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Friday's letters: Our veterans deserve the best care

Veterans deserve the finest care

At the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and Clinics, every day is Veterans Day. We are honored to provide high-quality health care services to those who served in our armed forces. It's an obligation our nearly 4,700 employees take to heart.

It takes a special person to serve our country, sometimes in far-flung places. It takes special people to place their life on the line to protect the freedoms we all hold dear, knowing they may never return.

At James A. Haley, we care for more than 93,000 veterans in our main hospital, our primary care annex, and in our outpatient clinics in Brooksville, Lakeland, New Port Richey and Zephyrhills. We supported almost 1.3 million outpatient visits last fiscal year and 12,000 inpatient admissions. That treatment ranged from minor ailments to veterans being treated in our spinal cord injury and polytrauma centers, and includes those receiving compassionate end-of-life care in our hospice program.

I have the pleasure of meeting many of our veterans. There's the World War II Army veteran who was drafted along with his five brothers, and whose mother was overjoyed when all six made it home. There's the Navy veteran who was moved into our community living center when cancer caused his paralysis and who highly praised the treatment he received. Then there's the Marine Corps Vietnam veteran whose VA treatment finally cured him of hepatitis C, a debilitating disease that attacks the liver.

Our veterans deserve the finest care, and that's what we strive to provide. We are one of the first 39 VA medical centers to offer same-day services for primary care and mental health services. We are privileged to serve some of the finest men and women in our nation.

Joe D. Battle, Tampa

The letter writer is director of the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.

USF ranks No. 1 for vets | Nov. 6

Compassion is missing

Despite the fact that USF failed to help a decorated combat veteran complete his remaining 17 college credit hours in late 2014 to graduate, this university proudly boasts of its recent survey rating by the Military Times as the "Best for Vets … based on staff support, commitment to best practices, affordability and graduation rates."

To add further insult to injury, this veteran was not afforded appropriate accommodations based on his VA-rated combat and service-connected disability. Rather, he was denied readmission. I see the rating's criteria as incomplete. Conspicuously missing from the list are such qualities as compassion, empathy and the recognition that true diversity stretches beyond the politically expedient and correct labels such as race, color, religious preference or gender orientation.

Yes, it may now even include our men and women in uniform who defended our nation and who paid the price, often in ways we cannot physically see or even comprehend.

D.J. Reyes, U.S. Army colonel (retired), Tampa

Campaign 2016

Destructive force let loose

My parents took me to a musical by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein when I was a small child. I went on the Internet to hear one of the old songs. Most of the comments on old songs are typically pleasant childhood memories, or wishes for days gone by when life was a bit more simple. However, the fact that Rogers and Hammerstein were both Jews prompted one writer to unleash a bizarre anti-Semitic rant that included nonsense about race mixing, and then things really took a turn for the worst.

This election has "let the genie out of the bottle" in terms of unleashing racists and dangerous individuals onto the public stage. These people have always been with us, but they were not unleashed on the public in mass quantities in many decades.

We can thank Donald Trump for this as he has brought "fellow travelers" along with him who seek to endanger the freedoms that we have. Some call it "alt-right," but the true name is fascism.

Michael S. Greenberg, Clearwater

A call for civility, progress

Sunday there was a knock on my door. I opened it to see what looked like a nice man, casual and smiling, just a regular guy. He could have been one of my neighbors, but I don't know many neighbors and I did not take the time to ask. He carried a clipboard and asked, "Are you Rick Ceaser?"

Right away I noticed his baseball cap with the words "Make America Great Again" emblazoned across the front. "Yes, I am Rick Ceaser," I replied and added, "And I am not voting for Donald Trump. Now get off my porch!" I slammed the door and watched him hurry, almost run, down my front walk to the sidewalk. I was proud of myself and bragged about my quick reaction for the rest of the day to all who would listen.

On Monday, I was ashamed of myself. I woke up in the night thinking about that guy. I was acting on the divisiveness that this miserable election plunged the country into. That poor guy was working hard to elect the candidate of his choice, and I showed him no respect.

Shame on me. I want to apologize to him and all the people of any party who worked for their candidates and gave of their time.

With the election over, I do want to unify the country and move ahead and keep America the great country that I know and love.

Rick Ceaser, St. Petersburg

End hedging for good | Nov. 5, editorial

Business risk, reward

This editorial misses the point. Hedging is a viable business strategy for managing risk. The real issue is that we should put an end to allowing so-called "public utilities" to pass business losses on to their customers, the ratepayers, instead of their shareholders, through enterprise value. That's where business risk belongs.

Dick Averitt, St. Petersburg

Source: http://www.tampabay.com