Essay Contest: Honoring Fathers Who Serve



In honor of Father’s Day, we here at VA need your help to thank the men who have shaped our lives. Through an essay contest, we will put together a tribute honoring father Veterans. We want to hear from wives, mothers, and children, about why you’re proud of your Veteran. Tell us about his service; stories of deployments; his fondest military memory; lessons you have learned; or perhaps you just want to write your Veteran a “thank you” letter—it’s up to you!

Here’s how you can help: Please send us a photograph of you and your Veteran (we’ll accept family photos too!) and your essay. We will pick a few essays and feature them on the front page of VAntage Point. With each submission, please provide names, branch of service, when and where they served, and what they are doing now. Please send all information to newmedia@va.gov by Monday, June 4, 2012.

Author

Kate Hoit

Comments

  1. Kim Matthews    

    My father was an atomic veteran, stationed at what is now the most toxic place on the entire planet, Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. He died of numerous cancers when he was 67 and I was 22. My mother tried to get some compensation but the government denied her claim after a long fight. I won’t get into that now but I do want to say that my mother is also a veteran who has COPD and dementia and if it weren’t for the VA, our family would be totally screwed now. Give them a break; they’re good people and they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Thank you all, and thank our parents for their service.

  2. EDWARD DARROW, JR.    

    My father and mother met while both were serving on active duty in Hawaii in 1944, during WWII. My mother later told us she was attracted to his handsome looks, his self-confidence and his quick sense of humor. My sister and I as kids later saw those qualities along with his strong sense of compassion, kind nature, and dedication to and support of those assigned under him.
    I was born during a subsequent tour in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and raised on a series of naval stations where my father was stationed over the years–many overseas. I had a birdseye view of my father’s leadership style and could see how those under his command admired him. In fact, my sister and I still atttend an annual reunion of many of his sailors and their families who served together in Cartagena, Spain over fifty years ago. Some of these very sailors and chiefs from the “Cartagena Family” also influenced my decision to follow in my father’s footsteps and earn a commission in the USN. The impact my dad–and these other fine men from his command–have had on my life cannot be overstated. The tradition that my father started continues as my elder son, LCDR Adam Darrow and his brother Clay came to our reunion this past Fall to meet the survivors of that crew and to pay homage to the those–including my dad–who are no longer with us. It’s humbling and a privelege to watch first-hand as a legacy winds itself through the generations of our lives. Ed Darrow Captain, USN (retired)

  3. Jonathan Ledford    

    I will say since going in the VA Hospital in 1970’s after returning from Vietnam the treatment I received has been very good. I am 70% disabled and would be dead if I had not received the treatment I have over the last 40+ years.
    It also allowed me to get a degree and become a school teacher which was a dream come true. My life would be much different if I hadn’t received a VA Home Loan and all the other benefits the VA has helped me with. God bless those who have served and God bless the people at the VA who are trying their best.
    JL

  4. Tanya Krazalkovich    

    I will not be writing about my father, even though he served in the Air Force, but I will be writing about my grandfather who served in the Army during WWII and Korea. He was awarded a bronze and a silver star and is rumored within our family to have turned down the Congressional Medal of Honor. Is there anyway that the VA could help with getting exact deployment dates for my grandfather?

    1. mason    

      you can do the foia and request it through the website. I did for my father! Good Luck!

  5. Tim    

    I agree with the last to entries. PEOPLE get over yourselves and look at the big picture!!!! I served the Army for 5 years and got out on a disability and would have 20 plus years, my brother did 20 years and retired and neither one of us regret it. I LOVE the Military. So if you dont have anything nice to say, dont say it and keep it to yourself. Thank you..

