Stand Down- Event- Rocky Hill VA Hospital
Velandy Manohar, MD
I wanted to convey my feelings of deep satisfaction I experienced from working with Patty, Dorine, Bill, Sarah and Molly with hundreds of Veterans and their family members especially and other volunteers. I think we provided useful assistance but most of all our efforts to help them tell us what they wanted us to help them with and willingness to spend time with them and take the extra step to assist them by connecting them to volunteers in nearby tents.
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of spending the time with those who sought to interact with us and others like us who sought to serve those who sought to serve us. I am attaching a couple of poems that I like and believe captures the emotional environment and the experiences of our bravest and best. [The Poem on the left speaks to pervasive loneliness that shrouds the psyche. And the Poem on the right speaks to our debt to our active service members, veterans and their families.
I welcome your comments. I wonder if we can identify what we did well and what we could have done perhaps differently.
I thought the Organizers did a great job with the parking arrangements, setup of the tents and the excellent food services including refreshments and robust filling nutritional lunch.
I wonder how we can thank the people who helped us to achieve our goals of working with Service members and Veterans and their family members. I made new friends and was especially gratified to meet some of my patients form the time I worked at the CHC. I also met some of my friends from the Community health Center where I used to be located working with 4 Psychology residents to provide assessment of their PTSD, Depression and other Combat related disorders. My old associates from CHC and Yale were providing a variety of Medical and dental services.
Thankfully, this time we didn’t need to get any one of the Veterans who made it to Stand Down to the First Aid station and or consider removing some -one to a hospital ER for emotional disorders. Thankfully it was not a sultry hot day and it was pleasant even a rather cold day for several hours. So, everybody could walk around with their bags full of good stuff and enjoy the picnics like atmosphere.
They now have to wait a whole year to meet and interact with numbers of people who care about them and want to listen and understand their needs and do the utmost that can be done to mitigate or remediate where possible their concerns. It is a great privilege that we are able to step into their lives, share their confidence and work on their concerns right then and there which can contribute to their self-confidence, perhaps motivation for self-care and begin to think there is perhaps some hope for them to live a better life.
I am grateful for this opportunity. Thanks. I was glad to be back at the Stand Down Event once again after a break of 4 years or so. I had been going to the Stand Down Event with CHC teams for a few years especially during the worst of the military campaigns in OIF and OEF. There was more underlying tension especially because a huge number of reports started to emerge about the horrible treatment delivered in some VA Hospital systems and concerns about the never- ending campaigns with only 0.5 % of the population participating in the defense of our country. The multiple deployments caused serious complications that stretched resources for care beyond breaking point in VA systems of care. This time I didn’t get one complaint about not getting the appropriate care in the VA hospital systems This is a big change in 4-5 years. This is a big blessing.
From: Velandy Manohar [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2011 11:55 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Thanks to Karen Wickham - and her hearty marchers - CHC has the Mayor's Trophy - Memorial Day Parade 2011
I hope this finds you well.
I thought you might be interested in this story from Memorial Day 2011.The Middletown Press published this short report unsolicited on June 03, 2011 in the opinion section. It was entitled, “ We were not deterred by scattered showers.”
The few, the proud the CHC staff ( about five of us-who gathered at about 0900 in the rain). We refused to abide by the decision made from afar that the parade was cancelled, Without our knowledge or consent the parade was called off because of the fairly steady sprinkles. After we talked it over with our CEO we decided to take our float down the road. With a “Float” full of plants and our plan to distribute seeds of flowering plants we knew we were on the right path. Mr. Mark Masselli who has much influence locally and State-wide decided to push forward to get the march back on the road. We were able to start the parade 2 hours after the previously announced start time. By then the rain was gone and really warm humid, sunny weather took over the scene. The MPD and the MFD did a great job of providing the support needed to complete a safe and successful parade starting at 11:30 AM instead of the scheduled 0930 starting time.
One thing lead to another, the Viet Nam Vets joined us with their big truck and numerous others including an elderly ramrod straight Marine in his dress blues leading his chestnut horse with the boots reversed in the stirrups. We were ready to offer our heartfelt homage and gratitude at 0900 and we were not going to be deterred by scattered showers. My friend Bob Santangelo who is Viet Nam Veteran and city council member came too. A good crowd gathered as the news spread. All of us had a good time. Some of us distributed seeds for the planting season on behalf of the CHC. This was well received by the spectators. The only additions I would have liked to have arranged if we had the time to do it would be to select someone to lead us in the singing of the National Anthem and to find someone to give us all a rendition of Taps. I had a copy of the Constitution in my bag so we could have taken turns to read the Bill of rights(and the responsibilities we have to commit ourselves to). Those who gave their lives and served in the past and are placing themselves in harms have understand this responsibility to preserve protect and defend the Constitution. The honored death have indeed “given their full measure of devotion” to make good on their solemn Oath. Semper FI
Some of you may know me to be the elderly fellow with a flag and red USMC wind breaker in the photograph of the Prize-winning float and the CHC team that was not deterred by scattered showers. It was a gift from my son’s Col. My son served as XO to I BN II Mar Div. in Iraq when the USMC and coalition forces cleaned house in Al Anbar province. My son after some challenging billets, including Office of the Commandant of the USMC in the Pentagon and Harvard will be back with his remarkable former CO - the Col from OIF, at the Central command.
The Middletown Press published this letter unsolicited on June 03, 2011 in the opinion section. It was entitled, “ We were not deterred by scattered showers.”
P.S. 06 22 11 I just learned that SGT. Major Michael Barrett the highest ranking enlisted of the Marine Corps carries the Constitution in his pocket and reviews the whole document every three years when he re-enlists. He tackled the repeal of DADT policy by reading form the Constitution. This interaction illustrates the point I made earlier namely those who places themselves in harm’s way understand their responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Sgt.Maj. Barrett addressed the repeal of DADT directly
“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.
“You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”
“Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.
“How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”
Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.
“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion, and respect. Let’s be Marines.”
Stay well, stay safe and stay in touch please.
Velandy Manohar, MD