Tulare County Vets in Dispute with Fresno VA Celebrate a Victory

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
As Action News first reported Tuesday, a group of South Valley veterans found themselves at odds with the VA over plans to change how they are treated. The vets all suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. But Wednesday those vets earned a small victory.Tulare County school bands were out in full force on Main Street in Porterville Wednesday morning ... showing their spirit in honoring local veterans.

Current and future veterans in full uniform waived to the thousands of people who lined the streets to watch this annual tradition.

Rico Mamauag said, "I think the event is very ... great for our community. It shows pride towards the veterans and it's just a great atmosphere.

Vietnam War Veteran said, "Just to celebrate the veterans and we can't forget the guys who are over serving there right now."

After the parade, a group of Veteran's gathered at Porterville's Veteran's Park to rally against the closure of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder support group. And it seems ... for now ... their efforts have succeeded.

More than twenty Tulare County veterans who rely heavily on a PTSD support group heard good news on this Veteran's Day.

As Action News first reported Tuesday ... the Fresno Veterans Association wanted to shut down the Tulare support group on November 20th ... replacing it with other treatment. But vets here say group therapy is the best treatment there is.

Iraq War Veteran John Ferreira said, "You get more learning from each other than you are having a Doctor tell you what you need to do."

Vietnam War Veteran Gary Hardley said, "They can't replace us. The groups are an absolute necessity."

Now, Peer Leader Russ Vossler and a Vietnam veteran himself will take over the support group on November 20th ... for the time being.

"My mission is to serve these vets and to advocate for them and whatever is in their best interest," said Vossler.

After the holidays, the Fresno VA may re-evaluate the support group and whether some of the veterans should receive other types of treatment.



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