October 15, 2010 – I’ve been blogging about my experiences with wounded warrior health care in recent months. I have found myself in a delicate situation because I want to accomplish some goals I have set, and I also want to protect my privacy and that of my son, the wounded warrior in my life.
In the beginning I kept the unfolding situation completely confidential. Little by little, I began to speak up and speak out. I realized that I was in a situation where I had my obligation as a mother to fight for proper medical care for my son, but I also felt that I had a moral obligation to fight for those wounded troops who were in a similar situation, yet had no advocate.
There is a fine line between helping someone in the military and ruining their lives. The military doesn’t like anyone butting in and pointing out their flaws. The only way to help someone is to put that individual at risk.
When you realize you aren’t getting anywhere, because the military plain and simply tunes you out, you start to wonder if you are going to have to go public. We all know that the media will get the word out, but we don’t know how the situation will be presented, nor can we control the perceptions and misconceptions of those who become informed through this outlet.
We have all seen lives destroyed in a split second when the cow pie hits the fan. While we may enjoy watching someone else’s life go up in smoke, none of us want our own lives to be subjected to the unfair and biased lynch mob waiting to pounce on our big story.
Keeping quiet was easy until I knew that my son’s life was in danger. Realizing I had to save his life put me in the risky category. For well over a year, I was making contacts with high ranking military officials and lawmakers, writing letters, making phone calls, investigating programs and treatments, and fighting for my son’s life. Not wanting a media circus, but feeling compelled to speak up, I decided to start blogging.
Unfortunately, I live in a town where a lot of people know our family so even when I was writing the blog, I wasn’t sharing it with my own home town. To this day, I still don’t put it out there to many people. I have tried to keep my name out of it, hoping people will be more concerned about the issue itself, rather than the mother and son who happen to be living the story out up close and personal. I have posted some of the blog entries here on Open Salon. It seems safer because I don’t know anyone here personally. I can blog, get some reaction, and my son doesn’t have to know I’m doing it. We don’t become the center of attention and people who want to help, and can make a difference, have read my blog and taken action.
An issue such as the one I’ve been battling deserves national attention, but I just don’t want the national attention to have my life, or my son’s life, as the centerpiece. After a long battle, however, I guess I’m getting braver because I’m ever so slowly allowing the ultimate goal – that of saving the lives of our troops suffering with the invisible wounds of war – become more important than the fear of being attacked by the lynch mob.
I’ve got to step out in faith. I’ve got to do the right thing. I’ve got to believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. I have to believe that God would not have brought me this far to leave me or my son to be destroyed by the Corps or the opinions of the American public. I’ve learned to trust in the fact that God is bigger than the Marine Corps!
After almost two years of fighting an uphill battle, my son is finally out of the Marine Corps, a retired disabled veteran. The Department of Defense Inspector General’s office is now conducting a nationwide assessment of medical care for wounded warriors in the Army and the Marine Corps. They have come to my home town to spend three days interviewing me, and have also spent two weeks at Camp Lejeune, the base where my son should have received proper care. All of this has been accomplished because I didn’t give up, and because an incredible lawmaker, Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, listens to his constituents and dedicates himself to solving problems brought to his attention. Congressman Jones has been diligently working to make sure this issue gets the attention that is needed. He will not stop until our troops are getting proper medical care.
I finally agreed to stand against the scrutiny of the local media in Jacksonville, North Carolina, allowing an article to be published about the situation. I also decided to bravely set the record straight by blogging about the news article published in the Jacksonville Daily News last Sunday.
I will continue to post some of my blog entries right here on Open Salon. I enjoy this community and have made friends here. Some out there have been critics, others have been supportive. To all of you paying attention, no matter which side you are on, I wanted to let you know that I’m beginning to open the door to reveal the bigger picture. I hope you will take some time to read some of the blog entries and pay attention to the news that may be generated from my decision to go public.
I know I did the right thing because other people who have been living in a nightmare just like mine are contacting me. They opened the Jacksonville paper and found themselves reading their own story, told by a mother from Kentucky. I always knew I wasn’t alone. I’m hopeful these new found friends will come to see the benefit of opening up to accomplish a greater purpose – saving lives.
To read the story, “Team Surveys Wounded Warrior Battalion as Troubling Reports Mount” in the Jacksonville Daily News, click here.
To read my response to the article, where I set the record straight, click here.
If you find yourself concerned about medical care for our wounded warriors, I hope you will help me to spread the word about this issue by sending people to my blog.