  6. Telanna Rios    

    Well I want to talk about my husband, SSG Isaac Rios, Jr. He has been enlisted in the US Army since he graduated from high school. Currently he has almost 16yrs on active duty. He has two children from a previous marriage and 3 teens from our blended family. But I can honestly say that he doesn’t treat any of them differently. He has been deployed several times over the years to Iraq and Afghanistan. But through it all he has continued to support his family from miles and miles away. He would never approve of me writing about him as he is much too humble for any awards of appreciation. He has even had children named after him after returning from battle for saving his soldiers life. But even though he doesn’t sport the highest medal of honor as far as the Army is concerned. For me he has made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his self unselfishly to his soldiers and their families. He places his soldiers before himself constantly. On numerous occasions I’ve witnessed his soldiers eyes get filled when they mention his name. I’ve watched him give rides to soldiers out walking or just guidance to one that was on a car lot about to purchase a car. He is a wonderful father to our children but he is also a great NCO to his soldiers and to me that makes him the greatest hero of all. Right now he is stationed in Baumholder, Germany and our oldest daughter graduates on June 5, 2012. He’s trying to get the approval to come home. I’ve explained to our daughter that if he doesn’t make it then it’s because daddy couldn’t and not that he didn’t want to be here. I used to be active duty as well so I understand more than my children do sometimes. But at the same time it doesn’t make it easier or better for me. I just know for a man that has given his whole life to a country day after day something could and should be done to grant him what would mean so much to him. The one thing that I can say about my husband is that when he does return home to us that will be a day to remember. We are here waiting with loving and welcoming arms. When he is home with us he cooks, cleans, does the laundry, the yard, barbeque, dances, hits the gym hard, but most importantly he spends time with our children. That is the part that makes it the hardest. My son doesn’t want to spend weekends at home without him. Our daughter wishes he could encourage her at competitions or track meets. Those are the things that he would never miss if mission didn’t come first in his life. I love that man with all my heart because I know that he loves and makes sacrifices for us all.

  7. Patty    

    My father was in World War II, he fought for our country but that isn’t the only reason I am proud of him. My father though my father is no longer here I can say my father was a brave man who not only took care of his family but alway lived by one rule do everything in the best way you can and this is my gift to him. He passed away 20 years ago this April and I feel that he always will live on in my heart.

  8. Linda    

    Here, read this if you still feel the VA dosen’t look at equality for women. http://www.va.gov/health/default.asp

  9. Karen    

    Ya, I agree with GC. Is it really neccessary to rant on about something like this? Obviously you have some anger built up.

  10. Nicole Schroeter    

    My father didn’t serve and neither did my grandfathers. I served, but apparently my sons won’t be able to write about my service because you only want to hear about FATHERS! And on Mother’s Day, you wanted to hear about how our mothers inspired us to serve–not about MOTHERS WHO SERVED! Apparently I won’t be writing any essays since my parents did everything they could to discourage my enlistment. And here I thought the VA was making strides to not be so biased againt women. Guess not!

    1. GC    

      With all do respect, what a way to turn something nice into an argument. Get over yourself and look at the big picture.

    2. Allan    

      The bottom line is you DID serve right?

      So why cry and moan about something you can’t go back and change?

  11. Susan Fillippeli    

    My father, David Fillippeli, Sr. served in World War II and Korea. He enlisted in the Navy while still in high school to serve in the Pacific during World War II. Once he was out of the Navy, he finished high school and went to college. After his third year of college the Navy called him back into service during the Korean War. He wanted to finish school, but he went because it was his duty.

    Now at 85, he has applied for Aid and Attendance benefints because he needs help with many of the functions of daily living. He submitted his application 326 days ago and it is still sitting in the Development State. This means the VA has been sitting on his application for almost a year.

    I love my father and am proud of the service he twice rendered to his country. I am ashamed of the VA and the way they treat our nation’a veterans. Instead of reading through essays honoring our fathers, why don’t you go read through their pension and disability applications so you can give them the benefits they earned. That would be the best way to honor my father and the others like him who served unselfishly.

