Cumberland Times-News

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October 29, 2007

Re-Entry program loses government support

Editor's note: This letter to U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski was released to the Times-News for publication.

Dear Senators Cardin and Mikulski:

I'm writing you in reference to a letter to the editor of the Cumberland Times-News from Harvey Gunderson of Cumberland. ("Vet laments loss of counseling," Oct. 22 Times-News)

It has come to my attention because of this letter and from other sources that in its ultimate wisdom, the Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to stop supporting the Re-Entry program that services hundreds of veterans throughout the state.

If you're not aware what this program is, it was designed to help soldiers who have been in a high stress war environment to cope and move on with their lives. Many of these individuals have been seeking counseling and help in their mental and physical issues.

Most of these heroes who served honorably for this country and who are suffering many effects of war are currently being told by the Department of Veterans Affairs that they can no longer see the counselors that they have been working with for years.

These counselors were on a contract basis and spread throughout the communities in our great state. As a Vietnam veteran, I understand and can appreciate what these individuals have done for these heroes. For the state of Maryland to determine that these services no longer needed, or to shift all the responsibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs out of Martinsburg VA, to save a couple of bucks is unconscionable.

I am so tired of hearing, "We support the troops," when in reality it could be not farther from the truth. I hope there is such an outcry that whoever thought this idea up will be looking for a job, because he does not belong in his current one.

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