By Valerie Garner
Published: June 6th, 2012
Robin Sherwood was a yeoman in the U.S. Navy on the ground in Vietnam in 1969. The word “promise is really important to me,” he said to former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine. The Salem Disabled American Veterans (DAV) hosted a roundtable discussion Monday on military veterans issues.
The seventeen veterans aired their grievances about government bureaucracy and red tape that they had to endure to get promised benefits. The veterans agreed that most of the blame lay with the federal government. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services got high praise, as did the Salem Veterans Administration across the street.
Not everything is up for spending cuts said Kaine. “Some programs are producing more value for citizens then others … veteran’s benefits are a perfect example of this. It’s not just a line item in the budget. It is an earned benefit like a contract, like a promise,” said Kaine. He added that benefits are connected to retention and recruitment with an all-volunteer military. “As we’re making cuts we need to protect benefits that have been promised to people.”