Here’s a lovely story from Member Mark. He’s been in a rough and tumble fight for 13 years with our common adversary and finally prevailed in December 2012. This is no small feat to accomplish under the best of circumstances. Try doing it when you’re sick as a dog and your VSO (California Dept. Of Vet Affairs or CDVA) is not too terribly interested in a hands-on approach.
Mark’s representative, Bob Penny, had been diddling around with this for years when I got involved. Mark and I grabbed the bull by the horns, got the proper evidence into the file, the tattoo photographs blown up and touched up by Cupcake, and assembled the proper regulations to support a grant. Mr. Penny slept through that phase. Mark lost and finally had to do it by appeal to the Board in Washington, DC. I always hate this because it means 3 more years of wait.
Nevertheless, Mark won as I knew he would if he persevered. The law is dispositive on this. If you get the clap, it’s not willful misconduct. It’s a poor choice of a girlfriend for the night but nothing more. Most importantly, it is a risk factor for HCV. VA knew this and thought they could roll Mark. He was pretty sick and wasn’t exactly getting meaningful legal help from Mr. Penny and the CDVA. As with many, he had no documentation of his tattoo when he separated on his SF88 Physical in block #39. That was a real claim killer. The clap and the picture carried the day but it should have in Oakland where he was filing. Had his VSO been the least bit effectual, it would have occurred locally.
So who should crawl out from under a rock and start bellyaching about all the hard work he did to get Mark service-connected? Just like a bad penny, old Bob is back and now wants his picture together with Mark and a thank you letter for his trophy wall. He probably doesn’t get many successful, hard-to-win claims and this would be a real feather in his cap. It would if he had done something, that is.
I take no credit. Mark is the winner here. He had all the bullets and the gun but nowhere to aim it. Once we sorted it out and wrote it up, VA refused to grant. He had tried for so long and so hard, they figured they could blow him off. Bob, by now, had joined the Lost In Space Fan Club and was invisible.
This is the third instance of a VSO showing up on a Vet’s doorstep here at asknod demanding his recognition. Multiply this by thousands of pro se Vets who eventually gave up and went out on their own. I think it may be time for Mark and others to go down to the VSOs and take their pictures so we can publish them here on our Trophy Wall of Shame.