Valley and Village News looks to the community for a contribution to history

Kim Harris

Chief Editor

Recently, several people contacted Valley News and Village News regarding the difficulties they face with the Department of Veterans Affairs and obtaining quality health care after serving in the military.

From a man listed with the Department of Veterans Affairs as pregnant to another who was wrongly told he had a life-threatening illness, according to those who contacted Valley News, the list of inaccuracies and divergences continues to lengthen to the point where it affects the lives of many people.

Given that one of the primary roles of a newspaper is to hold the government to account and due to this influx of complaints, the Valley News and Village News began work on a series of articles addressing the needs, challenges and veterans’ health care stories. , and we need our readers’ help to do so.

If you have a story to tell, good or bad, please send background details or an overview of your experience to [email protected] and provide your contact details and the city in which you live.

The VA is not the only area that raises concerns among readers. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, staff are seeking to speak to those who have experienced complications or adverse effects from the COVID-19 vaccine or its booster shots. We’ve heard many stories of people with long-term COVID and stories of those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic and even the vaccine itself. Guess what, Valley News and Village News want to talk to you too.

Just last week, the Associated Press reported that more than 3,000 soldiers, airmen and marines had been discharged after refusing the vaccine, this large number not only affects the families of discharged service members, but also affects the preparedness military, what the Pentagon says is not a matter of concern.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is most concerned about “force readiness and the importance of the vaccine,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters. Getting vaccinated, he said, is “the best way to protect themselves and their units.”

At least 12,000 service members have applied for religious exemptions, none of which have yet been granted. Religious exemptions are “always rare,” Kirby told reporters Wednesday, Dec. 8, before deflecting the question and telling reporters to contact every branch of the military.

“I would ask you to speak to the services about their exemption policies, he said. “It’s not something that’s centrally managed at the secretary level.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with trampling on the religious freedoms of our men and women in uniform,” he said. “…It’s not about freedoms. This is a military medical requirement to keep them safe, to keep their families safe, to keep their units safe. …And just because none have been approved doesn’t mean they can’t be used anymore. As we’ve said in the past, and not everyone listen, there will be medical exemptions.

But according to many people who contacted Valley News and Village News, military preparedness could potentially become a real issue as more service members are denied exemptions and eventually fired for refusing the vaccine.

Valley News and Village News want to speak to those affected by their refusal to get vaccinated, not just the military and encourage everyone to share their story via email with [email protected]

Due to the current political climate, in the experience of Valley News and Village News, many wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. Both Valley News and Village News are prepared to protect the identities of those who come forward and share their stories after verifying their identities and adverse effects or experiences.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]

Julie Reeder contributed to this story.

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