For realtor Billy Scott, limo-owner Dan Brown and guide Sid Wilson, their quest to get treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is finally paying off.
All were diagnosed in the late 60s with the illness as part of their discharge, but were denied benefits by the Veterans Administration.
But since the Obama administration has begun pumping money into the system, more and more Blacks and Hispanics are being treated for the illness they developed fighting for their lives and their country.
“Because we didn’t win the war we were considered losers, our efforts were swept into the corner of U.S. history,” said Sid Wilson. “Our efforts were just as great as any made during any war, but we got very little love from citizens and the VA.”
Over the years, all three have suffered from PTSD.
Brown would wake up choking his wife, thinking she was the enemy.
Wilson says when you are trained to be a killer and hunted by the enemy, that training changes you forever.
Scott says he still suffers hearing loss and memory loss due to the illness.
When the government said PTSD was classified a mental illness many white veterans began getting benefits for treatment but because blacks say they were denied so many times they stopped applying. And they say there is a stigma about admitting you have a ‘mental condition’ which they say is just one more issue for blacks to have to deal with.
But now there are many black vet support groups which are letting old soldiers know how to gain benefits and treatment they need. Treatment to deal with the nightmares and lingering troubles caused by the undeclared war that tore the nation apart and left them damaged in the process.
Two support groups meet at Lowry each month. The Vet Center on 1st Avenue has blacks meet twice monthly. Vets get referred by the VA.
NABVETS meets every third Thursday at the Lowry American Legion. They can be reached on line at nabvetscolorado.org.