March 11th, 2008 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) today called for the expansion of efforts to solve the problems faced by our returning wounded warriors and their families. The Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs heard testimony today from family members of servicemen wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom highlighting the struggles and problems they faced once their loved ones returned home, injured and needing care. Burr called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address each of the cases to determine how the problems they experienced can be avoided in the future.
"I want to know that future families will not experience what these three families have had to endure," Burr added. "Families play a critical role in the recovery process of our wounded warriors and it is important to provide them with proper support. We must do better."
The Committee heard from three family members of wounded servicemembers who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including Jackie McMichael of Raleigh, North Carolina who spoke about the care that her husband Michael received from the VA after returning from Iraq. Along with Mrs. McMichael, the Committee heard testimony from Peter J. Bunce, Colonel USAF (Retired), the father of Justin Bunce and Robert Verbeke the father of Daniel Verbeke. All three family members described, in-detail, their experiences in getting treatment and care for their loved ones and the toll it takes on family members who try to navigate the bureaucratic process at the VA to get the necessary care and treatment.
"We can help families most by providing quick, hassle-free, and quality services to their loved ones," Burr said. "Although I do believe we've made progress, we still have work to do to help our veterans receive the care and rehabilitation services they need."