Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sen. Coleman : Iraq War Vet Father Tim –vs- Terri Schiavo

Did you see Friday night's CBS Evening News report concerning Father Tim ?

Father Tim is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul – Minneapolis and had previously served in Germany, Korea and Bosnia. Father Tim explained to his sister during a deployment to Bosnia: "The safest place for me to be is in the center of God's Will, and if that is in the line of fire, that is where I will be."

I recall when Father Tim was injured in Iraq and Senator Coleman issuing a press release for his involvement in awarding Tim's Purple Heart in June 2004.

I admit that I had forgotten about Father Tim and through wishful thinking hoped that he had recovered.

Sad to say - the CBS story showed some of Tim's progress - but not enough. Although he was able to navigate a motorized wheelchair around obstacles, the DOD has determined that further therapy will not be provided. He needs therapy so that he can learn to swallow again. The family stated that the VA wants to "warehouse" him in a facility due to the lack of rehabilitation potential.

Now, I'm angry at our Congress.
Can anyone explain how a Congress be so concerned for Terri Schiavo and yet not provide all the rehabilitation for our soldiers who have been injured in combat ? ? ? ? ?
The CBS news footage showed a man working very hard at recovery. He has movement in his left leg and is working on his right hand. He can make some sounds.
Why do the DOD and VA not want to continue the therapy? Is it a money issue ?
Is it a facilities issue (beds/therapists) ?
Maybe Dr. Frist could look at the CBS footage and make a diagnosis as he did for Mrs. Schiavo.
Something needs to be done.
Congress needs to support the troops - before and after combat.
Sen. Coleman, you were supportive before … Father Tim and the other vets need you now. Coleman was quick to issue press releases encouraging compassion and protecting life in the Schiavo case, well this is a case where our government has let this patriot down.
Tim is just one example.

Please email your thoughts to

Here's Coleman's statement and some links to more information about Father Tim.

July 14th, 2004 - Washington, DC - Champlain Major Fr. Tim Vakoc, the first documented U.S. Army chaplain seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom, received the Purple Heart in his room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., during a private ceremony limited to immediate family members, Army personnel, and Senator Coleman, who presented the medal to Fr. Vakoc. “It was a very moving ceremony,” said Coleman. “Father Tim has been in and out of a coma for the past month. It really meant a lot to his family and to me when he opened his eyes and smiled in response to those around him, to our prayers and to the medal he had just been awarded. Words cannot do justice to what happened here today.” Vakoc, from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was injured May 29, 2004, the twelfth anniversary of his ordination, when his humvee struck a roadside bomb as he was returning from presiding at a mass for soldiers out in the field. Due to the seriousness of Vakoc’s injuries to his head and his unstable condition, Senator Coleman was able to expedite the granting of this prestigious award. “We’ll continue to keep Father Vakoc and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” said Coleman. “More than anything, we’d like to see him make a full and immediate recovery.”

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