To the Editor:

Hello, my name is Steve and I wanted to share an experience that happened to my father, retired Sgt. 1st Class James Wilkins, recently. This experience goes against a lot of the hits that the VA system has been receiving over the past few years.

Let me share at this point that he recently turned 100 and a reporter from the Killeen Daily Herald, John Clark, came out to visit and talk to him. He ended up doing an article about his 100 years and his military service. My father was delighted that someone took the time to visit and then write about his life. Well this new experience took place at the Temple VA on March 29. I drove him to the Temple VA for a routine primary care appointment. They checked him over and gave him a clean bill of health. Well, for a 100-year-old, anyway.

As we were released to leave the nurses, as usual, walked with us as I pushed him through the hall to the check out/reschedule desk. At the end of the hall is a right turn. As we rounded the corner, there were probably 30 employees dressed in a multitude of different colored scrubs and they were all applauding him and giving him a standing ovation.

I heard one say “Last week we had a 98-year-old veteran here and he didn’t get a standing “O”. My dad just kept saying, “Is this all for me? Is this all for me?” I tell you this was an overwhelmingly emotional event. Not only for my father, but for me also.

Every time I stop and think about it or tell others about it, I still feel a bit emotional. It was something so simple to do, but it ended up being much much more. Our hats are off and our hearts go out to the Maroon, Green, Gold sections, and anyone else I may have not known about who was there at that time. It is just sometimes hard to believe how something so simple can touch a heart and mean so much.

With the greatest respect to all who work so hard to take care of our country’s veterans,

Thank you all.

James Wilkins and son


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