New Help for Veterans

Pete Garcia, Veteran Counselor
Pete Garcia, Veteran Counselor
Mike Cook, VA Chief of Health Administration
Mike Cook, VA Chief of Health Administration

Ryan Cody
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - New laws regarding veteran's benefits are taking effect today.

More veterans than ever before are being treated for post traumatic stress disorder after their roles in combat. But there are thousands in our area alone who were denied care. That all ends today.

Pete Garcia councils Amarillo veterans daily who's lives have never been the same since coming home from war. A condition he saw in his brother after returning from Vietnam.

"I recall my mother telling me, your brother is crazy and I said why do you say that? She says because he wakes up hollering an screaming. Getting under the bed. And he's just not the same person."

Garcia's brother is one of the thousands in the panhandle region who were not the same after combat. But without records of the battles they took part in, the government would not help them get better.

In an address this past weekend, President Obama said, "I don't think our veterans should have to keep notes on the battlefield just in case they need to apply for a claim."

So now they don't.

"With this new rule it is going to give them the opportunity to receive the benefits and care they need and so much deserve without providing documents from 40 or 50 years ago," Mike Cook of the VA hospital in Amarillo says.

And if you say a nurse or cook at war, there would be no records of combat situations because you were never in combat. But that doesn't mean you weren't exposed to horrific events.

"Somebody might have depression issues, anxiety attacks. But trauma they are exposed to.... They will never forget, Garcia says.

The VA is urging anyone who thinks they are suffering from PTSD, whether you have been denied before or not to come down and meet with a counselor.

Because there is no shame in needing help after defending our freedom.