Wounded Veteran Paves the Way for Other Vets

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: September 04, 2016

One badly wounded veteran has been giving back, in return for his second lease on life, through activities geared toward helping other veterans and raising awareness to their struggles.

Booby Henline was badly wounded in an explosion in Iraq in 2007, which left him more than 38% burned, and his men who were with him in his Army vehicle.

He will be left with the physical and emotional scars of that incident for the rest of his life. “I was in the lead vehicle,” Henline recalls. “The only thing I remember is having coffee that morning.” - click here

The scars indeed remain,k but his good deeds will surely leave an indelible mark on the lives of the people he has touched, mainly by seeing him wilfully living life to the fullest, alive and kicking despite his being an amputee.

Recently, he joined a fundraising event, said to be his second appearance – the Vets for Vets fundraiser, in which “a goal of $10,000 had been set with proceeds benefitting the Fort Hood USO and the Veterans Memorial at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.” - click here

Last month, he agreed to be photographed - in the nude, together with other wounded vets, by photographer Michael Stokes of Los Angeles.
But posing in Stokes' series was about more than becoming a centerfold. For him, it was about normalizing the image of burn victims, or other veterans with visible wounds to their faces.
"When people see me at first, they're looking at me, they see the wounds," Henline told InsideEdition.com, "but when you get to know somebody or they're photographed like this in a beautiful way, it helps people see beyond that." - click here

Earlier, he put up a GoFundMe campaign in order to put up his own restaurant in order to give other veterans gainful employment. - click here

In another event, he shared his “miraculous tale of living and life” to cadets:
Wounded Warriors weekend has inspired many happy outcomes, Henline has seen therapists, tens upon tens of them. He says there is no better healing than talking to his colleagues and sharing stories and laughs with them.
"Just talking to colleagues that have been through it and understand, we bring them in from Great Britain, Australia, US and Canada, it doesn't matter what country you are from, we've got the same similarity with being in the war. We talk to each other, hey how did you deal with it? Maybe I will try that next time I am in that situation." - click here

But mainly, one of the major steps he undertook towards his healing and awe-inspiring journey to leading others was becoming a stand-up comedian, which he still does And he has also offered some advice to presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom he admires, on how to be of great help to veterans should Trump wins.

Yet he now tours the country performing stand-up comedy routine to raise money for veterans in need and increase awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. Talk about a majestic comeback.
But what he wants now is to see a strong-minded leader retake the White House and send the Islamic State group militants in the Middle East scurrying away in defeat. - click here

Perhaps, from a veteran's perspective, Trump has the potential to counter terrorism and improve the conditions of many veterans, including disabled veterans, in a way non-vets cannot see.

Some reports negatively on Trump's stand on veterans' issues. Others seem more neutral, though there's the common observation that he has offered no specific details about his plans for veterans.

He (Trump) released his own plan last October, which like Bush’s centers on allowing veterans to see private doctors. He also proposes modernizing the VA, expanding investment in technology, embedding clinics in rural areas and firing incompetent executives. Trump said his proposed changes would cost less than the current system because he would eliminate inefficiencies. His plan does not include details about how much it would cost or how he would pay for the changes. - click here

Veterans' Pressing Problems

Financial consideration is a big concern for veterans who find themselves unemployed or underemployed, and this brings about a host of other problems.

This report last year from The Fiscal Times shared the findings of the annual Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle survey which gave a comprehensive overview of the experiences and challenges that are experienced by military families - 6,200 military families, including active duty members and veterans were surveyed. click here

Transgender veterans likewise face their own problems, especially mental health.

Among military veterans identifying as transgender, 90 percent have at least one mental health diagnosis, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, and nearly 50 percent had a hospitalization after a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts. These study findings, from a single veterans' hospital, will be presented Friday at The Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston. "As more of our active military returns from deployment and transitions to veteran status, the health care system will be faced with treating more transgender veterans who have mental health issues," said principal investigator Marissa Grotzke, MD, an endocrinologist at Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Salt Lake City. - click here

Meanwhile, it is encouraging for veterans to see that the Veterans Affairs (VA) is doing its best to rectify the problems encountered in the past, and to move forward in the right direction.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is transforming into a major health care payer in addition to its role as a provider. In 2014, in response to scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) related to access to care, Congress opened the door to a marked expansion of VA-paid care in the community with its “Choice” program and a $10 billion appropriation. A 2015 law then mandated consolidation of the VHA’s many established community care programs into one – the Veterans Choice Program. The VA, with forward-thinking leadership, responded with an ambitious plan to alter its approach to care. - click here

Everyone expects the government to do its role well especially in providing veterans and their families easier access to healthcare, but for an individual, and a veteran who went through a most harrowing experienced that almost cost his life, his daily heroism of bringing life and inspiration to hopeless, helpless veterans is worthy of the country's pride and recognition.

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