Veterans fear loss of services if shutdown persists - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Veterans fear loss of services if shutdown persists


Amid all the gridlock in Washington, those who have fought for our country are feeling the pain. The Department of Veterans Affairs is running out of funding, and many of its services and support programs are coming to a halt.

From canceled ceremonies to slower services at the hospital, veterans are starting to pay a high price.

Bill Burleigh, executive director at Nashville's Operation Stand Down, says the group sees 50 to 60 veterans each day, needing all kinds of help.

"Everything from employment, to housing, transportation, food," Burleigh said.

But with lawmakers at a standoff and federal offices shut down, many will not get what they need.

"All they're doing is hurting the people that don't need to be hurt, that this country is trying to take care of," Burleigh said.

Burleigh said he was expecting an $825,000 check in the mail to make sure local veterans have roofs over their head. That was last week, and the check hasn't come. At this point, Burleigh said he doesn't know if it ever will.

"Things are being put off that don't need to be," he said.

Want something as simple as an address change to make sure a veteran's disability and social security checks arrive at the right mailboxes, or proof that a veteran served, so they can have a proper burial? Right now, it can't be done.

Kevin Newman, who served our country for 10 years, said he's now worried what his future holds.

"I'm disappointed, and I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed of my government. I love my country, but I'm ashamed of my government. I mean, normal people don't act like this," Newman said.

And Burleigh fears this situation will get much worse before it gets any better.

"You're going to have more and more people becoming homeless, and you're going to have more and more people in need," he said.

Each year, Operation Stand Down holds a big event in which hundreds of organizations show up and provide all kinds of different services for veterans.

The problem is one of the main sponsors is the National Guard. At this point, leaders at Operation Stand Down say they're doing everything they can to not have to cancel.

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