May… the Busiest Month of the Year?

May… the Busiest Month of the Year?

By Richard Reignier

VA Medical Center — St. Cloud, MN

I think that May is probably the busiest month of the year. Consider these things:

  •  The mothers are thinking about and looking forward to Mother’s Day.
  •  The fathers are thinking about the fishing opener.
  •  The tomato and flower plants are on the porch or in the garage.
  •  There are graduation and confirmation parties to attend.
  •  There are also birthday parties and many weddings.
  •  Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer.
  •  Grandmas and grandpas look forward to these times when families get together.
  •  We go to these affairs because we want the joy of seeing friends and relatives again.
  •  Bill Gather wrote a song that begins like this, “Precious memories how they linger, how they ever touch my soul.”
  •  The blessings of God upon these activities make them times to remember.

In the Old Testament during one of David’s down times, we read in I Samuel 30:6, “David strengthened himself in the Lord, his God.”

As we begin a new year, we need to figure out how we can strengthen, encourage and refresh ourselves in the Lord. When we are discouraged

what can we do? First, we can remember what God has done for us. List the ways he has cared for you in the past. My guess is that the list will

be rather long. Include answers to prayer. Second, remember what God has promised. Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage…for the

Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This new year, let’s learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and then let’s leave the rest with Him.

Just Thoughts

Just Thoughts

 By Charles Bartle

 VA Medical Center — Orlando, FL


Watching people teaches me a lot. When you look at people, you can tell if they have cares on their minds. People have many things that worry them I figure if

it is going to happen, it will just happen. When you’re worried, you need to read the 14th Chapter of John in the Bible.

” Some of the smartest people never went to college.”

Education is great, but life is more than schooling. People need the wisdom that comes from common sense, mother wit.

When you talk to people, think before you speak. Would what you are about to say hurt you? If so, rethink what you are going to say. Be kind and thoughtful. How

you say the words is also important.   Why did we need to be the first country to reach the moon? We can’t get along here on earth. Why would we be able to get along better on the moon?

Do you have a problem? If so, you have to get to the  root of the problem and get it out, like pulling up a tree trunk. If you don’t, it will spring up somewhere else.    How do you know what you are doing is right? You have to first get right with God. God will show you the right thing to do.

At funerals, why do preachers preach about the dead? Whatever you say about the dead makes no difference to them now. Preach to the living; it may be the only time they hear about God.

The hardest thing in life to say is, “I have done wrong.”

These are just my thoughts.


Writing Aide: Wendy Churchville


I’m From Kansas

I’m From Kansas

 By Michael L. Daniel

VA Medical Center — Kansas City, MO


I was raised in Leavenworth, Kan., but I was living in Columbus, Ga. One spring, a friend and I went to Ft. Benning in observance of Armed Forces Day. It just happened that I had on a large Stetson. One of the vendors noticed it and yelled “Hey dude! Where you from? Texas?”

“Naw,” I said, “I’m from Kansas.”

Then, the vendor said,” “Oh, I know somebody from Kansas; maybe you might know her. Her name is Dorothy.”

I thought of all the Dorothys’ I knew. “Was it this one or that one?” I asked myself.

“Naw.” The vendor said, “She had a little dog.” So now I thought of all the Dorothys

with dogs, still to no avail. “Her dog’s name was Toto,” added the vendor.

H-m-m-m-m: Dorothy, Toto.

“A-w-w-w-w-h.” I finally got the joke.

By now a crowd had gathered. They all had a good laugh, as did I. The vendor gave me free beer the rest of the day.


Writing Aide/Typist: Karen M. Iverson

Hooray, Veterans’ Voices Magazines

Hooray, Veterans’ Voices Magazines

VA Medical Center – Richmond, VA

By Michael Harrod

”Hooray” is the closest spelling I can come to for ”Ooh-rah” in the English dictionary. The term ”Ooh-rah” is not even listed in this dictionary I have on my shelf, so I apologize: I don’t know how to spell the word. Obviously, as I write this article, a Marine is not handy to assist me with my spelling. I know ”Hooray,” an expression of joy, is not what the Marines had in mind when they invented the word ”Ooh-rah,” but it’s close enough to ”affirmative” or ”you got that right” for the purposes of this article.

What I mean to say is: ”good going” Veterans’ Voices magazine. This magazine has been a great help to me personally and to others as well. Writing for the magazine helped me work through my problems. Many a night I have awakened between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. with the problems of my world sitting squarely on my shoulders. I would think of suicide for a few minutes, and then, I would turn to my word processor or my computer and work on a story for Veterans’ Voices. If I wasn’t sure what to write about, I would read from Veterans’ Voices until an idea hit me. If I drew a blank for a story or article idea, I would instead work on ideas for raising money for the magazine. When people talk about writing as a therapeutic outlet for the mind, I think back to those many nights of darkness and despair that I went through. I wonder what would have happened if it weren’t for the magazine and the creative outlet it offered me during the middle of those horrible nights. I think about the guys coming back from war these days and the problems they must have on their minds and in their guts. Why is the suicide rate so high for our returning military these days? Thoughts of suicide or just thinking a suicidal thought is nothing for the living to be ashamed of, and the dead don’t feel guilty. Maybe the solution is to write about those feeling instead of acting on them in a shameful way. After all, one of the purposes of this magazine is to give a veterans a voice, don’t you think?

I wish for a time when Veterans’ Voices will go out to many more veterans to let them know we are thinking of them. If the magazine could afford to publish more magazines, maybe the returning veterans could know that we are interested in their stories. Support Veterans’ Voices magazine by spreading the word and encouraging others to subscribe today, or think of a way to look for new donors that can help support the magazine’s efforts.

My Healthe Vet

My HealtheVet

By Susanne Marie Colvin

VA Medical Center — Boise, ID


My HealtheVet is the VAMC program I value most, and I’ve been a VA patient since November 1967.    The Secure Messaging feature is the one place I turn to again and again.

Dr. Michael J. Kilfoyle of the Silver Team at the Boise VA Department of Veterans Affairs has made me a believer in the service. He is one in a million and responds quickly to my needs. I can tell him anything, even when I get upset with a private sector specialist and do a stupid thing like going off all my medications at once.

Dr. Kilfoyle listens to my concerns and tells me that he is sorry to see me in such distress and then gives me a little pep talk about not cutting my nose off to spite my face.  I don’t know about the costs of administering the My HealtheVet program. I hope it saves money because it’s an efficient way for patients to quickly address health concerns. Physician appointments can be difficult to schedule and sometimes they have to be set for months down the road.

My HealtheVet gives quick access and probably cuts down on emergency room visits. I recommend giving it a try! ■


Editor’s Note: My Healthe Vet is the VA’s e-health web site, which offers veterans, active duty soldiers, their dependents and caregivers internet access to VA healthcare information and services. Registering and using my HealtheVet is free. Visit your local VAMC web site or go to to learn more.