04 May Corrupt Veterans Service Organizations with Footnote
Veteran organizations who say they are for “veterans” and don’t do anything they say is a real black eye for those veterans in real need. I am working to stop this trend. I see it every day. I know the pain veterans in need have. It is bad enough the obstacles we face once we transition, but friendly fire? Money is not the motivation you would think. Shouldn’t it be to help those in need. Just because it says 501c does not always mean good business decisions. It makes me sick when I really think about the fraud, waste and abuse along with the negative outcomes for those who served our country.
Do you remember the yellow ribbon campaign during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars? If so, what ever happened to those magnets? I often wondered what did that mean when they started to crop up everywhere. Did it really mean that people supported our men and women serving down range or was it just a farce? Years later as I reflect back, I realize now, for the most part, that it was just a money making strategy that companies had to capitalize on the backs of those risking their lives everyday with no real meaning.
As an educated veteran I see the truth now years later and the truth is that many companies and organizations “talk” a good game in supporting our veterans, but in reality are doing minimal to actually make a difference in the lives of those we love. To be frank, I am sick of it. I can’t sit back any longer and not speak out on the truth. I have utilized many resources and educational opportunities to get me to this point in my life and I know that some people do have good intentions and follow through. However, the majorities of people are corrupt and taint the “system” based on financial gains vs. actually changing the life of someone in need.
A friend told me the other day, “just because they are a veteran doesn’t even mean that they do the right thing”. If that is the case, who do you trust? I realize as I set out to provide resources and education to my brothers and sisters there is a lot of doubt. I set back and wonder why is this so? Then I realize I have the same doubt about other organizations that I am a part of that is part of a bigger ruse. I believe in the power of change and growth. If you have a great mission and vision that is great, but in reality if you are not living it out, it is nothing more than a money making strategy.
How can we accept this any longer? The truth is we can’t. We will not, because real leaders are going to start standing up without fear of backlash. We live in America and we fought for “Old Glory”. Therefore, there is no fear and no one can take our freedom from us. Money is the root of all evil right? You need money to help more people. It is a double edge sword. What we need are leaders who refuse to bow down to greed and power.
When you look at an organization like Wounded Warrior Project and all of the money they have raised, you start to think that they are really helping veterans. However, you see that the CEO and COO living the good life behind the scenes based on questionable spending before they were both terminated (Fox News, 2016 article @ http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/03/10/wounded-warrior-project-reportedly-fires-top-executives-amid-spending-controversy.html).
This brings me to my next point, this veteran suicide rate of 22 a day. It has become like a slogan in America. It is like the next “yellow ribbon campaign”. People are actually profiting and benefiting from human beings killing themselves. I am appalled and after I have really searched within myself looking for answers to how to fix this epidemic I realized that the answer lies in empowering our almost 22 million veterans with jobs, housing, support, hope, and love.
We must band together as a community and nation to stop the fraud, waste, and abuse amongst us. I will be one of the first to stand up for real change and not a paper drill that does absolutely nothing. We have enough influence in America to get rid of all of the corruption that exists all around us. When I talked to a Congressman lately about real change, the first thing he said was that there is so much corruption. We are the nucleus and if it starts with us being leaders so that our transitioning soldiers and veterans can actual get the help they need.
This article was not written to be a checklist of all of the actions, good or bad, on record for veteran organizations. It was written to highlight the need to do a better job from a social responsibility aspect as a nation moving forward to actual impact those transitioning soldiers and veterans in need. WWP is mentioned purely as a source of information of what can go wrong when you lose sight of the vision. We know corruption exists, we can face it head on or we can pretend that all of our veterans are 100% satisfied with the state of affairs in this country currently as it pertains to VSO’s.