A decorated Vietnam veteran who has been suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder for decades was insulted by the agency charged with taking care of veterans.
Retired Lance Corporal Gabriel Florido had been waiting for Veterans Affairs to send his medication. After about a year, he never received the medication and decided to find out what was taking so long.
He eventually found out that he never received his medication because someone at the agency changed his address to “Coo-Coo Lane.”
In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Florido said he felt humiliated when he received the package with the address on it.
“I don’t understand it. I’m hurt, depressed,” said Florido. “I don’t know how long I was a joke for them.”
Mr. Florido believes the fake address was a jab at his mental health issues. He has repeatedly contacted the VA officials in an attempt to get to the bottom of the issue, but no one has been able to explain or even apologize for what happened.
The VA finally responded when reporters made inquiries about the story. Officials said the mistake occurred at the Central Iowa VA Health Care System while a new employee was being trained to use the agency’s database.
Speaking about the situation, Kristi Catrenich, a spokeswoman for the Central Iowa VA, said, “It was very unfortunate.” She maintained that the phony address wasn’t intentional or malicious.
Mr. Florido, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, joined the Marines in February 1969. He enlisted just a few weeks after his 18th birthday, even though he knew he would quickly get sent to combat in Vietnam.
In an interview with Live Well Nebraska, Mr. Florido said he enlisted because he wanted to do his part. After serving his country, Mr. Florio was honorably discharged in July 1970, and he returned home with a Purple Heart, a combat action ribbon, and a South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Since his return from Vietnam, Mr. Florido has struggled with physical and mental health problems.
He had been receiving his medicine by mail from the Omaha VA hospital at his proper address for years before the “Coo-Coo Lane” incident.
Mr. Florido was so upset about the address change that he stopped going to the VA in Omaha and now visits the Bellevue clinic instead. He has stated that he has no plans to go back there.