Hello friends. Let's talk a little today about Veterans who stretch the truth.
If you have a service dog and you're on the internet, you'd have to be blind not to notice the pages about Luis Montalvan and his Golden Retriever, Tuesday. I won't dignify this former Army Captain by linking to his pages. You can Google him and find his pages yourself. Mr. Montalvan is an Iraq Veteran. By his account and the account of others, he is a disabled Veteran. The Bureau of Veterans Affairs agrees that he is a disabled Veteran. That's where all the agreements end.
I've been chatting with Luis online for some time now. Mostly we've discussed the topic of service dogs. It's a topic near and dear to both our hearts. Luis has Tuesday, a Golden Retriever who has captured the hearts of thousands. I've tried to discuss with Luis how to get the same benefits for my service dog as he has gotten for his service dog from the VA. Luis had little advice for me. He didn't have to fight very hard for his benefits because he had Senator Franken pushing hard for his dog to get benefits. With a Senator in your back pocket, the powers that be at the VA listen. Luis got lucky and didn't have to fight. I commend him on that win. Tuesday may very well be a PTSD dog but here is the catch. The VA does not award benefits to PTSD dogs. They only award them to guide dogs and service dogs other than PTSD or any kind of mental health dogs.
So what does that tell us about Tuesday? I know from email exchanges with Luis that he receives benefits from the VA for him. It's a matter of public record. They will award benefits for a mobility dog. Therefore, we know that Luis does in fact have mobility issues. If you look around the internet, the stories about Luis' injuries vary greatly. Some say his injuries occurred in Iraq. Some say his injuries occurred when he was beaten up by two McDonald's employees. Again, these are all a matter of public record, and can be found by Googling Luis. In some articles, by Luis' own admission, his injuries occurred when he was attacked at McDonald's.
Today, there was an article published on the ABC News website which is disputing Mr. Montalvan's stories of his injuries in Iraq. Interviews with his soldiers and superiors, according to the article, agreed that Mr. Montalvan embellished the details of his injuries. In another posting I found online, a soldier of his stated that the person who allegedly tried to assassinate then LT Montalvan, was nothing more than a drunken Syrian truck driver who attacked the LT with a screwdriver and not a knife. See link: http://www.idigmygarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27608&page=2 .
Why is all this upsetting to me? Because if it turns out to be the truth that Mr Montalvan IS lying about what happened to him, he's just made all of us Veterans look bad. There are a lot of civilians out there who begrudge disabled Veterans the benefits we get for the disabilities we incurred in the line of duty. Too often you pick up the paper and read stories about Vets who lied to get benefits. Now, I'm not saying Mr. Montalvan is a liar. I went to his Facebook page this morning and asked him to clarify the discrepancy. Why, in his own words, in so many articles in archives, were there different stories about how he got his injuries? I asked him, are your soldiers and superiors lying? His response was to kick me off his Facebook page.
Is his PTSD real? I don't doubt that it is. I have PTSD. If you're a regular reader, you know where my PTSD comes from. I have no secrets from you, my friends. You know my struggles. It's all here in print. For free. I didn't write a book about it and try to make a profit off my struggles. Luis says he's 80% service connected. Let him go to work and get a job. Does he donate any of the proceeds to service dog groups or disabled Veteran organizations? I asked him that once. He ignored my email.
For the record, I saw his appearance on Dave Letterman. I don't know how he handles all the public appearances. If his PTSD is as bad as he says it is, how does he manage his symptoms? I want that secret please, Luis. I can barely leave my house. I can't stand crowds. The thought of a stranger getting close to me or touching me puts the fear of G-d into me. There is no way I can even think about getting on an airplane to travel. And ... I have a service dog. A big, 75 pound Doberman whom I trust with my life. Just going to my doctor appointments at the VA Hospital is an exercise in terror. How do you do it, Luis? How is it you're rated that high for PTSD yet you can travel, do book signings, make all those public appearances? If I was the rater who reviewed your claim, I'd be pulling your record for a review. Sounds to me like you're ready for a reduction in rating. You are handling the outside world really well....much better in fact, than most Veterans I know with PTSD.
Then again... if I sued McDonald's for $40 million and they settled out of court .... I probably wouldn't be too concerned with money either. http://www.newser.com/story/80051/ap-scribe-debunks-huffpo-bloggers-war-tale.html
Until the next time .....