This website is dedicated to the
raising of awareness of the Plight
of our Veterans trying to get help
through the VA system! And to
educate the American Public to
the existence of the Vet Center
program with the intent of
procuring additional funding to
Save Our Veterans!!!
Save Our
This petition
started on
February 20th update:
      We were thrilled to hear Congressman Henry Brown, Chairman of the
House Subcommittee of Health (VA), ask Dr. Jonathan Perlin specifically
about Bill S.716 during their committee hearing on the VA Budget for 2007
on February 14th!! We are very grateful that Congressman Brown has
responded to our requests, which has confirmed that "SaveOurVets" IS
making a difference!!! Dr. Perlin, Undersecretary for Health in the VA,
acknowledged the excellent job the Vet Center's are doing!! While he was
not directly familiar with Bill S.716 and did not know the official position of
the VA on the Bill, he DID say that he would not appose it's passage!
However, no movement has been posted for the Bill as of today.
December 22 update!!

 In an extended session of the U.S. Senate, On
December 22, 2005, S.716 passed with Unanimous
With a major scramble and call for action in the last few weeks, we sent
hundreds of E-Mails, Faxes and phone calls to all of our U. S. Senators
and they responded admirably in the support of our Veterans!
In direct
response to our request, Senator Ken Salazar(D-CO), Senator Richard
Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) signed on as additional
Co-Sponsors of Bill S.716!!!!!
We applaud their support and are grateful
for their willingness to step up and be accountable to our Veterans and
their families! We extend our sincere gratitude to them and to
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
who wrote the Bill and the original sponsors,  
Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) for
their dedication and time spent in furthering our cause - the survival
and expansion of the Vet Center Program!
  We also recognize
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Chairman and the
tireless efforts of the hard working staff at the Senate Committee of
Veterans Affairs!! They responded quickly to our requests for
information and helped to guide us in the direction we needed to go to
insure that this Bill was called for a vote in December and Passed. We
thank you!!!
    While this is a MAJOR victory for the care of our Veterans Mental
Health, we are not done yet! Bill S.716, The "Vet Center Enhancement
Act of 2005" has now been sent to the House Committee of Veterans
We now need to get this committee's support so that the Bill can go up
to the Floor of the House to be voted on. It must be passed in the
House if it has any chance to become a law!
    Know that we will continue our efforts to save our Veterans lives
and insure that the help they need is available!! You have our promise
on that!
To help us, please send us an e-mail and we will do the rest!!! Thank you!
February 1st Update:     
Opposition to S.716 by the Health Subcommittee

Bill S.716 now sits in the US House of Representatives, Committee of
Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee of Health. After an intense conversation
with Jeffrey Weeks, Senior Staffer of the Subcommittee,
it is painfully clear
that the Committee is going to oppose the passage of Bill S.716 - "The Vet
Center Enhancement Act of 2005".
Their reasoning is that the Vet Center Program must not be effective as
Benefit payments for PTSD keep going up! They insist that additional studies
are needed before they will support ANY expansion of the Vet Center
Even though he agreed with most of what I said, even stating  
that this war will leave more Veterans severely effected with PTSD
from any other conflict since Vietnam and
that early intervention was
critical, he was unshakable in his belief that this Bill is not needed and they
will not support it!
What they doesn't seem to get is that The Vet Center Program has nothing to
do with benefits! A success within the Vet Center Program is when they
save a life by preventing a suicide, or save a family through individual,
couples counseling and spousal support groups; or finding a job for a
Veteran through job fairs and informational program's like “How to write a
successful résumé”; or diverting a foreclosure proceeding on a home
through sponsoring financial seminars. These are the kind of activities that
are going at Vet Centers all around the country every day! And these
success stories are the ones that count!!!
Anyway, the reality is - if things do not radically change in the next two
weeks, Bill S.716, The Vet Center Enhancement Act of 2005 will fade away,
just as the need of these Veterans is reaching a critical point and the
greatest opportunity to help them is upon us.
The good intension's and insight of our US Senate and US House of  
Representatives in allocating $2.2 Billion for the
treatment of Specialty
Mental Health Care (PTSD), will, in part, get syphoned away to pay for more
endless and useless studies. The GAO studies they already have, say it all!
(see text in box to the right).
Even though he admitted that PTSD gets worse
over time if left untreated, they will NOT support investing just 8% of these
funds into this proven and effective program that is helping Veterans NOW!
Unfortunately, it has been proven that PTSD and other readjustment issues
will continue to effect our Veterans decades after the war is over. The
longer it goes untreated, the more severe it gets and the harder it is to heal
from. The staff to reach and help these Veterans will be needed for a very
long time as the troops are being reactivated and redeployed back to Iraq
and Afghanistan! Yet, even many of the GWOT Veterans that the Vet Center's
have hired as outreach counselors are finding themselves reactivated and
sent back too. As the funding for their jobs is almost gone and without the
passage of this Bill, they will loose their jobs and the growing need for their
help will go unfilled.
