Lee’s Summit veteran takes horrible experience and uses it to help others
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (KCTV) – A Lee’s Summit veteran is having a horrific personal experience and turning it into a positive for hundreds of other veterans.
Nearly 50 years ago, Jack Alley was sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier while serving overseas on a military base far from home.
Jack reported it, but nothing happened. At the time, it was expected that you had just moved on. He received no recognition or treatment.
Jack suffers from post-traumatic syndrome. He doesn’t blame Vietnam; he blames this night.
“I knew I was right,” Jack said. “I knew I was right because I was a survivor. This is what happened to me. I did not do anything wrong.
Jack applied for benefits but was denied. He applied 18 times and was consistently turned down.
Years turned into decades without satisfaction. Then, about 10 years ago, Jack saw a KCTV5 Investigates report on Military Sexual Trauma – STDs. He called the journalist, Eric Chaloux, to let him know that the STD also happens to men.
The two men met at a cafe to talk about Jack’s experience and frustration. Jack had his papers. So Chaloux had an idea.
“Next thing I know he got me on the phone with a state senator who would look into my request,” Jack told us.
That senator was Claire McCaskill. With her help and a Veterans Services agent, Jack applied once again. Seven months after meeting with this reporter, the US Department of Veterans Affairs sent a letter granting benefits to Jack.
Jack has become “service bound”, meaning the military recognizes what happened to him in the line of duty and supports him.
“I felt like I belonged in the brotherhood now,” Jack said. “I don’t want to get emotional because for many years I just felt like nothing.”
Jack was inspired to pay it forward. First, he helped a friend’s dad with some paperwork. Then another person, and another. Strangers started contacting him. They find it on Facebook or through the VA.
He helps with paperwork, phone calls and questions. He became very good at navigating government red tape.
“It’s too frustrating to do it alone,” Jack said. “You get mad at people. It’s not the people; it is a system. You have to understand how the system works.
Thanks to Jack, soldiers who suffered from Agent Orange now receive care and disability benefits. Three widows are now entitled to benefits that their husbands never received when they were alive because they were too frustrated with the system. And, there are six military sexual trauma survivors now receiving VA support. He connected the six.
“They had never filed [for benefits]”, said Jack. “They were ashamed. They were three women and three men.
Jack recently took a big step.
He has helped 200 veterans become connected to services and connected hundreds more to VA services. He does all this work as a volunteer.
“Now I’m even more motivated because the water is really clear,” Jack said, “I understand what I believe in, that I have to help others and that’s my motivation.”
Jack says every case is important.
You can find him through the VA, or find him on Facebook: Jack D. Alley.
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