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Lee’s Veterans Services budget needs a boost

May 29, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

The memories of our soldiers honored on Memorial Day in Lee County were expressed. The mayor of Cape Coral gave a speech honoring our soldiers yet these soldiers are still not exempt from the city's public service tax that circumvents the state property tax exemption for disabled veterans. With the Veterans Administration scandal and after the speech of a young women about the pain her brother suffered after being burned over 85 percent of his body, I was moved and wondered how the mayor could speak supportive words today yet allow the city's slick maneuvers to collect more revenue at these disabled heroes expense. As a disabled veteran who has been treated by the VA, I have seen many things that could have been done to help our soldiers yet politicians like our mayor seem to spin and lie.

Memorial Day - and Lee County Veterans Services Office and the funding and staffing is not appropriate. = We are fortunate, though, because we have a retired special forces Green Beret 1st sergeant who operates this program, however, he needs help since he is the only man for the entire county and his budget has been drastically cut.

It is my opinion, the Lee County Commission should increase this Veteran Services budget and add an administrative assistance, an attorney, counselors to go to the veteran's home to help with claims, group counseling, pay for local gyms like the Lee Memorial Health Care Wellness Center with a personal trainer, yoga, and other fitness programs to recover from the horrors of war because the VA does not do anything but give our heroes drugs.

One of the biggest problems with the VA is it does not support veterans with PTSD. The best results for maintaining a functional life for these soldiers is to decrease their isolation, sitting alone and thinking. These soldiers need help with misdemeanor arrest, divorces, wills, foreclosures, and general legal advice because these are the symptoms of PTSD.

Legal services were provided to students at a university where I was once employed and it was a great help to many students and it was cheap and included in the tuition.

I encourage Lee County Commissioners who are in their first part of budget workshops this week to increase the budget for the Lee County Veterans Services and to hire or employ a grant writer or assign a grant writer to get grants to help our veteran population now. Let us be proactive and take action with the words expressed in your speeches.

Jack Mattachione, MRC

Cape Coral



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