ABOUT ME THANKS TO EVERYONE
June 2, 2010
Everyone is dealt a deck of cards in life. I was dealt a card in Vietnam in combat. After sharing a booby trap with another Marine; Terry Barnette, I become a totally blinded Veteran for the rest of my life. I am thankful for that opportunity. We will all pass on from this life one day. The only thing we will take with us is our spirit.
As a blind Veteran, I was given the opportunity to obtain an education through the Veterans Administration, now called Veterans Affairs, and the Bureau of the Visually Impaired in Delaware. As a result of that opportunity, I am able to assist other Veterans and disabled persons. For that I am very grateful. I intend to assist as many Veterans and disabled persons as much as I can for as long as I can.
I know the Veterans Affairs system from within from eight years of vocational rehabilitation from 1973 to 1982. I obtained a GED, a Bachelor’s in Arts and Behavioral Science, a Bachelor of Science and Criminal Justice from Wilmington College; and a Juris Doctor of Law from the Widener University of Law in Delaware. In 1982 I passed the Bar in Pennsylvania. I am grateful to my family for putting up with me; and I am grateful to the Wilmington YMCA Judo Club. As a result of Judo, I was able to burn off some of my combat related energy and become more focused on my studies.
I am grateful to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) that first assisted me with my service connection for my injuries in 1969. I am a member of the DAV, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans Association, and the Blinded Veterans Association. These groups lobby for Veterans benefits in Washington. They also assist with Veterans benefits and I am grateful for what they do. However, as an Attorney I found that I could do more to help Veterans with their service connected disabilities, and I could help disabled or handicapped persons with their Social Security Disability Benefits (SDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, as well.
I have twenty-eight years of experience in assisting Veterans. I first began assisting Veterans when I was invited to join the National Board of Directors of Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program (VVLP) from 1982 to 1984. The VVLP was a small budgeted pet project of former President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan wanted to change the way Vietnam Veterans were treated and he wanted to change the perceived negative image of Vietnam Veterans. There was one paid Vietnam Veteran’s program director in fifty locations around the country in order to accomplish that goal. Between 1982 and 1984 Vietnam Memorials went up in Washington and all over the country memorializing and thanking Vietnam Veterans for their service. Mission accomplished!
Between 1984 and 1986, I became the first Vietnam Veterans Service Representative for Vietnam Veterans of America at the VA in the state of Delaware. I learned more about the various service connected claims and rating schedules for disabilities; I attended hearings for Veterans and learned the appeal process for Veterans claims. I learned about other Veterans Affairs benefits such as hospitalization, nursing home, educational, burial, and Dependency and Indemnity (DIC) benefits as well I then practiced law in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2000. I handled personal injury, workers’ compensation, family law, criminal law, bankruptcy, collections, and some civil litigation cases in PA. I handled numerous Social Security cases. I handled a number of Veterans Affairs cases during those years pro bono. For example, I took particular pride in assisting a few Marines that were from my own unit in Vietnam.
As a result of handling Social Security claims, I obtained an 800 number, 1-800-ADVICE-7; a phone number that could be easily remembered. The 1-800-ADVICE-7 number became very useful for indigent and homeless disabled persons who would go from building to building within the VA system to homeless shelters. They had a number to remember whenever they moved from one location to another.
When my wife Cheryl and I moved to Parkersburg, WV in 2000, I intended to retire. Cheryl’s 89 year old mother lives nearby in Vienna. I believed it was the right thing to do. In Parkersburg I met Veteran, David Tedrick, an Officer who was in combat in Vietnam. I assisted him with his Veterans Affairs service connected claims. I don’t know how it happened, but since I met David Tedrick, that’s all I do. I help Veterans and other disabled persons all over the country as a business. As a result, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to look myself in the mirror after I’m deceased and feel that I helped more persons than I hurt during my lifetime. I appreciate all of my employees and my families who supported, assisted and put up with me through the years. I am most grateful to God for all he has done for me. I am nothing without him.
If you need my help, I will or someone in my firm will be happy to assist you.