VA controversy hits local veteran - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

VA controversy hits local veteran

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Most of what Army veteran Nolan Lucas has is packed in the back of his truck, a truck that now doubles as a home.

"I want to be able to live, I want to live pain free, I want to have gainful employment but because of the VA, once again I can't have that right now," Lucas explains.

Lucas injured his shoulder while serving the army in 1976. A year later he had surgery and life went on but he says for the past 25 years, the pain came back little by little and has gotten worse. Its' now so bad he had to leave his job at a local steel mill, his next stop was at the VA clinic back in March.

"The appointments kept getting pushed back and pushed back and pushed back," Lucas says.

A patient advocate helped Lucas see a specialist outside the VA clinic who determined he needed surgery. "I was also told they don't know how long that's going to be," he says. "I mean its been one thing after another."

Lucas is just one of a growing number of veterans speaking out after Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid controversy over patient care. The local VA clinic would not comment, a spokesperson citing privacy law. Channel 3 did confirm they are aware of Lucas' situation and are looking into it.

"I'm extremely disappointed at the system and how it worked," Lucas says.

In April, during his State of the City Address, Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke announced his initiative to end chronic veteran homelessness in the Scenic City. Earlier this month that task force met for the first time. Meanwhile, Lucas is no closer to finding a home of his own.  

"What I don't understand is why this country sends billions of dollars to the other countries and these people use this money to terrorize us, to build bombs to kill Americans or our other allies but they don't have the funds to help veterans like myself," Lucas says.
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