by Giles Brian King ©
This Korean War Veteran is 91 years old this year and is married with two children at home. Richard’s wife, also 91 this year just underwent surgery for the removal of a cancerous intestinal tumor and repair of a hernia.
Richard has many more health issues than his wife, but as every good husband, father and Veteran know family comes first. Richard’s hernia is in need of repair which hangs belong his groin.
A family friend recommended an alternative therapy and provided product information, including the case studies for his family physician. This new alternative had none of the side effects of Chemotherapy and had great potential to address his current condition. He started the treatment immediately and his cancer appears to be cured as evidenced-based by the testing done recently. Richard has since had the lowest PSA readings the physicians have seen for a man his age.
Although times have been difficult in the past it seems to Richard that is has become unusually cruel and harsh.
Richard enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and married Lois in August of 1951. They began their family with a son, followed by another son, and in 1956 brought Timothy into the world. Three boys and counting! Over the next few years, they added two girls and another boy.
Timothy at 1 year 10 months old was playing and fell striking his head on the floor. Having had their son examined by the doctors at the hospital they were given the all-clear and it appeared things were back to normal. Within a few days of returning home little Timothy in words, a 2-year-old would use to express the pain he was experiencing had begun telling his Mom…mommy eyes mommy…which were the last words that Timothy spoke.
Rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with encephalitis, Timothy fell into a coma for 6 weeks.
The encephalitis was considered such a severe case that the medical consensus of the doctors and nurses was that no one thought that Timothy not would survive his condition.
After the negative prognosis and 6 weeks in a coma, Timothy opened his eyes. A week passes by and Timothy’s Mom asks the hospital staff about taking Timothy home since no therapy protocol had been established. Timothy’s mom wanted to take him home and was told that it was because special care was required for feeding. Well, Mother did not think that should prevent Timothy from coming home and asked that she be taught the proper feeding technique. Timothy’s Mother mastered the task and brought their son home.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well still on duty and although Timothy could not speak, he would watch his brother and sisters get ready for school lunch box in hand, and board the school bus to go to school. You could see the desire in his eyes to attend school. The school in the State were just starting to offer schooling for those children that needed a more structured environment and so as a Father, husband, and Veteran Richard answered the call to duty and made arrangements for his son Timothy to attend school.
The first morning Timothy was getting ready excitement filled the air. Dressed with lunch box packed and in hand, it was off to school they went. When Timothy returned that day, the family noticed something was not right. There was no excitement on his first day in school and he seemed unhappy. The following morning, Dad took off from work and went with Timothy to school.
Upon entering the classroom and introducing himself to the teacher Timothy was led to his seat in the room to begin his day. Richard observed for a while and discovered the curriculum was reading stories. No other activities were available and the day consisted of sitting in a chair and listening to stories being read. Richard intuitively knew what was troubling Timothy, and could see the depression from the lack of interaction and attention in the classroom environment. Richard and Timothy left and went home and did not return. Timothy’s home environment had more activities and attention from his mother and family not to mention the comfort and familiarity of home.
Richard understood that these school programs were new and held no animosity toward the teachers or the school administration and understood that these programs were not well established. Richard did however have a determination to become more involved in the new programs and sought out resources and alternative programs for children like Timothy.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well he is still on duty and attempting to seek out and utilize any available resources for Timothy, but no real programs existed? Richard and Lois had meetings and communications with officials such as Senator Robert Kennedy of New York…keep going and doing what your family is doing was his advice, letters to Governor Rockefeller that went unaddressed, support groups such as the Parents League for the Handicapped.
When Timothy was 8 years old, we discovered an organization where we achieved some of the best results working with the Therapy Institute for Human Potential and dramatic life changes took place within 6 weeks from family participation and volunteers in the home working with Timothy, we were able to activate some hearing and eye coordination that were non-existent prior to this new therapy.
Timothy participated in family life at a level most experts did not think possible and they inquired as to how we achieved the improvements in his quality of life. The therapy and great amounts of time were the key to success and most agreed that they could not commit that amount of time. Those improvements reached a maximum level but we continued to discover that his brain was functioning at a level not obvious to most experts but seen by family members.
This life experience still requires rearing and caring for a child with limited skill sets is a lifelong journey and offered without hesitation and always at the moment with an abundance of great love, affection, and thankfulness. Yes, the family is always on alert and must take caution in feeding and caring and they have had to adjust to changing conditions with Timothy’s health while providing a quality of life with activities to keep his mind and body as healthy as possible.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well he is still on duty and the family has settled in with the various activities of the family unit through the years of birthdays and Christmas, the elementary, Junior High, and Senior High School, sports, proms, and other life events as life kept moving forward.
As the years passed and everyone grew older and began to move away and begin their lives as adults and start their own families. Timothy, with his Father, Mother continued with life as they knew it and Timothy continued to function at his best level considering his daily challenges.
Richard and his son (now 44 years old), traveling in typical bad winter weather in rural New York when their automobile lost traction and was involved in an automobile accident where the airbags failed to deploy and Timothy sustained physical injuries.
