Hello, my name is Tiffany and I am the spouse of an active duty service member and co-founder of Rally. I’d like to take a moment to talk about the veterans assistance program and why we created Operation Saving Grace.

A Little backstory (All information can be found at the VA.gov website under history overview).

VA History and growth:
The VA program is a government funded and controlled program to assist veterans with life’s struggles after active duty. The earliest system of assistance for vets can be traced all the way back to as early as 1636. The pilgrims passed a law that gave disabled soldiers support from the colonies during the war against the pequot indians. A little later on in 1776 the continental congress began providing pensions to disabled soldiers during the revolutionary war. 

In the early days of America as a republic individual states and communities began providing direct medical care (general practitioners and hospital care) to vets. Around 1811 the federal government finally authorized the first medical facility for vets. Later in the 19th century the nation’s VA program grew to include benefits and pensions for vets; but also for their widows and dependents. 

Following the civil war state vet homes were created.Vets who required continual medical and hospital treatments were serviced there regardless of if the injury was of a service origin. Regular discharged members of the armed forces also could receive care at these homes.

When America entered the first world war congress expanded the new VA benefits program to include programs for disability compensation, insurance for active duty service members and vets, and the vocational rehabilitation of disabled vets. In the 1920s three branches of the VA existed, the veterans bureau, the bureau of pensions of the interior department and the national home for disabled volunteer soldiers. Soon after the first consolidation of vet programs took place. In 1921 congress combined all of the WW1 vet programs and created the veterans bureau. It was around here that they began construction of the first hospital for WW1 vets. With the use of mustard gas and other chemicals during the war vets required specialized care after the war. TB and neuro-psychiatric care was also increased. In 1928 the existing national homes were extended to include women, national guard and militia vets. The next consolidation took place in 1930, when president Hoover signed an executive order to elevate the Veterans bureau to a federal administration creating the VA.  

After WW2 the veterans population vastly increased and congress enacted large numbers of new benefits for vets. The most significant of these was the WW2 GI Bill. The GI Bill placed the VA second to the war and navy departments in funding. 

The VHA: 

The VHA is also known as the Veterans health administration; it was established for Civil war vets of the union army. President Lincoln signed into law shortly before the end of the civil war the first national home for disabled vets aptly named the national soldiers and sailors asylum.

By 1929 there were 11 national homes that accepted veterans of all American wars. It wasn’t until WW1 that the first veterans hospitals were born. They started out as leased private hospitals and hotels to care for the large amounts of injured or disabled vets from WW1.

Today’s VHA is the largest of the three VA administrations and continues to meet as best they can the changing medical, surgical and quality-of-life needs of our vets. New programs are being made constantly to grow with our medical knowledge, like treatment for PTSD. All in all the VA has grown from 54 hospitals around 1930 to 1600 health care facilities today most of which are outpatient sites. 

Now let’s talk:

To any random civilian I bet you would think “oh wow what a great program our vets must be well taken care of.” However if we did a little more research you would find far to many cases where veterans are falling through the cracks. Have you ever seen a homeless vet on the streets and stopped to ask what happened? No, I’m going to guess not. However if you did you would hear how the VA had failed them in transitioning back to civilian life, or maybe that they have struggled for years with attaining care for PTSD.

 As an active duty spouse myself I have seen how hard it is to transition from a deployment to home life and that is just a transition within the military. Now think of how hard it would be to transition from military life to a civilian life? They are VERY different structures and environments.

Now I’m not saying the program itself is a failure, the idea and the purpose behind it is amazing and it does help alot for a large portion of vets. However it’s not enough, too many vets are falling through the cracks of this system. Too many vets are finding themselves homeless and alone. Too many vets are dealing with life changing medical issues that are not being treated properly. That’s not a life anyone should live, let alone someone who signed their life away on a blank check in service of our freedoms and ability to live in this country. It is because of these cracks that charities like ourselves have created programs to try to help fill in those cracks.

I am not bashing the VA, like stated and seen from its history it is a great program. What my point here that I’m making is that one program alone is not enough federal or not. We as citizens need to help fill in those cracks. Whether you support war or not is quite frankly not the question you should be asking when thinking about our vets and service members. What you should be asking is “if i decided to devote myself to something to protect others regardless of how they treated me when i tried to do my best for them, would i also want help?”. A Lot of our service members don’t care about appreciation, they just want to be able to return to civilian life and continue to at least live.

OSG was created to try to help fill in those cracks, whether it be help paying for medical care, emergency housing assistance, homeless vet and deployed service member care packages and more. Right now you could help by either donating to OSG or by going to our amazon wish list for care package supplies and buying something. Even something as small as a tube of toothpaste makes a difference.

Homeless vets:

Active duty:

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