As promised, our war hero Butch Long is recovering slowly and regaining his strength. He hasn’t graduated from his wheelchair yet but all in good time. We’re on for Congressman Kilmer presenting his medals and the CIB he somehow missed the boat on in 1969. Of more import is a slight problem I am hoping some of you may be able to help me out on.
I know I am going to be crucified for this but I’ll just go ahead and step smartly on my necktie. While Butch was in the ICU back in November/December, he took his upper dentures out before he went to sleep and carefully wrapped them in a kleenex to keep them clean. Some industrious gomer cleaning up threw them away the next morning while he was still asleep. No one in ICU would take responsibility and Butch is out half of his dining capabilities. This is becoming a serious problem as it’s hard to thrive when you cannot eat. Medicare is not going to come to the rescue. And because Butch didn’t serve after 9/11/2001, the Wounded Warrior Project has declined help.
However, I do have a lead through Representative Kilmer’s VA honcho. She, a Veteran and a denture builder (dentist?), may be able to do it for a greatly reduced rate as she’s done it for another Vet in similar circumstances. Butch and his wife are not well-heeled and are very proud as are most Vets. They don’t cotton to handouts-including mine. I am meeting resistance in any help I try to give so I am hoping a deluge of well-meaning Veterans from the asknod family will step in to help me fill the breech. They can’t deny total strangers right? This is straight across the board. Every dime you folks donate to him goes to him. I’m just the wheel man. This is how Vet charities are supposed to work. He and his wife will probably kill me for doing this but I cannot think of more deserving souls and most certainly no more deserving Veteran.
I do not have a 501(c)(3) so you’ll be writing the check directly to them. If you don’t think that’s a worthy idea, I’ll pitch another one to you. His wife Barb “works” for the Key Peninsula Bischoff Food Bank. They are a 501(c)(3) and you can write the donation off if your goal is a tax writeoff. Or, if you feel sufficiently motivated, you might think about dividing your donation in two equal parts and give equally to both projects. I’m not on the best of terms with God so I can’t speak for Him but I expect he’d smile on this endeavor.
I donate all my excess food production to Bischoff as it is distributed very locally here on the Key Peninsula. I sometimes accidentally drop money on the floor there as I’m scatterbrained and suffer old timers disease. There are a lot of “underemployed” since the last economic rearrangement out here and a middling number are Veterans. Cupcake also generously contributes from her real estate company as well. After the Christmas rush, there’s always a dearth of food and money to help the needy in an enterprise of this nature. By rights, you’d think everybody would be going on a Jenny Craig New Year’s diet and trying to shuck some pounds and there would be even more food about.
Now, some proscriptions are in order. If you are destitute yourselves, please refrain from donating. The last thing we need is more problems elsewhere across our underfruited plain. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is right out. Please do not get a bad case of generous. It may embarrass Butch and backfire on me. I can’t take the money unless you write the check or money order in his name. This is a temporary phenomenon until I can get his rating increased to a living wage because his SSI check barely covers the rent. The new Affordable Care Act also means he has to pay the hospital back some shekels for his three-week staycation. If I can get him up to 100%, VA will cover his dental but not before. That’s VA’s catch 22- A grateful nation honors its Sons of War-sort of.
If you can believe it, the VA gave Butch a whopping 10% for “scars” covering less than 15% of his body in 1970. Somehow, they forgot about the SMC K for his right eye-the one the shrapnel went through the year before. It missed going into his brain by less than an inch. He’s been somewhat functionally blind ever since and was just reluctant to admit it to anyone. VA didn’t volunteer remuneration for that and I aim to rectify it. One big problem is they aren’t regurgitating his claims files in spite of me putting dynamite under their asses. I’ve turned that over to Rep. Kilmer’s folks now as well. The next step will be a Writ of Mandamus but I’m praying for VA to just be a stand up organization and disgorge them. Until that happens, we’re in the here and now.
I enclose pictures here of Butch’s right arm. I doubt any of you have ever seen the effects of a mortar round on human flesh. Due to the minute size of the retained metal fragments, they tend to surface much later over time. They couldn’t pick them out in 1969 and they certainly can’t now. Butch has been pulling them out for decades. VA somehow neglected to even issue him a pair of tweezers and a box of bandaids. We have another Vet here on the Key Peninsula (Gordon) who had an encounter with a Bouncing Betty in 1967 near Quang Tri and he suffers similar problems. Unfortunately, he did lose his right eye and few other of his 2,000 body parts. All those black spots are bits of the mortar. The right side of his body looks like someone spilled pepper on snow. The red spots are healing areas.
If you are interested in helping, you can make a check payable to Leslie C. Long, care of me here at my place. I’m going to present them to him on St. Valentine’s Day at his awards ceremony. Similarly, if you’d be interested in helping out the KP Bischoff Food Bank, I’d be forever in your debt. It will certainly help tide them over and keep body and soul together for those without.
The address is: Leslie C. Long
c/o Alex Graham
14910 125th Street KP N
Gig Harbor, WA 98329
Substitute KP Bischoff Food Bank as payee and use my address for them as well. I promise to keep you apprised of your combined efforts here. KP N stands for Key Peninsula North. We live on a stretch of land like Florida. Imagine KP N being the north end like Orlando as opposed to KP S (South) being Miami. Allow me to illustrate with Google Earth.
I’ve never done this before. Then again, I’ve never been faced with this challenge. We former Air Force types tend to make do and “requisition” things as needed from our own resource pool. I’d be obliged if you felt moved to help out. Seems St. Valentine’s is also an auspicious time to get a heart-especially the Purple variety.
I thank you for your generosity in advance. No pay pals. No FundsRus. Just good old fashioned snail mail checks like good neighbors do. 100% of the ordnance will hit the target.