The airbag manufacturer had produced a defective product. It was decided after two years that the injuries to Timothy and the related medical expenses should be compensated for and after an additional six years, a settlement was reached with the various parties. The family provided the additional care necessary for Timothy and absorbed the additional expenses of medication, chiropractic adjustments, and doctor visits, for eight years waiting for the courts and attorneys to settle the matter. Eventually, a settlement was reached and a Trust was established for Timothy, and his younger sister now at home was appointed guardian for Timothy (person and property) and caretaker, 50 years old now and caring for Timothy and keeping an eye on Mom and Dad now in their 80’s.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well he is still on duty and having purchased a piece of property that the family called home for almost twenty years and with a home on the property, built-in 1853 was in need of major repairs the family decided to provide a permanent solution to the problem. The land was an affordable lot and had a total of fifty acres and a healthy number of pine trees, so in 2011 the family proposed and had approved to use of a portion of the trust funds to build Timothy a permanent home.
Five acres of private property were donated and set aside for the home, and trees on the property were cut and processed and donated to the project as well. Richard processed additional logs and sold them to another builder with the proceeds donated to the project. After 2 years of coordinated efforts, utilizing Richard’s construction background the home for Tim was completed and move-in ready in 2013. None too soon as the 1853 home was in dire need of major repairs and the new home was built and designed functionally for Timothy’s needs.
The American, Veteran, Husband, and Father are still on duty and protecting the family and defending Timothy’s property against the attacks of both State and County governments which has been a burden that has taken a toll on the entire family.
Twelve years have passed and life had again settled down into a predictable routine over the last years demands were made, demands that were never disclosed as being required in the original agreement that has been added to the responsibilities of the caretaker.
The attorneys and the court have now determined that after never participating in raising and caring for Timothy for the past 65-years where only the family has cared for Timothy, that now the attorneys and the court will dictate and decide what demands to make upon this American, and against his daughter the guardian, caretaker, and family. A requirement to submit our expenses, reports created by CPAs, inspected by Attorneys, and all at the expense of Timothy’s trust funds.
The Superior Court of New York demanded an appearance and an accounting for approximately 10 years of records, an impossibility for the guardian and caretaker to perform. The government employees, the servants to the People demand the production of records or; be subjected to contempt of court for failure to appear and punishment for failure to obey.
The order must be obeyed the Veteran is told and proclaimed, that all must obey or as punishment the trust established for Timothy is to be seized and surrendered to the State’s appointed attorney.
The demand has been made upon Richard’s family for all things to be pre-paid and then to beg for reimbursement in order to access the trust funds, Timothy’s property; otherwise access to trust funds is denied. The attorneys have canceled Timothy’s SSI and the debts are accumulating leaving a once proud, self-sufficient American Veteran family financially decimated.
For the last 16 months, every resource has been provided for medical care, clothing, personal hygiene, food, transportation, utilities, fuel to ensure that Timothy’s well-being which is now being provided for by the limited social security payments of 90-year-old parents of a 65-year-old incapacitated son and caretaker daughter. The court has seized the trust and has left the family unable to pay for basic transportation which has resulted in one of two automobiles being repossessed.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well he is still on duty and counter-claimed the seizure of Timothy’s property. The courts have fallen silent other than to pay themselves for servicing the stolen assets that belong to Timothy and canceling the original settlement from 2008 without the Constitutional guarantees of due process of law this Veteran fought for. The family begs for charity from the church for firewood for the boiler this 90-year-old veteran must stoke to keep from freezing in the harsh New York winters, as money for propane has been seized.
The family begs for donations from the food banks where more wholesome food at home was once readily available, begging the banks to negotiate the payments that are in arrears for the only remaining automobile, the only means of transportation to get Timothy to emergency care, pleading with the Office of the Aging for electricity where the bills were once paid with the family’s resources, getting garbage service restored so that Timothy’s personal hygiene refuse can be properly disposed of. All of this is part of Richard’s daily life now where they were once self-sufficient.
Richard is now negotiating for blood transfusions because they will only allow enough blood, a unit, to maintain an average of 8.0 hemoglobin, whereas the average for most is 11+. The need for transfusions is a direct result of a bleeder, which he cannot get repaired, from the hernia that hangs below his groin.
The lack of resources has damaged the family unit, they all look to Richard, the Father, Husband, and Veteran for solutions to their dilemma and the fear of the future is obviously present in their eyes. As Richard looks at the faces of his wife and daughter, he glances over to see that even Timothy realizes something is terribly wrong.
Where Have All The Veterans Gone, well he is still on duty and the Tax Accessor for the County has recently given notice that property taxes are due. The County bought the lien and a Tax Sale is scheduled in May where Timothy’s permanent home will be sold. The home built from logs milled and notched from their private property, the home built by this Veteran where Timothy participated, even in his limited capacity will be gone. Richard and the Guardian cannot access Timothy’s trust to save the property.