One way to honor the passing of our servicemembers is by getting vaccinated. I know there is a lot of information out there and you may be waiting for the right time to get your shot(s). However, I would like to express to the readers that one of the primary disabilities for Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans is breathing issues related to being downwind of burn-pits during war. These burn-pits lit the sky day and night with the residual smoke from the burning of everything from the plastic cutlery from the chow-hall all the way to the fecal matter from the port-o-potties. The outcome was droves of servicemembers coming home from Iraq with detrimental breathing conditions.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Though the facts state 99% of people will not die from catching this airborne illness we must remember the 1%. Sadly, disabled folks like me not only are more likely to be in the high-risk group, but if we are ventilated the probability of losing our vocal cords or other permanent injury increases. I know I walk in a world of folks ready to thank me for my service, but this Memorial Day I am asking everyone to remember those who did not made it, and those of us who are in this high-risk category.

Everything said, I am proud of Raymond G. Murphy Medical Center and their willingness to vaccinate me and my loved ones. You might be thinking, “can my partner whom I am not married to get vaccinated?” I am happy to announce the VA defines “caretaker” as “family member or friend” who assists and/or lives with the veteran or active duty member.

My personal experience with getting my partner vaccinated was so simple we did it on his lunch break, One Wednesday we piled into the car and even took documentation to prove that we lived together. Yet, when we got to the VA they did not ask for any proof. Since he is not in the VA system, they asked him for his indicative data (name, date of birth, and “if” he had a social security number– for those who do not have one are still welcome) and got his information on record for the purpose of his vaccination card. We pulled the car forward and within 15 minutes, total, we were both fully vaccinated.

So, this Memorial Day let us remember and honor all the lives lost and take the appropriate measures to make sure we do not contribute to one more life lost. Get vaccinated!

For more information on who is eligible for vaccination at the VA Hospital Click HERE.