Tag Archives: mike boyce

Guest Blog: Mike Boyce on VA Benefits

Another guest blog from Cobb County Commission Chairman Candidate: Mike Boyce. You can learn more about his campaign at http://www.likemike4cobb.com.

 

Time is the most precious commodity on the campaign trail and any events that are not campaign-related are given short shrift.  Since I began my campaign in earnest last fall, my stack of unread books continues to await, an indirect barometer of the future:  If I win the books will continue to gather dust and if otherwise they are a consolation to a battle well fought.

One of the few practices that I have not cast aside is my commitment to veterans, particularly those in need of health care or benefits.  As Glen  Martin,  my favorite patriot with the Disabled Veterans of America so succinctly sums it up, they served so they deserve.  So for the last year, almost weekly and sometimes more, I have been taking veterans to the Veterans Administration office in Decatur to assist them in registering for health care or other benefits.  Once they enter the portals of the VA hospital they are welcomed and treated as heroes.  Members of the staff, regardless of their responsibilities, convey a clear message that all veterans are to be accorded the respect and dignity which their service to America entitles them.  The testimonies that I have heard from the veterans that I have shepherded to the VA are an affirmation of the spiritual message that in service you are rewarded with manifold blessings.   To have witnessed a wrong corrected after 40 years, a benefit rendered with a savings in the hundreds of dollars, a disability finally recognized and treated and compensation instituted to offset in some small degree the physical sacrifice and pain associated with the affliction, all these are just some of the many chapters in story that I in no way anticipated when I first began this mission.

One such account happened today as I waited for my latest veteran to complete his interview process for health care.  A lady sitting next to me struck up a conversation about her husband.  He was in the Army during the Vietnam War and was now diagnosed with diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.  All  these diagnoses had been determined to be associated with his contact with Agent Orange while in Vietnam.  As I listened to this lady talk about her family, her husband, and care for him, I was, in a word, amazed.    Several months ago I saw a letter dated in the 1970’s from the VA denying his request for health care for medical conditions associated with Agent Orange because of the lack of any substantiating evidence corroborating the effects of Agent Orange.  A generation later there is now a substantial list of illnesses that are “presumed” to be linked to Agent Orange.  I could only sit and listen in astonishment as the lady described the litany of treatments and support that the VA was providing for this veteran and his family.  They classified him as 100% disabled entitling him to disability compensation and free medical care.  His house has been modified at US government expense to accommodate his need for wheel chair mobility.  His wife draws compensation as a caregiver.  Their drive to the VA hospital is reimbursed with a mileage payment—in cash before they leave for home.  Even more remarkable she told me her story without the least measure of sadness or anger.  She was proud of her husband, that he had served his country, and that America was not so much attempting to repay him for his sacrifice but to honor him but giving his last days the full spectrum of dignity.

God feeds us humility and humbleness in spoonfuls.  As I departed the waiting room with my Vietnam veteran, I stopped by the wheelchair, thanked this lady’s husband for his service and squeezed his hand.  His body was undoubtedly drawn tight by the Parkinson’s Disease, but it did not prevent him from looking up and acknowledging my small measure of gratefulness.  I was among heroes today and the most common type, unheralded, thankful to be with a family and friends that love them, and believing that their country will not forget or diminish their service.

There is a parable here as Cobb County government closes down senior centers and withdraws financial support for transportation for our special needs population.  We need to remind ourselves that ultimately we all will be put into the hands of people to care for us.  How that care is delivered and supported speaks volumes about us as a people and our values.  I’d like to believe that in our actions Cobb County represents the best intentions of our people and the most caring of our values.

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Mike Boyce: What It Means to Be a Public Servant

Mike Boyce is running for Chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners. Below he details his ideas of public service. You can (and should!) learn more about him at http://www.likemike4cobb.com
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Jessica and I meet frequently as we campaign in Cobb County.  She is the Campaign Manager for  Cindi Yeager in her bid for District Attorney and I’m in the race for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.  She has asked me to blog about my run.  The most precious commodity in any campaign is time and if yours is limited like mine, I would encourage you to visit my website at www.likemike4cobb.com or Facebook site at Like Mike 4 Cobb.  You’ll find information about my background, the skills that I bring to the office of Chairman, and, in the spirit of David Letterman, 10 reasons why people should vote for me.

I believe that the Chairman is charged with the credo that he will lead a government that is fiscally responsible, lives within its means, and works with the business community to create an economic environment which encourages entrepreneurship and promotes responsible growth.  Above all, the chairman (and any elected official) should be a person who is known by the promises he keeps.  I was in the Marine Corps for 30 years and it was a world of black and white: you did it or you did not do it.  A wag once said, To err is human, to forgive divine, neither of which is Marine Corps policy.  It’s humorous but there is a core of truth in it.

Having said that, why would I want to devote almost every waking moment for 9 months of my life and spend money that could be used on my family or applied to an already long delayed bucket list to aspire a to a position that, if I am successful in attaining, will result in a daily public scrutiny that leaves you with no private life,  where half the voters on your best day will be angry at you, and any accomplishments will be heralded long after you are gone and or will be so grudgingly acknowledged that they will seem like pyrrhic victories at the time?  I can assure you that I seek this office for the same reason that in my Marine Corps career I endured low pay, public hostility during the era of the Vietnam War, frequent separations from my family, deployments to places that really sucked and inhabited by people who shot at you, and flew in aircraft usually built by the lowest bidder: Because I love my country and community and any inconveniences pale in significance to the blessing of being part of both.  I believe that people who are truly committed to Public Service do so for the same reason that they make sacrifices in their spiritual journey:  Because they recognize that the reward is in the service.   A public servant makes a contract with the people to serve them and he does so based on his or her word.  The character trait most commonly associated with this partnership is integrity.  But it’s based on a promise, and a promise is something that must be kept.

This brings us back to the credo in the second paragraph.  I’m in this campaign because I continue to choose a life marked by servant hood.  I promise to lead a government that is lean because it will be fiscally responsible.  When our projected expenses are larger than our income, we won’t be furloughing police and firefighters to pay the bill like the current Chairman has done.   We also won’t be mirroring his support of new and higher taxes, actions which do not reflect Republican values.  We either live up to our word as Republicans by seeking lower taxes and smaller government or we don’t.  It’s that simple; it’s that black and white.  How we do that is politics; that we do that is keeping our promise.

Public involvement in County government makes government more responsive and effective.  Your vote does make a difference.   The 2011 Cobb County SPLOST vote was decided by less than 100 votes and was actually losing in the advanced and absentee voting ballots.  Moreover, if the 2010 Primary serves as the standard, a candidate may win with just 13% of the registered voters.  We need to stop taking all our benefits and freedoms for granted and reengage.

Cobb County makes it very easy both to register and to vote.  For registration, download and return the self-stamped form at http://elections.cobbcountyga.gov/pdf/RegistrationApplication.pdf .  If you are going to be out of town or are too busy to vote on July 31st apply for an absentee ballot in June at http://elections.cobbcountyga.gov/pdf/2012/2012AbsenteeApplication_GeneralPrimary.pdf.

I once heard an Army Genera  remark that to be born free is an accident, to live free is a privilege, to die free is a responsibility.  Let’s join together and exercise our freedom to vote.