Friday, October 24, 2008

My Job

Well Coffey gave me quite a few ideas to write about so I will just start with the first one, veterans stuff.

Now with my job I basically counsel veterans on the benefits they may be eligible for through the federal VA and through the state. And I take great solace in being able to say that I do not work for the VA. I am employed by the county and basically when you boil it down, the tax payers pay me, our veterans taxes pay me. I work for the veterans. I got this job about 6 months after I graduated high school. I am a huge history buff and thought this sounded like an interesting job…with good benefits. Most of our veterans are like walking history books to me only better. That is including the guys that are my age. These people have lived history and they all have their own story.

I would have to say my favorite group of veterans would have to be the WWII vets. These are the guys that have had time over the years to heal and actually seem to like talking about their experiences. There’s one guy that’s been in quite a bit the last couple of months that was in Patten’s army. Another one that passed away a while back served as a medic on the front lines. These guys are incredible to listen to. The things they did and saw in the service are truly amazing.

My next favorite group is probably the Vietnam vets. At least the ones that have handled things pretty well. We have a few veterans with severe cases of PTSD and couple with Schizophrenia that make me a little nervous to deal with. I have the upmost respect for them all, but some are just better to deal with than others. The Vietnam vets are starting to get to that phase that they can openly talk about their service a bit more. Now don’t get me wrong, WWII vets all had their fair share of gruesome experiences and PTSD, but the Vietnam guys dealt with a whole different kind of warfare. They dealt with jungles, bugs, swamps, snipers, pungee sticks, prostitutes that did very not nice things, social ridicule, orders that were unthinkable, napalm and Agent Orange. We have one African American vet that is a big, big man. He is a few bricks short due to his PTSD and other mental disorders but all the same is an impressive man. I keep telling my co workers that if we sent more guys over there that were that big and trained that well the war probably would have ended up differently. When I think of him I think of the movie The Glimmer Man with Steven Segal. “There’d be nothing there, then a glimmer and then you were dead”. I think that would some up this gentleman very well.

Our Korean vets are my grandparent’s age. And oddly enough I have run across many of them that grew up with my grandpa. We don’t seem to see as many Korean vets as we do any others. They are a pretty laid back group, but they are still very interesting to talk to. I had an uncle (my Granma’s brother) who was killed in Korea and my grandfather served in the Navy during that time. Talking with some of them kind of gives me a feel for what experiences they would have had.

Then of course there is the Persian Gulf vets. Now the government has not put a closing date on the Persian Gulf War era so anyone that has served from Aug. 2, 1990 to present day is considered a Persian Gulf vet. I deal with those that are my parent’s age then I deal with those that are my age. It’s a bit of a weird era generation wise, but as the same with the others very interesting. The one’s that really seem to hit home with me though are the guys that I know and went to school with. One of them I didn’t know him hardly at all in school but knew him because of friends back then. But he gave a speech at our graduation and was voted most likely to succeed…that is until the Marines signed him up. He now suffers from PTSD and drug and alcohol problems related to it. He’s doing a wonderful job of staying clean and doing what he’s supposed to, but he’s not the same guy anymore. And sadly enough I don’t think he ever will be. There are those that are born for war and those that aren’t.

4 Comments:

At 3:52 PM , Blogger coffeypot said...

Thanks! I was raised around WWII vets and would sit on the floor listening to them talk to my dad. I also had a gentleman working for me who received three purple hearts while being at Bastogne (the Battle of the Bulge.) I received his firs P/H on D-Day. He will talk about it, but his wife says he has nightmares for days afterward when he does.

The big brothers of the guys I played with came home from Korea (or not) and they were my heroes.

As for my group, the Vietnam vets, the size of the troops had nothing to do with their fighting ability. We won almost every battle, but lost the war to big business and nut-less politicians who were afraid of world and public opinion to get the job done. Kind of like today.

If we are going to send our youth to other countries to fight, keep the politicians out of it and let the military do their job. We cannot be beat if we stop getting defeatism from our own leaders.

The guys and gals serving now are my new heroes. I am so proud of them and sad for what they have seen and will have to carry with them for the rest of their life. That’s why I appreciate what you do for them. Keep on keeping on.

 
At 2:29 AM , Anonymous Amber said...

Wow! I didn't realize that a) you've had your job for as long as you have and b) the amazing people that you help take care of on a daily basis!

I also don't think you even realize how good you are at your job. I know you've thought of/wanted to quit since Lily was born... and that's totally a personal decision that you'll make one way or the other. But, I hope you know how much you would be missed. What a huge difference you're making in the lives of these vets just by being you.

I don't know them and I don't have to, to be able to tell you that. Your personality, caring, kindness, compassion, are all a part of who you are and are all obviously genuine when it comes to these guys.

I'm proud of you, Miss Suvvy!

 
At 7:35 AM , OpenID guinness222 said...

Your comment about history is the key. I'll google it later but someone once said if we don't understand history we are damned to repeat it.
Any Vet, me included U.S. Navy '64-'69 will tell you the biggest problem is EXACTLY what coffeypot said, "nutless politicians, and big business". Today I think big business is bigger than ever in manipulating war for profit. Last evening on nutty "Kramer" (stock market guru) he was interviewing some dude from a company (stock symbol "AVAN") that makes drones, and touting how phenomenol thier "numbers" were and the CEO of the company says yes, and now they have orders rolling in from every nation on earth.
Duh! What part of war is not about the proliferation of weapons, but the elimination of them, the enemies weapons!
I'm ranting, gotta stop, thanks for helping Vets we really appreciate it, particularly 'Nam Vets. Noone liked us thirty years ago, we were evil doers, baby killers, etc.
Mr. Guinness

 
At 3:44 AM , Blogger Miles McClagan said...

I'm so lucky the closest I ever got to war was when my catholic school was attacked by the protestant school throwing eggs...keep up the good supportive work!

 

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