What’s the Reasoning?

There have been two editorial letters in the Washington Post this past week about Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The focus of these letters are on how the writers and their neighbors have been trying to volunteer their time to help the wounded soldiers and their families.

These people want to hold luncheons and have art classes, take the wounded shopping, cook for them; basically do anything they can to show their appreciation for what those soldiers do.

In the first letter, the writer tells of being told that the only volunteer positions available are for administrative duties and that she would have no contact with the wounded soldiers. The volunteer coordinator is only their one day a week and she is very busy. The result was that the writer did not receive any further communication from the volunteer office. This writer was also told that their is cultural divide between the soldiers and those in her neighborhood who wanted to help. The writer said she was told that the soldiers are the “NASCAR” type.

If what the writer says is true, then what did that person mean by the “NASCAR” type? I find that rather insulting to the soldiers. Writer also tells of how many of her neighbors also received a “cold shoulder” from Walter Reed.

This got me wondering: What reason would Walter Reed have to turn away people who want to give freely of their time to help the wounded soldiers?

They could be afraid of more outside criticism about the conditions of the hospital itself. Maybe they are worried that a bunch of “left-leaning” folks will talk badly about the war with the vets. Or perhaps the Walter Reed administration doesn’t want to fuel those who are against the war. When facing those vets face to face and seeing their unwavering loyalty to the US Military and talking with families, what anti-war person wouldn’t want to fight even harder to bring our men and women home. Those loyalties should not be used in any trivial way.

Walter Reed may not have the resources to handle the amount of people who want to volunteer. If they do need administrative help first, that could be the reason these potential volunteers are not getting called back: there is no there to coordinate the effort. I feel the leadership at Walter Reed should do all they can to help get the ball rolling on finding a way to bridge that “cultural gap.”

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    julie y at blog:maryland social worker said,

    I have been giving those in charge at Walter Reed the benefit of the doubt for several years now. These are the conclusions I have reached: 1) They have closed ranks and allow little input from civilians. 2) To this end press conferences and media feeds proclaim how much Walter Reed is changing. All done to get the press and the public off their backs….Until the next problem hits page 1 and the dance starts again.
    I am a clinical social worker with a practice near Walter Reed who has 20+ years of experience specializing in mood disorders, trauma, addictions, life stage and relationship issues. issues When word went out from WR that they were overwhelmed with vets with mental health and would contract for services, I thought I could help. Long story short, I have been accepted by Tricare, the military insurance for active and retired soldiers and their families. My credentials and background checked, security things complete. A soldier only needs a referral from his doctor to get an appointment to see me. REFERRALS TO DATE—ZERO! Now if I were to list every contact I have made to WR to find out why this is so it would be pages long. Still no returned phone calls and no referrals. Unfortunately it is the soldiers and their families who need mental health services who suffer from the stone walling.
    I remain frustrated and angry, but undeterred.
    Maryland social worker


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