The long and the short of it - we must appeal to our other
Representatives to take another look at this Bill and garner support for
it's passage! Congress must call for a vote for Bill S.716 and vote YEA,
despite the complete opposition  of the Subcommittee of Health.
Hopefully, the wisdom, compassion and insight that encouraged them
to fence $2.2 Billion dollars for the CARE of PTSD, will light the way to
the passage of the Vet Center Enhancement Act of 2005!
*Click here*
to send an e-mail to your Senator, your Representative
The President and to sign the petition!
Please include your name, hometown, state and zip
and  we will do the rest!
Thank you!
Sample E-Mail:
Dear Congressman,
On November 17th, you voted for and passed Bill H.R. 2528, providing funding
for Veterans Affairs for the year 2006. This Bill has fenced an unprecedented
$2.2 Billion for Specialty Mental Health Care assuring that this funding can not
be siphoned off for other purposes during the year! We thank you for that! By
your vote, is obvious that you are recognizing and caring for our Veterans at
this crucial time. However, there is only one way to ensure that our Veterans
and their families get the best Mental Health Care possible and that is by
passing Bill S. 716, VET CENTER ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2005.
The Vet Center program is the only proven program with a
charted record of success within the VA system.
It has the
full support of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign
Wars (VFW), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), The
Vietnam Veterans of America, The Paralyzed Veterans of
America, AMVETS as well as the Iraq War Veterans
Organization, the Woman’s Army Corp Veterans Association
(WACVA), and hundreds of thousands of Veterans and their
However, unless you take immediate action to fence the necessary
funding by Sponsoring and calling for and voting for Bill S.716 in the House,
this program will loose the ability to do the outreach necessary to help our
returning Veterans and their families!  
On June 9th, James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, spoke before the
Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and declared that the VA budget was
fully balanced and that no additional money was needed. He stated that he was
refusing to fund any additional care for Mental Health or the Vet Center
program until “HE was convinced there was a need”. You saw through his
words and recognized the truth and forced him to fully address the problem by
fencing the necessary funding for Mental Health.
Now please take the next
step by taking $180 Million of that money and fence it to fund the Vet
Center Program.
On December 22, Bill S.716, the Vet Center Enhancement Act of 2005, received
full unanimous support and vote of the U.S. Senate. This bill was sponsored by
Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and Co-Sponsored by Senator John Rockefeller
(D-WV), Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), Senator Ken Salazar(D-CO), Senator
Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). They, as well as
every single Senator, has recognized that our Veterans need the help and
care of the Vet Center Program.
It was then sent to the House Committee of Veterans Affairs where it is waiting
for a Sponsor and Vote. Here's where you can help, by Sponsoring Bill S.716 to
the U. S House of Representatives. By doing so, you will confirm that you care
about our Veterans and want them to get the help they so desperately need!
You will also earn the gratitude of hundreds of thousands Veterans and their
families in your state alone.  
Sponsored by: a group of Veterans and their families that support the Vet
Center Program. We have the full support of the Iraq War Veterans
Organization, the Woman’s Army Corp Veterans Association (WACVA) and a
membership of over 150 people. All information concerning our drive to save
this wonderful program is on our web site
June 9th Update:
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs,    
James Nicholson has come out
AGAINST the Vet Center Program!
   On June 9th, JAMES NICHOLSON,Secretary of Veterans
Affairs, spoke before the COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’AFFAIRS -
U. S. SENATE. In this address, he came out specifically
AGAINST Bill S. 716. - the Vet Center Enhancement Act of 2005.
He declared that the $180 million of additional funding for the
Vet Center Program for readjustment counseling was NOT
needed or justified. He also stated that the 50 additional
outreach personal that this bill recommended should NOT be
permanent positions. And finally, that additional bereavement
counseling for families of Veterans killed in action is NOT
necessary! That the Vet Center program should only work to
stabilize the immediate situation only with no additional
counseling allowed!
Finally, when Senator Patty Murray asked him specifically: If the
Senate passes these Bills, will you fund them? His response:
“When and if HE is convinced that there is a need!”
We find that Mr. Nicholson is ignoring the existing
needs of our Veterans and is misstating those needs
to the U.S. Senate. He is NOT representing the best
interest of our Veterans and is actually taking
direct action to destroy the Vet Center Program! He
is actively seeking to direct ALL funding to the VA
Hospital programs ONLY and against funding the
Vet Center programs, even though it is but a
of the $2.2 Billion he is already
12 days later, the VA admitted that they are short $1 billion for
covering current needs
at the Department of Veterans Affairs
this year.... The $1 billion shortfall emerged during an
midyear budget review and was acknowledged
only during lengthy questioning of Jonathan B. Perlin, VA
undersecretary for health, by House Veterans Affairs Committee
Chairman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) at a hearing on June 23rd.
this was 12 days AFTER Nicholson stated that they were already
providing adequate care and that the Vet Center program did
NOT need the $180 Million of additional funding proposed by Bill
   We find his actions

We call for the US Senate bypass this mans obvious betrayal of
the very Veterans he is supposedly serving and pass Bill S.716!
