LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Kudos to those at Dover VA Outpatient Clinic

Greetings, Positive Readers: I’d like to share with you a true testimony about a fantastic readjustment counseling psychotherapist that works at the Dover veteran center [VA Outpatient Clinic] located at 1198 S. Governors Ave. Being a chaplain and dealing with a lot of veterans with a lot of problems, and myself having post-traumatic stress disorder, and having lost a chaplain combat friend I could really share with, it became hard for me to open up to others and share. I held a lot in, and had to stay very self-motivated by constantly busy helping others to keep my mind occupied. I did not want to go to many groups because, being a chaplain, I thought I would be out of place and misunderstood. But one day, I decided to join the group because the stress of much negative pressure of people who did not know how to respect kind people were pushing a limit, and I knew I needed to share with other combat veterans. I joined this group, PTSD Delaware Combat Veterans group, led by this unique counselor. The first thing I said was, “What can a woman, not being a veteran or having combat experience, know about them nutty veterans?” Now, I say, “Us nutty veterans.” (SMILES) Before I go any further, I would like to say to any and all veterans that use the clinic in Dover, please be very polite to the nurses and the clerks and doctors, and they will serve you with the respect you deserve. They see a lot of people, sometimes in a short time, and that can be rough on nerves, so, please be patient. To many of you that know me, when I come in, I try to encourage everyone to put on a smile and even give out stuffed animals and rosaries if the person wants one to lift spirits. I have a chaplain friend who makes the rosaries for priests, professionally, and he makes up some plastic ones for me to give out just to life spirits, nondenominationally. Getting back to my special counselor for our PTSD group, which is held on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which is called “Barbara’s Bums” group – not that we are bums, but it means “Barbara’s Unique Military Servicemen,” with PTSD, combat veterans who are misunderstood. We mentor others, we raise funds to help with small situations and have a good camaraderie with other from all branches of services. And there is a lot of love and trust in Barbara Blevins. This woman knows more about us and has heard it all, and none of us disrespect this woman. When I say “disrespect,” I mean some of the group gets off-script, but this is about the war and not sugar-coated, not meant to be personal, and Mrs. Barbara is a trouper and nothing is personal, and wow! There is not another like her! A lot of wives have met her, and she has met a lot of the families at veterans’ outings we have at parks in summers. She is one of a kind. I can personally say there was a time when we did not all have a personal health provider for many months, and our medications for diabetes and blood pressure and veterans’ other meds were not coming as ordered. Mrs. Barbara Blevins had noticed that I had been getting a little more hyper, and when provoked, I would anger some, which was not normally like me, and it was like I did not notice it. When she brought it to my attention, I was not pleased; I did not understand why she was saying these things. But as I thought to myself, as I do often to try to be reasonable, I saw that she was right, and we talked and shared, and I have truly learned to open up around her, and now, I am proud to be one of “Barbara’s Bums” (Barbara’s Unique Military Servicemen). P.S. If you think of disrespecting this woman, you are in for “BIG TROUBLE”! (You have to deal with Barbara’s Bums), all branches military – combat. There is a little song I made up that goes to the tune of the “Beverly Hillbillies’” song [“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”]. It goes like this: Let me tell you all a story about a woman named Barb, The best PTSD counselor that the VA has in store, And if you have a problem with her, and disrespect her too, The BUMS will put you in order, you blankety-blank — BUFFOON! Military Talk — Veteran Language Have a positive day!

Chaplain Al Kraft Smyrna

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.