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Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?

On Thursday, the Senate passed legislation that will provide monthly stipends and medical benefits to family members who stay home to care for severely injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senate’s bill also includes training for the caregivers, money to cover their travel, and nearly $1 billion for veterans’ medical facilities. The House has passed similar legislation and the next step is for a meeting of a House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences between the two bills.

This Friday on NOW (check local listings), we visit families caring for wounded vets who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, many of which require round-the-clock attention. The Pentagon estimates that as many as one in five American soldiers are coming home from war zones with traumatic brain injuries.

See a description of the show, as well as resources for injured soldiers and their families.

Comments (29)

God bless these men and their families. These ladies are saints and the families deserve the support of the entire nation. Thank you to these brave men who allow us to sleep soundly at night.

The injuries these men & women have are because the chose to defend this country. Whether you agree with the war or not - we, as a country, have to care for them. I agree 100% that the caregivers need to be helped. We can't just bring the injured back & then leave it to families to lose everything to care for those they love. It is our responsibility to help them.
This country wastes so much money, surely we can find dollars to help these families.

This was a totally moving piece. I just feel so terrible for the soldiers who were wounded but also for their wives and families who are caring for them. It just seems so unfair for everyone involved.
David mentioned a survey on the site. I wasn't able to find one.
Thank you for wonderful, heart felt reporting. They story will stay with me for a while.

to give a donation who do i seend it to

This is a no brainer. The federal government must honor the same ethos they train their military to live by and if elected politicians can not respect that logic then the over all cost effectiveness of a stipend for a wounded vet's caretaker might be more savorable to their civilian toungue.

I just caught the last 20 minutes or so of "Who's Helping our Wounded Vets" on PBS. I was sickened to my stomach to think that the person who is supposed to be our "Commander and Chief" would deny such a necessary and no-brainer legislation. I am not a Vet but am a father and cannot even begin to imagine what these families are going through to care for their loved ones. These men and women sacrifice it ALL so we can live in a free Nation and to care for them, regardless of the cost, is not an option but a mandate. I pray that our President will do what is right despite what others may be whispering in his ears. I pray for these families and I THANK all of the soldiers who gave the ultimate price for my freedom. The two women and father in this story all brought tears to my eyes. True love is shown in action not just words. As for as I am concerned THEY are American Heroes and are the perfect role model.

I believe we owe our troops the care they need and that their families should have a choice between institutional care or caring for them at home, and should be paid for their services at home. This should not be a further hardship to the families or to the troops.

I'm a US Army Reserve Saudi Veteran. I thank God everyday that I came back un-injured during my tour of duty. I'm writing this letter on behalf of all my fellow veterans who served our wonderful country. There should be no doubt that all our injured veterans and families deserve to be taken care of. I want to be a part of the fight to help all American Veterans get everything they deserve for putting their life on the line for out freedom. I saw the program about the brain injured veterans and my heart hurts for them and their families. Please let me know what I can do to help them and their families.
God Bless You
Jody Burke
6800 Barnes Rd
Theodore, Al 36582

I work with vets at a VA facility. Daily I see Vets requesting Benefits..........all too many,"faking" medical/mental issues attempting to increase those VA Benefits. Many come in with a "SCRIPT" they have downloaded off the Internet so they will know what symptoms to tell the Doctors.. These Vets put the VA Doctors in a bind because it is POLITICALLY INCORRECT to challenge/deny them a Diagnosis that would get them Benefits. Ft. Hood.......anyone????

The VA System is being manipulated with no tight guidelines coming out of Washington......It is costing the Taxpayers.......millions but......AGAIN, how Politically Incorrect to question ANY Vet issues during this time of War. Washington,...... put a rubber stamp on all Benefit requests so that Vet can buy that Harley and the Condo in Key West on Taxpayers backs.

By all means, The caregivers of truly Acute Care Vets SHOULD be well compensated. THESE are the VETS that ARE entitled to anything the VA system has to offer.

Washington....tighten/get policies in place to control the Benefit waste that is epidemic within the VA and support those that are TRULY in need.

Traumatic Brain Injury Soldiers,

Absolutely the families need financial assistance due to this major injury. I just finished watching this segment on TV. The United States needs to help the caregivers in a big way. This men and women were there of all Americans and we need to stand with them too. My son was in Iraq and I worried all the time about his physical and mentally well being. The young wives are trying to raise there children and take care of a person that needs continuous care and we need to pay them extra money. Why not they put their lives on the line for the United States and are liberties and freedom. Do what it takes to help him and his or her family. Do it because it is the right thing to do and do not delay help. My son pay is always messed up and this folks can not afford this delay. Shame on the U.S. government if they do not follow through and step in and pay these families appropriately. Make us Proud America help the entire families of the women and men that fight for our freedom! Step up to the plate now! Ms. Debra Haynes
Mother of a them NOW!

