Local veterans react after VA secretary resigns

Local veterans react after VA secretary resigns

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(WJBK) - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized to veterans everywhere on Friday just before President Obama accepted his resignation.

Shinseki stepped down amid outrage over problems at VA clinics all over the country. An investigation revealed the problems are more widespread that initially thought.

Right here in Detroit, local veterans say they're also struggling to get the care they deserve.

"We're advocates and we want to make certain that if you say we're heroes today that we're treated as heroes when we show up at your doorstep," says Tyrone Chatman.

He is a Vietnam veteran and the executive director of the Michigan Veterans Foundation. Many of the veterans at his homeless center have had their own issues with the healthcare services from the Veterans Administration, and have even recently met with Congressman Gary Peters.

"We [were] told that when we leave combat we'd come back to the states that we were going to be taken care of. We took care of this country," says Capt. Reginald Harvey.

Harvey fought the Veterans Administration for years to get his disability. He's glad Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned.

But Chatman, who knows Shinseki, had hoped he would right the ship that is the VA.

"He's a Vietnam veteran as I am. He's a war hero, highly decorated, and I know he loves the vets and it's unfortunate," Chatman says.

But the scandal engulfing the Veterans Administration was just too far reaching, as President Obama addressed on Friday.

"What they found is that the misconduct has not been limited to a few VA facilities but many across the country. It's totally unacceptable. Our veterans deserve the best; they've earned it," President Obama said during the address.

Too often veterans survive the battlefield only to die on the home front failed by a system that was supposed to serve them and that, Chatman says, is criminal.

"Some veterans died as a result of your negligence, fabricating documents and just flat out lying. I think it is criminal and they [should] pay for it because we're talking about our nation's patriots. And if anybody [should] get top-tier, premiere services it seems to me it has to be our nation's defenders," Chatman says.


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