Advocating for vets must be our priority

I’m writing about the April 1 letter (“Altoona VA, staff helps combat vet persevere”) written by Sgt. Bernard Masino.

This is a very uplifting narrative. I am a former Air Force emergency room medic during the Vietnam conflict, though I did not serve in Vietnam.

However, I counseled many vets going back to Korea. They are former combatants. Masino is accurate with his data. Nationally, we lose 20 vets a day to suicide.

Many former vets exhibit the following disorders — traumatic brain injury, PTSD, substance abuse and compacted grief. This cluster is very challenging to treat. Based on my research, vets are more satisfied with medical care than they are behavioral care.

And suicide is spiking among active military, including non-combatants, especially Marines. A few months back, the top commander in Afghanistan killed himself. So, I will continue my research and advocacy for vets in our area.

God bless this man for his service.

Richard G. Kensinger, MSW

Center for Ethics

in Human Services

Mount Aloysius College