Letter to the Editor: A series of letters to Senator Ernst

To the Editor:

This is a combined series of letters that I wrote to Senator Joni Ernst about a situation and a policy that I deem very unfair to veterans who fought for this country and who ride the Veterans Affairs (VA) van from their home or hometown down to the Iowa City VA Hospital for a doctors appointment. While at that appointment, the veteran, such as I, found out he or she needed a procedure done.

My appointment was changed from the next day to the following week and I was like many others who needed to go home to make arrangements for his or her family or animals for an extended clinic stay. After signing all the waivers to safeguard the VA from any responsibility, I found out the VA’s policy was that I couldn’t ride the van back home as they said I was a liability due to my condition and pending procedure.

So, to make that 150-mile trip home, I hired a cab, and the following week to make my 7 a.m. appointment five days later, I had my brother drive me to the Iowa City VA as I figured I was still considered a liability. I wrote to Ms. Ernst to see if she would or could change that VA policy and not leave a veteran to have to hitch a ride, as I believe every veteran who uses the VA system could be considered a liability.

I could care less about the taxi fare, all I wanted was to see if Ms. Ernst could seek help for a veteran who was 150 miles from home and needed a ride home. That VA van that originally took me down to Iowa City was making that same trip home that very day, but because of a VA policy I had to hire a cab to follow that very van, which stopped and let the other van riders off right next to my truck.

Ms. Ernst, I guess the reason I made such a fuss was I served my country for four years, as I was drafted but joined the Navy for four years. Two of those four years I served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam under fire and at Camp Pendleton as a hospital corpsman with a medal for bravery under fire for saving lives. As I said before, most of those who are making the rules are my age and, as you know for certain, many were draft dodgers at the time. As you know, our current president had five deferments.

I once, and many times before, said that the Iowa City VA has treated me great with top notch medical care. I could care less about the taxi fare, it’s the policy made up by many who never served, as every veteran who seeks medical care has or is a reason to be a liability.

Oh, by the way, Ms. Ernst, what’s wrong with your party? Trump commits treason every day and your party is silent. I didn’t fight the communists in Vietnam for your party and Trump to give it away to Putin. Where’s your party’s courage, as they appear to have none.

Ms. Ernst, where are you and Chuck Grassley? You two are also silent. Don’t be afraid, he’s only a man. He can only tweet you for now.

Pat Ward

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