Yes, we've identified the problem. Now it's time to do something about it. Find ways to facilitate private and public organizational hand shakes so that we can all become part of a network of support, working toward a common goal. Even if it takes time to make this happen, the process needs to start now. In the interim, we have a year until the next panel discussion and I am throwing down the gauntlet:
- Quantify what you have done over the course of the coming year to help veterans. I want to see progress, not more rhetoric. As Barbara Banaszynski said, "It's not what we say, it's what we do."
- Start at the local level - find out what the deficiencies in care/services are at the local level and work your way back to the organizations that can make a difference. Reverse engineer the aid pipeline.
- There are thousands of organizations and individuals that are chomping at the bit, waiting for the time when they can bring their resources to bear. Find a way to bring them into the fold, whether by absorbing like-minded local charities or by creating affiliate programs, where local charities act in your stead.
- Everyone needs to understand that the folks at the VA are hamstrung by the state of the current system. The only way we affect change in that system quickly is by lending our support and resources and know-how.
The Volunteers of America and ReMIND illustrate how cooperation leads to results. Let's continue to focus on solutions and cooperation. Thank you for being organizations of rare vision and action. Please let me know what I can do to further advocacy over the course of the coming year!