I, like many veterans, had been struggling with the Veterans Affairs system for years; I continually called 800 numbers, went to VA offices, only to be told nothing in regards to entitlement to VA benefits. When I finally did hear from the VA, I was turned down and told to appeal.

Frustrated and extremely stressed, I had enough. On Jan. 15, I called my congressman and I was instructed to go to his office here in Myrtle Beach. Without hesitation, Congressman Tom Rice’s staff went to work to help a veteran. Letters were written and phone calls were made. On April 29, I received my just due and I was awarded the disability compensation award I was entitled to.

I also made another request to his office. Over the last 40 years I have attempted to receive medals and awards I thought I had earned while serving in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Congressman Rice's staff on my behalf wrote to the USMC. Just recently I received an envelope from the USMC containing numerous medals and ribbons. One has no idea what emotion that brings to a combat vet who has been diagnosed with Agent Orange and PTSD.

In the heart and eyes of this veteran, Congressman Tom Rice and his staff truly understand the sacrifices veterans make so the United States can remain a free nation.

By Richard A. DeLorge

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.