Guest Editorial: American Legion Commander endorses the veterans' levy out of first-hand experience

Sunday, July 31, 2011

By Thomas F. Drapac

Thomas F. Drapac is the Commander of the Starr Sutherland Jr. Post No. 227 of the American Legion, Department of Washington, located in Shoreline. He was instrumental in bringing the veterans in Shoreline together to support the new Veteran's Day observance in Shoreline.

In my opinion, the King County Veterans and Human Services Levy is one of the most successful, local, publicly funded assistance programs in the country.

This levy was of personal assistance to me in 2005-2006 and I can attest that it works.

As a Navy Vietnam (1965-69) era veteran I didn’t think anything was wrong with drinking a case of beer or more every day. I went through wives and jobs like water running over a dam. It took nearly four decades of abuse for me to hit bottom.

In 2004-2005 my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems totally took over my life. To say my brain went into the “land of stupid” would be an understatement. I lost my businesses, wife, cars and property.

I discovered leather isn’t rain proof.

With the help of our VA folks and the Salvation Army William Booth Center transitional housing (supported partially by the King County levy), I am now a reliable citizen. And I try to help other veterans in need by my activity in veteran’s service organizations.

What we have in this King County veterans levy is tax dollars that are going to proven programs that work. 

Do I still have problem with this “PTSD” stuff … yes. But my coping skills are better and I’ve learned that booze and drugs aren’t the answer. Thank you for your support is what I have to say to my King County friends and fellow veterans.


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