Residents share views on services for veterans

November 11, 2008|By MIKKEL WALLECH / For The Herald-Mail

HAGERSTOWN -- With Veterans Day upon us and our troops involved in two wars abroad, local residents talked Monday about what more could be done to recognize those who have served, and what they thought is needed to help them adjust when they return to civilian life.

Sherry Mohar, 43, of Hagerstown, said she believes veterans should be treated long term for the mental strain that war causes those who fight.

"I had relatives who fought in the Vietnam War and they dealt with nightmares many years after they had returned from battle," Mohar said.

"The mental health care provided has improved since then, but it is still inadequate," she said. "This is certainly one area we could vastly improve upon for our veterans."


Susan Taylor, 43, of Smithsburg, said she believes the medical care that veterans receive isn't what it could be.

"The VA centers are great, but the care they receive at those centers is not always the best available," Taylor said. "Veterans should be able to go to any hospital to receive treatment."

Like Mohar, Taylor said mental health care for veterans could be improved upon, noting that veterans return home from fighting and are not always ready to face normal life.

"I feel veterans need to be taken care of from the time they return home until the day they die," Taylor said.

Denise Kline, 46, of Maugansville, agreed that benefits for veterans aren't what they should be, and added that veterans should receive monetary support as well.

"These are people that have fought for the freedoms we enjoy every day," Kline said. "I feel they should get a break on just about everything. Whether it be on insurance, taxes or housing, they deserve a break."

Kline said she feels that something as simple as appreciation from other citizens, young people especially, would be great.

"A lot of young people don't seem to care about the sacrifices these individuals have made," she said. "I would like to see the younger generation take interest and show some appreciation for our veterans."

Emeka Obidi, 36, of Smithsburg, agreed.

"People can honor our veterans with something as simple as a handshake or a 'thank you,'" Obidi said.

Larry Bishop, 19, a sophomore at Penn State Mont Alto, agreed with the idea of monetary support for veterans.

"Veterans should be entitled to a break on their taxes, or maybe even have an organization that collects and distributes a lump sum of money to veterans as they return home from war, something to help the transition from the battlefield to normal life," Bishop said.

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