November 29th update:
THE GOOD NEWS: is that Congress as allocated $2.2 Billion (yes, BILLION)
of what the VA is receiving to go directly to Specialty Mental Health (PTSD)! YEA!!
THE BAD NEWS: is that the VA is not giving ANY of it to the Vet Center
Program!!! Instead they are investing ALL $2.2 Billion into the ineffective
Hospital systems!
But there IS something we can do about it... but we MUST do it NOW! Currently
there is a Bill before Congress to fund the Vet Center Program! (
tag here to see
Bill S.716) We need to ask that the $180 Million (less than 10%) get diverted from
the hospitals to fund this Bill! There is no time to loose, for once the VA spends
it - it is gone!
Just  click the following link and e-mail me with the words "SEND MY E-MAILS".
Include your Name, Town, State and Zip! We will then send E-Mails to your
Senator, Representative and the President. We will also add your name to our
Petition! Or send it yourself through the "" website! Enter your zip
code in the
"Take Action Now" box and hit GO. Toggle the "Compose Your Own
" and take the next step! Then send them an e-mail and ask them to
support his Act!
                   Please don't delay! Do it now!!!
Thank you!!! Jonelle
Feel free to copy and paste the letter above....
Federal Insider  Friday, June 24, 2005
Funds for Health Care of
Veterans $1 Billion Short
Link to full story!
Link to: Nicholson's
full statement!
Before the US Senate
*Click here*
to send an e-mail to your Senator,
your Representative The President,
and to
sign the petition!
Please include your name, hometown, state and
zip and  we will do the rest!
Thank you!
Iraq War Veterans
BY Dan Rosenthal
IWVO National Legislative
Link: Testimony
about the Vet
Center Program
Our men and women in our Armed Services and Reserves need our help;
need YOUR help! They been through Hell and many are coming home with
excruciating memories and fears, to a system that has not, is not and will not
be able to care for them, without change. Many of those fortunate to survive
the war, are losing the battle for their lives.
The Vet Center program is a proven VA program that works!!!  But they are too
small to be able to give the help these brave men and women need. This is
what the Vet Centers need:
1) More outreach people. People who can go to the veteran when they come
home! Who are trained to recognize PTSD can attend the Drill weekends and
homecoming events (if any) and talk to these men and women, one on one.
People to talk to the families, who are frequently first to recognize problems
with their loved one’s. People who can help the Veteran get the help they
need, one Veteran at a time if necessary!
2) More counselors that can actually do the counseling and provide the help
necessary to stop the progression and provide RECOVERY! It IS possible, if
caught early enough! Also, family counselors, and Vet Center counselors to
cover VA community medical clinics for all combat vets.
3) More and better staffed Vet Centers and Vet Center “Outstations” with
outreach people and counselors. This should include outstations near, but not
on, all major military bases and clusters of activated Reserve units. And more
Vet Center counselors to cover VA community medical clinics and help all
combat vets. This will allow many returning combat vets to get help
confidentially, and again, save lives.
4) The Vet Center program should be given the most credible voice in the VA
regarding the needs of these new veterans. All Resources necessary to fulfill
these needs must be given to the Vet Centers, or reassigned if necessary
from other VA sources.
This list of needs can only be met with additional funding! The ONLY funding
they have received allowed them fifty new positions for outreach, less than
one per state! This is but a drop in the bucket! They need more, and the ability
to spend it where it is needed the most. The VA system has the Vet Centers as
the proven source of helping veterans with PTSD!! More Vet Centers are
needed to save their lives.
It is THAT important!  FUND THEM!!
Click here
to see Amendment and
's made by
Senator Daniel K.
Akaka, Ranking
Committee on
Veterans' Affairs  
April 12, 2005
Just days after
receiving our
Click here  
Link to
Next page of
petition signers
Eldora Engebretson, WACVA
*Click here*
to send an e-mail to
your Senator, your
Representative The
President ,and to
sign the petition!
Please include your name,
hometown, state and zip
 we will do the rest!
Thank you!
**Click here for our Letter Writing Campaign**
Our letter to Congressman Henry Brown, Chairman of the Health
Subcommittee, House Committee of Veterans Affairs
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a
report on February 14, 2005 stating in short - that at least
15% of the servicemen returning from warfare in Iraq and
Afghanistan will develop PTSD.
That PTSD can be
debilitating and, if left untreated, can lead to substance
abuse, sever depression and suicide!
While there is NO
cure for PTSD, early identification and treatment is critical
in improving the quality of life!
The GAO has determined that
the VA has failed to met ANY of the 24 Special Committee
recommendations, 10 of which were established in 1985 -
20 years ago!
In addition, the VA does not intend to do so
until 2007 or later!
 Finally, The GAO has determined that
VA is incapable of handling the new influx of
veterans while still maintaining care for those of past
. Left unchanged, the chance for early intervention will
be missed!
For the full summary of the report click the
link above to  
government Reports. There you will find the full official
summary of the report and another link to connect you to
their website for the full report!