The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Local veterans share their stories


December 14, 2017

Courtesy of Nick Nikkila

Cathlamet resident Bob Roche, standing at the left, speaks a a veteran's struggles to Congressman Phil Roe, center and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler at a recent gathering.

Wahkiakum resident Bob Roche took advantage of an invitation to a Veteran's Discussion with District 3's Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe on Saturday, November 18, to share some of his concerns about the Veterans Affairs claims program.

Roe is currently the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and was in Washington state to inspect the VA hospital in Spokane.

"It was an invite only meeting," Roche said. "It was kind of neat, there wasn't any specific agenda."

There were about 50 people from Herrera's district in attendance, according to Roche, a retired US Army captain. Wahkiakum residents Nick Nikkila and Ken Elliott were also in attendance, as well as Roche's friend, Donn Dale.

Attendees were able to ask questions and tell stories.

Roche shared Dale's story, about his struggle with pancreatic cancer, diabetes, neuropathy, high blood pressure, COPD, and more.

"He's been struggling for about a year and a half," Roche told them. "Things aren't going his way. We put in a claim in August, and we still haven't heard anything."

"There are a lot of veterans here who think that the veterans system is just waiting for them to die," he added.

Roche was encouraged that Roe and Herrera Beutler were willing to listen.

"It was exciting for us that he would come out and spend time with us," Roche said. "It was nice to get a phone call from Jaime's staff. She's been pretty good to the veterans."


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