Guest Author - Jeff Valentine
If you haven't heard about the Center for the Intrepid (CFTI), located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, it's time to pay attention.
This center is a rehabilitation facility that is at the forefront of treating our wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are amputees or burn victims. Officially dedicated at the beginning of 2007, it was entirely constructed in response to the large number of wounded who have come back from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here's the really cool and amazing thing about it, and the reason that I asked you to pay attention. The Center for the Intrepid and its $50 million dollar cost of construction was totally and entirely financed through donations from private individuals.
One figure says that 600,00 people contributed their own hard earned dollars to help out our service-members who need it the most. Good show, America!
It's important to look at this in the realm of what our government can and cannot accomplish. Obviously this facility was needed. Obviously the government, which runs on the tax dollars of everyone of us, didn't fund it. The citizens of America funded it, not with their tax dollars, but in addition to whatever they had already paid in taxes.
The Center for the Intrepid can, and should be, the model for the future care and welfare of treatment and support for our Veterans. With notable problems facing the VA, newsworthy problems at Walter Reed and deficient mental health staffs nationwide, the CFTI may serve as a model for treating the unseen wounds of war. Namely post traumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder, and traumatic brain injury.
Let's throw a few "What If?" scenarios out there:
-What if the citizens of this great nation took it upon themselves to donate their extra dollars to helping every Veteran in need get the mental health assistance they require?
-What if we, as a nation, opted to supplement the VA system, base mental health, and other agencies with private PTSD centers akin to the Intrepid Center?
-What if we were able to get some of the really big money names involved, such as a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet, some of the richest men on the planet?
(And who knows they may have contributed to the CFTI. I'll try to ask them. -VetEd)
The moral of the story is that relying on the government to take care of each and every service member who requires help, when the system is bursting at the seems, doesn't bode well for the future. This nation of millions can do better, as evidenced by what the Center for the Intrepid and its patrons have accomplished.
Think about it. Let me know what you think!
This article is OVER but not OUT!
Don't hesitate to contribute your thoughts to the Veterans forum or drop me a line at the Veterans Editor email address.