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They fought for our country and now they fight to access their own medical care.

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Today on Veteran’s Day, we honor America’s heroes — those who are actively serving, veterans, and those who have paid the ultimate price.

The brave men and women in the United States armed forces have made incredible sacrifices to give us the opportunity today to worship freely, to speak up, to raise our children, and live without fear.

Veterans are a significant part of every aspect of Feonix, from on our Board of Directors, to our staff, to our volunteers — we are led and inspired daily by men and women who have served our country.

One of the humblest moment’s I’ve ever experienced, was attending the funeral of a young Marine, Mike Scholl.

It was a cold clear fall morning as my husband and I walked up to the church.

In front of us we could see politicians and their security detail pull up in unmarked black SUVs and quietly be ushered inside.

Once we were seated and the service started, I could hear the Patriot Guard Riders revving their motorcycles and the muffled screams of the protesters from across the street.

All of it just seemed surreal.

You could cut the tension in the room with a knife.

When the music began, I remember the melody of the piano, and the song that broke my heart in two that afternoon…

The soloist sang through wavered voice, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…”

Mike used to sing that song on the phone to his wife, and his unborn baby girl when he was deployed.

That day, his daughter, Addison Rose, just a few weeks old, heard that song for the first time with her Daddy in the room.

Lance Cpl. Michael Scholl, of Lincoln, Nebraska died November 14, 2006 from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. (1)

Mike and his family paid the ultimate price for our country.

For every loved one lost in war, there are literally thousands of men and women who return home with deep mental and physical injuries. Injuries that require months, often years of treatment.

Growing up, my parents always taught us to say “thank you for your service” to a veteran.

But is a simple “thank you” enough?

Do we owe our nation’s heroes more than basic sentiments of appreciation?

President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”.

In every community we serve at Feonix, there are Veterans who struggle with transportation to healthcare, employment, and other necessities like getting groceries.

In the United States today, approximately 1.5 million Veterans live in poverty. (2)

As part of my role on a national committee dedicated to creating solutions for transportation in access to healthcare, I received a research report on the VA Health System that outlines that while we may honor and treasure these men and women, they are being left behind, hundreds of thousands of times each year.

In 2017 alone, 256,708 medical appointments to the VA were canceled due to lack of transportation.(3)

They fought for our country and now they fight to access their own medical care.

We at Feonix are joining forces with local partners and Veteran’s services across the US to address this national crisis.

Today, we are announcing a national campaign that we are running for the month of November, to raise funding for Veterans transportation in the communities we serve across the US.

We have partnered with Authentically American, to offer a commemorative T-shirt that will help us fund Veteran’s rides to healthcare. Authentically American was founded by US Army Ranger Veteran, Dean Wegner, and they source 100% of their products in the US.

With your purchase, you will also receive an email every month for the next year highlighting the story of a Veteran using the service, how many miles were traveled across the US that month, and other news about our work supporting Veterans with our local and national partners.

Pictured left to right, Sargent Dan Kwiatkowski and his brother Second Lieutenant Brice Kwiatkowski.

Personally, today I would especially like to thank my cousin Dan for his service in the US Army. He is actively serving right now in the Middle East and we pray every day for his safe return home.

When I was 17, I remember dying Easter eggs at the kitchen table with Dan as a child, and to see him in uniform does not seem real. I would also like to thank my cousin Brice for his service in the US Army, who is currently stationed in Hawaii.

In addition, I would also like to thank my father-in-law, Joseph Lefler Sr. and my brother-in-Law, Ira Horne for their service in the Army.

Finally, I would like to honor the memory of my Great Grandfather, Alvin Johnsen, who served in WWI as a hospital truck driver, my husband’s Grandfather, Ira Horne, who served in WWII as an amphibious tractor driver, my Great Great Uncle Clair Richardson who served in the Army, and my Great Uncle Harold (Bud) E Richardson, who served in the Marines and was awarded the Navy Cross. Both Richardson men lost their lives while serving in WWII.

Respect for our nation’s military is a core value that has been instilled in me since the day I was old enough to hold my hand over my heart when the National Anthem is played, and I will continue to raise my children with those same values.

While I have not actively served, I feel it is my debt of gratitude and honor to bring people together and create programs that leave no man or woman behind who have served our country in the armed forces who need to access to care.

At Feonix, we are taking action in the communities we serve every day, to improve the mobility and quality of life for Veterans as they heal, work, and thrive.

References

  1. https://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/2006.11.html
  2. https://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/SpecialReports/Veteran_Poverty_Trends.pdf
  3. https://trid.trb.org/view/1636511



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !