European Spotlight: Steven Burden, advocate for disabled veterans
So, what is Disabled Veterans International?
Disabled Veterans International (DVI) was established in 1995, and incorporated in 2005. The DVI is a volunteer group of men and women who’ve sustained injuries or disabilities in the line of duty while serving during peace and war. The DVI is dedicated to helping veterans throughout Europe, Africa, ongoing [wars], and within the U.S. as well.
Why did you start it?
The DVI started because of the lack of service for the disabled veteran who lives in Europe and elsewhere. The DVI is for those who’re tired of the status quo concerning veterans’ claims.
Are the needs of veterans being met?
Most of the needs of our nation’s veterans haven’t been met throughout our country’s history. The veteran, around budget time, is always slated to take the bite by our congressional and senate leaders. Many of these “leaders” never even served one day in the military!
What is the veterans’ single greatest need?
You see, most disabled veterans don’t ask for help. Most serve patriotically, in peace or war. When they’re used up, they’re left to take care of themselves. … The disabled veteran’s greatest need is tangible access to U.S. facilities at home and abroad and real job opportunities.
What do they have to offer?
The veterans’ greatest asset is experience! The best doctors, teachers, police, pilots, nurses, lawyers, politicians … I could go on for days.
You’re a veteran, too. Summarize your military service.
As a Cold War veteran serving in the seventies attached to an atomic missile battery, I was ready to defend Europe. My fellow comrades and I were the first generation in the new Army of volunteers. The all-volunteer Army began after the political failure of Vietnam. We were determined to win back the honor they deserved and had taken from them.
What was it like being a soldier in the 1970s?
It was a very sobering time in my life, knowing at a moment’s notice, everything could go up in smoke on a worldwide basis. Yet we’re denied our honor by the constant refusal of our government to award the National Defense Medal the Cold War veterans earned, and then some.
Why are some veterans so crotchety?
Many veterans are crotchety because they know this bitter truth: Veterans preference is a sham. Only words on a piece of paper, in practice, a joke. Just ask a veteran in Europe or elsewhere. And when it comes to applying for your benefits, you can count on a painful procedure getting them!
Interview by Kevin Dougherty.
Title: Founder, Disabled Veterans International, and executive director of European operations and claims
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