It has been three decades since I first entered the VA healthcare system and I must say the VA has come a mighty long way. Congressman Jack Kingston pushed the largest bill in VA healthcare history to provide for PTSD veterans 12 years ago. There are so many programs to help veterans manage their demons.
The Pact Act has provided tens of thousands of burn pit veterans with 100% disability. Over 800,000 veterans have signed up for the Pact Act. The VA is keeping our nation’s promise to provide its veterans with world class healthcare.
Michelle Verwiel was my therapist/ social worker for over a year. She visited my home nearly 20 times. Her visits got me out of the house to sit on the porch and we enjoyed watching the butterflies. Her last visit was on August 22, 2022. At a tearful meeting the next morning, I found out she passed away, leaving behind her infant daughter. It sent a shock wave through the VA. She was a good hearted soul who passionately shared her humanity with us veterans.
The VA has not been able to find a replacement or her yet. Michelle was a Savannah native, who came to the Hinesville VA from Seattle. She said the VA campus in Seattle was beautiful and was helping me plan a visit there as a flagman as part of my 25th anniversary of thanking veterans for their service to our nation. I need someone to set up a GoFundMe page so that I can check this off my bucket list.
Eleasha Holmes, who is also a therapist/social worker at the VA, provides strong leadership and guidance to PTSD veterans. She’s a professional who started a PTSD group just for woman veterans.
Dr. Evette Borden, the VA’s podiatrist, has moved on to take care of her mother. This means veterans will have to choose between Savannah’s VA clinic or a local private physician. Veterans are going to miss Dr. Borden and wish her the best.
Behavioral health workers and veterans are reflective upon the loss of Michelle. A gentle notion flows through my thoughts of hummingbirds and butterflies when I think of Michelle.
Ted Harris, Midway