    1. Glenn    

      I understand your frustraion. The problem with the VA is it is run by goverment employees. If you are lucky when you deal with someone from the office, you get someone who has been there and knows what it is like to be at the other end. Unfortunately 99.9% of the time you get some lazy beurocrat that is only there for a pycheck who dosen’t really care is more focused on getting you out of the office or off the phone, so she can finish planning her lunch date. As unfortunate as it is that is the people we deal with within the VA, and sad to say those are the people that we served to protect. Sad isn’t it?

      1. veterans wife    

        I agree with you Susan. They spend all this time doing things that really arent as important to a veteran, when there is hundreds of thousands of backlog claims. If they cared and have read numerous comment posts, most all of them are vets or family members who are extremely mad at the whole VA system. To make these veterans what years for what is rightfully theres, its so unjust. Do they think the American people are stupid? Maybe years in the past but not anymore. Stop with all this stuff that really doesnt help those who need REAL help within the system right now. Know one from the VA responds to 90% of them anyway. Take this man/women power there doing here and put them to some use that will truely help all these vets. These years and years of waiting is not right. I just dont know what its going to take for the VA to change, thats the question that remains unsolved. Best of luck and God bless your father and all veterans.

      2. Mary Rogers    

        In 1996 my husband died from agent orange related illnesses. He served three tours in Vietnam. My local VA office told me that me and the kids were not eligible for anything. Nine years later a service rep told me we were and did the paper work. I was notified that they were going to pay me back to the day he died. My kids benefits didn’t come through and our VA insurance didn’t. So I contacted John Peterson, my state representative and they miracously found all the paper work they had lost and released benefits within a week. Then I had to contact my state rep, Glenn Thompson, to get my kids educational benefits released. If there is a congressional inquiry they have to respond within 30 days. Don’t let people tell you that if you involve your state representative that the VA will drag their feet even more. Its not true. If you wait on the VA you will never get anything. They hope that people die or give up before they have to pay a cent. My youngest daughter graduates this year and we applied in January to have her DIC benefits continued. We have heard nothing and they can’t find the paper work. I was told they would contact me within 10 days. It is 10 days today. I will probably have to contact my State representative again to get anything.

        1. veterans wife    

          Mary, it is really sad that you’re having to go through what so many other veterans and spouses are. I hope all comes together for you and you family. I truely believe that they are dragging there feet as well, so they dont have to pay all these benefits. If they truely cared they would have stayed on top of the claims process and made sure that things were done in a timely manner from the get go. Now they’re saying all these backlog of claims are due from the current wars and that is not true. If they would have handled them in a timely manner when they first received them, this mess would not have happened. Im sure they realized that once the current wars started to end that there was going to be alot of claims to process, so why didnt they plan ahead? Its just another way of not having to pay for what is rightfully owed to these veterans and families. You are doing exactly what I hope all veterans or family members are doing now. Dont give up fighting for what is rightfully yours. I know first hand it can be over whelming but dont give into the system. They taught them how to endure, so continue to endure now. God Bless all our veterans for there sacrificies.

      3. Ranger 2006    

        Those who have been yowling for “smaller government” have achieved their goal; there are now fewer claims reps to handle a huge influx in
        claims. The resulting “crying and knashing of teeth” is to be expected:
        ‘the claims are taking longer to process’…if you cut the numberof
        staff, will production of those remaining (with the increase in number
        of claims) go UP/DOWN?

    2. Rhonda    

      Susan,
      The VA has recently sent out the “Veteran’s Health Benefits Handbook”. In it, should be personalized benefits for your dad. Please look for the “Home Health Care” section. In it, you will find “Skilled Home Health Care (SHHC) Services”, and “Homemaker/Home Health Aid (H/HHA) Services”. This is what you should be requesting as the A & A program that you requested is NOT the right program. Set up an appt for you & your father with his Primary Care Provider at VA. Go to the appt and discuss HOW to get these services put in place for your father. Be sure to read through his “Veteran’s Health Benefits Handbook” to see what all he is entitled to. My father’s book has his name typed right in it on page 4, so check that too! Good luck! If your father has not received his, call 1-800-222-VETS to check the status of his mailing.

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