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My father, Raphael Alonzo Montaño, is a decorated World War II vet and followed General George S. Patton his whole military career. He landed in Normandy on the USS Omaha and was the radio operator for the D-Day invasion. He helped free England, Italy and other countries Hitler ran over. He was at the Battle of the Bulge, where the United States Army did not send winter gear to our troops — especially socks and boots. My father has had foot problems since then, but never complained.
At the time of his departure from the U.S. Army, he was promised $45 from U.S. General Patton to help with coming home. He has never received it.
Since October 2010, we have been trying to get help from the Albuquerque Veterans Administration — but to no avail.
Thanks to Senator Tom Udall — we have seen more progress. Did you know that the Veterans Administration and Medicare will not talk to each other and will not help one another — even if a U.S. vet’s life is on the line?
This is a U.S. law passed by our Congress. One other tidbit of information — did you know that all WWII vets paperwork was lost to a fire in St. Louis, Mo.?
The VA will not help a vet unless the VA Administration has a current picture of the vet taken at any VA facility.
On March 2012, we took Daddy-O to the VA in Albuquerque. The VA personnel took paperwork and ran tests and not one person said anything about Daddy-O taking a picture.
We set an appointment on Nov. 21 to visit with a doctor and to get his picture taken at the Española Vet Clinic.
That doctor had quit and there was no other doctor. We saw a nurse practitioner. They took his picture, which never made it to the Veterans Administration in Albuquerque.
On Jan. 26, I heard from Director of the Veterans’ Administration George Marnell’s personal secretary to tell me they lost Daddy-O’s picture. But he has an appointment the first week of February.
On Jan. 10, Daddy-O was sent home from the emergency room at the Los Alamos Medical Center on hospice and was given six weeks to live. I’m happy to say he’s still alive.
My father was unable to make his February appointment — his new docotor from the Los Alamos Visiting Nurses said that he is unable to go his appointment, as a matter of life or death.
The VA will not accept any other picture from any other person.
I now send all my communication to Sen. Udall’s office in Santa Fe and they forward my father’s communication to the bureaucratic conglomerate they call the Veterans Administration. I have completed the means test and will be sending all the bills. I have also asked for “Aid and Assistance” for my nephew who is there with my Father 24/7 and completed the paperwork. The paperwork was signed by my father’s new primary care physician.
It seems the only way my father can get help from the VA is if he is placed in a nursing home. My father does not want to go to a nursing home — he wants to die at home.
I am ashamed of the U.S. and the dishonorable treatment given to the WWII vets. We owe these men and women the freedoms we take for granted today. These honorable men and women need help now. How can we help the newer vets coming home now, when we can’t help vets who came home 50 or 60 years ago and are lucky enough to be alive? What we do now? We can only improve the system for our new U.S. vets.
For more information and gathering of data, please contact me at 661-9701.
Editor’s Note: The Los Alamos RSVP is hosting a free Armed Forces Veterans Benefits Outreach from 10 a.m.-noon today at the Mesa Public
Library in Los Alamos.