VA health care

Monday, when I spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Brookings VA clinic, I unintentionally made two omissions from my written statement.

Public speaking is not my forte. Doc Hay was tapping me on the shoulder and trying to cut me off. I got rattled. Thanks VVA brothers for speaking out.

I was speaking to Director Paxton when I said: “Maybe prior to the November town hall you could genuinely reach out to veterans using the Pilot newspaper and enlist their help to identify problems and offer any solutions they may have and discuss those at the November town hall.”

I intended to follow with: “This would be more productive than the obvious damage control by Dana Brice that was witnessed at the last town hall in response to some veteran’s statements.”

And close with: “Four new walls and a roof are not going to fix the systemic problems with the Roseburg VA Healthcare System in Brookings.”

Veterans and more VA employees willing to stick their necks out need to be part of the problem identification/solution process.

As for my letters to Director Paxton, in telling my VA healthcare stories, identifying problems and offering solutions, I really am trying a non-adversarial approach (for me anyway), but it’s all about perception.

After the ceremony, I received a lot of positive comments from VVA brothers and sisters and a VA doctor from North Bend. Even Al Castle encouraged me to “keep bringing it to them.”

While it certainly appears I’m bringing it to Director Paxton, I’m just trying to start the dialogue to help him and others take a look at what is broken, how can it be fixed, and maybe get some health care for myself along the way.

I’m not anti-VA.

I’m pro-veteran.

Mike Berns


safety suggestion

Every city and town where we have lived has had its fire hydrants marked on the roads center line with a blue reflective marker.

I note that Brookings does not.

With the recent fires and crews coming from outside the area working in unfamiliar territory and possibly in the dark I think the addition of reflectors would benefit us all.

Robert Huntoon