Our government should take care of our veterans returning from war with any and all of their injuries. Its a sad state of affairs when the USA looks the other way when a veterans family has to give up everything the own to help their sons and daughters with injuries sustained while defending our country. I am a veteran and it makes me sick to see our government ignore our vets needs. Also, what kind of message does this send to our young people yet to go into our military. Thanks you. Bernard G. Moore (USNR 02-57 to 02/59)

Our government should take care of all service people returning from war with any kind of injury. It makes me sick to see the USA look the other way to veterans needs. What kind of message does this send to our young people yet to go into the service. I am a Vet (USNR 02/57 to 02/59) and am very upset to see vets families having to give up everything they own to care for their injured sons and daughters. Bernard G. Moore.

This show was as disturbing to me as 9/11, except with 9/11 someone did this horror to us, and this show exposed what horror WE are bringing to our soldiers and then to their families. I am embarrased and ashamed for our country. That their is a debate and procrasternation over this is unthinkable.


We at taught the first VA classes in West L.A for scuba diving snorkeling and now sailing. Over 80% of our Wounded Vets had TBI injuries.
Thanks so much for covering this subject in such depth and with such compassion.
I fervantly hope that the American people will act now and do something for those who have given so much and the families who continue to give. Please contact Congress and the President about this pending legislation.
I personally thank you for this marvelous program.
Nicolas Coster
Challenges Foundation.

Thank you SO much for your poignant, moving story of these two incredible families.
I believe everyone - including Pres. Obama - needs to see this.

I just watched the show and am touched to tears by these families love a dedication to their injured Soldier. I am proud beyond belief for their care and impressed by the results that can be had. I hope every Veteran with a TBI comes back to their family the entire way!

Will look for the pending legislation and urge my representatives to pass them asap and will urge the Obama administration to make sure they are signed at the first opportunity!

Love and healing thoughts to every injured Veteran in America!

I am a retired vet since 1978. When I retired my wife and were guaranteed medical and dental benefits free for life.
Congress took that away not to long after. As a senior now I am very upset about the way our warriors are being treated. They should receive the "VERY BEST" care for their wounds that our "GOVERNMENT" can give them. My vote is definetly for caregivers stipends regardless of cost. Our government spends much-much-much more on other frivelous things such as Peloses new jet.

Your episode #101 re traumatic brain injury experienced by our returning soldiers is the first time i remember NOW making me cry. Where was the planning by the previous Republican admin to take on and handle this aspect of war? Why are we only now passing some Congress bill to help the families and care givers? Therein lies the outrage i feel.

How can I help wounded vets in my community? I am an able bodies 49 year old woman whose son just 19 signed on the dotted line two weeks ago. I want to help these wounded soldiers and their families. What can I do to volunteer?

The program regarding Vets and family caregivers, shed light on a situation that DEMANDS commonsensical resolve. The subject is one I'd like more information on. The answers as to where parties have drawn there lines and why, concerns me.

A new fan,
Sheree Hardy

My wife and I strongly feel that the government should provdie compensation to Family caregivers for wounded veterans

I don't understand why two of the caregivers of wounded soldiers were taking their husbands home and the third had learned that the Government would pay for their son's care in a private facility. The program made it appear that the two wives had no option other than home care.

On the show they mentioned the need for volunteers to work with vets.

My spouse is a disabled vet (Viet Nam) and we have been fighting tis system for years/ever since! I am a physical therapist with 45 years experience with neurological, spinalcord injury & brain trauma patients.

I travel all over the USA but am based in southern AZ (50 miles south of Tucson)

I would be interested in helping some of these newly returning vet if the opportunity should arise: Either by e-mail or personally if geography permits.


Laurian Sherman

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For those who posted comments regarding how to help: there are many non-profit organizations who work to help these families in different ways - you can donate to them, or if you are proximate to them, volunteer your time. Some of them are: the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation First Response, Operation Second Chance, USA Cares, Soldiers Angels, Rebuilding Together - too many to name here, but we have a listing of non-profit organizations who help wounded warriors and their families on our website - here is the link: You can do a "list all" organizations and see which ones you might want to participate with.

You can also write to your House and Senate representatives expressing your support for urgent passage of comprehensive caregiver support legislation.

Our organization has developed a community-based program to support these families - and will begin providing services to pilot families in February. We will, as funding permits, expand to a national clientele. You are welcome to learn more about our Community Resource Coordinator Program on our website.

I thought there were referrals to caregivers in each area who might be able to use volunteer help-labor, not money. I can shop, babysit, learn to care for the veteran while the constant caregiver goes to a hair salon or department store or to have lunch with a bunch of friends.

Anyone in Kingston, NY area (upstate new york) needs a volunteer caregiver I'd be willing to help. Powerful, heartrending show/report compells me to act.

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