When will people in the government jobs understand the decisions that they make might carry huge ramifications? This weekend I helped rally the troops to get a "acceptable loss" decision overturned. Someone in an office somewhere decided that a very key program for our wounded warriors should be cut.
Those of you who have followed us for a while are aware of the fabulous CPT Tammy Phipps and her driving program. For those who are new let me explain it a little. CPT Phipps teaches our wounded warriors how to drive their adaptive vehicles. Tammy's driving program consists of her and only her. She is a one woman show. She takes our warriors on a one on one basis and puts them back in the driving seat. She is such an amazing person. She helped Chaz get not only behind her training wheels, but also helped us link up with Help Our Military Heroes and get Chaz his own adaptive van. Tammy has been running this program for years and has blessed so many families like ours. Thanks to her Help Our Military Heroes will award their 20th adaptive van to Derek McConnell next week. That 20 does not count the other heroes who purchased their own vehicles and had them adapted. Tammy is an Army Reservist, but she serves the wounded of all of the branches.
Well MEDCOM decided that Tammy's orders could just expire. She applied for a renewal. The command team at Bethesda applied for renewals and appeals. But a few people at MEDCOM decided Tammy and her program was to be deemed as an "acceptable loss" in regards to their budget cuts. They decided that our warriors got adaptive grants for their vehicles and that was fine. True our warriors received funds to adapt a vehicle for their needs. What MEDCOM didn't realize is that Tammy is the ONLY person in our vicinity who can teach them how to drive and drive safely. The people making the decision did not factor that into their decision. They seriously thought the VA had a driving program available to our warriors.
Tammy, of course, was devastated at the news. She told us to wait until she got the final and official word on Monday. I laughed. I am not going to wait for people in an office who do not comprehend the ramifications of their decision to give the last word. Oh no, instead I started sending emails. Oh yes I provided pictures of the day Chaz was driving his van. I was clear that Tammy's program was a huge boost to Chaz's morale. I was clear that this program was ran by one person and the cost was only for that one person. I also explained that the DOD wastes a lot of money on other things. Tammy and her program are not a waste, nor acceptable loss and it is absolutely ridiculous to think otherwise. I went on to tell them that her schedule is booked with warriors waiting to drive and she had a waiting list behind that one. In addition, Tammy helps our wounded complete the paper work so they are legally on the road. CPT should receive an accommodation for her service, not have her program cut.
Our friend created a facebook page and word really got out. Tammy found out on Friday about the orders. We were told on Saturday. We all emailed on Saturday and Sunday. Monday morning Tammy was informed that it was an "unfortunate oversight" and her orders were reinstated. I love those words "unfortunate oversight". What I see is oops, we messed up and we're sorry about that, our bad.
I am so proud of the "MATC Mafia." I am proud to be associated with such great, caring people. I was honored to be asked to be involved in helping get Tammy's orders reinstated. I am so blessed to have people in our lives that know if I am asking for help with something it's not about me. I even had someone say, "Well you've got your van. Chaz is legally driving. You could care less, but no, you know how this will help the others. Thank you for helping." When I told Chaz about the issue, he told me to pull out all the contacts I had and get to work. I happily obeyed that order.
It's so awesome to be a small part in winning a fight for something so important. We are blessed and other families should have the same blessing in their lives. I can only hope that those who sit in the office understand now that some "acceptable losses" can be some huge "unfortunate oversights" and that you will look beyond the papers and see the people you effect next time.
Thank you MEDCOM for coming to the right decision. You should know you are helping our warriors get closer to their new normal. Sorry if we ruined your Monday.