VA Eastern Kansas making sure veterans are a priority year-round

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Sergeant Hilton Mcland served 28 years in the U.S. Army. His last tour was his hardest: Iraq in 2006. “I was kind of struggling with somethings, some of the things I saw and went through on my last tour,” he said.

Like many of soldiers worldwide, Mcland deals with psychological trauma. Many of them in Kansas come to VA Eastern Kansas in Topeka. On Tuesday, the head of VA Eastern Kansas met with half a dozen veterans to listen to them.

“Who is the best one to be able to help you improve that care that they are receiving, and so hearing it directly from them, our male veterans and female veterans is important for us,” Rudy Klopfer, director of VA Eastern Kansas.

One of the most important questions that was asked today, is ‘when veterans come here, are the programs that are being offered, what they need?’

Lt. Col. Greg Platt says “absolutely, as I said, those programs were lifesaving.”

“It was extremely helpful, there’s a lot of people in place and a lot of programs that help veterans that are struggling with some things,” says Mcland.

The wounded warrior project estimates 400,000 veterans are trying to cope with post-traumatic stress and these two found you can’t deal with it alone.

Platt says he knows he’ll “never get rid of PTSD but as you heard in the group earlier, now I can manage some of those symptoms.”

“When you have other vets that have been through that kind of stuff, they can totally relate to what you’re going through,” says Hilton.

VA officials say improving programs and getting feedback will help to make sure veterans feel they are a priority. Not just on holidays, but everyday. As for the demand for the VA’s services, we’re told the Topeka facility had to schedule an additional 15,000 appointments than a year ago and overall has seen nearly a 4% growth in requests for help.

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