veterans have in defending our freedoms.