Veterans lambast Congress for government shutdown - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Veterans lambast Congress for government shutdown

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Southwest Louisiana war veterans have an earful for members of Congress. 

They don't see why the elected officials cannot take care of business and compromise when it comes to important matters affecting so many people.

Veterans in Southwest Louisiana have many concerns and issues to deal with from  personal health issues - to lingering worries about chemical exposure when they served their country.

They don't expect a problem with direct services or payments for now.

"Your pension checks, Army pensions and retirement checks were mailed out, so we good for this month. I don't know about next month, but we good for this month," said Terry Courville, Louisiana President Vietnam Veterans of America.

Some are downright disgusted at the apparent inability or refusal of federal elected officials to do what they were sent to Washington to do.

"I am very disgusted. They are supposed to be the best we have to offer, but they're acting like a bunch of children. Children would act better I think," said Courville.

Lester Guidry, President VVA Chapter 215, agrees.

"They're playing with the lives of a lot of people in the states," said Guidry.

Ronnie Odom, Commander of American Legion Post 1 in Lake Charles, said they seem unwilling to compromise.

"Who are they looking after? Themselves? Their constituents? Don't get over here in a little corner and, if I can't have my way I'll take my ball and go home," said Odom.

At this point, no one seems to know of any benefits to be cut, yet with the shutdown comes uncertainty and with uncertainty comes anxiety.

"When people get to be my age, they have problems. And we expect, if we've served 33 years in the military as I have, that there is some compensation for them," said Odom.

Guidry is convinced if there were more veterans in Congress, they'd know how to get down to business and resolve their difference. He finds the uncertainty unsettling.

"I  am a retired veteran to start with and I have disabilities. So, I did get my disability check and my retirement check today, but  that don't mean I'm going to get it next month," said Guidry.

Odom said those of his generation knew how to find resolution to conflicts.

"No one is willing to give. My side is right, your side is right. But hey, there's always going to be two sides to every story. And the truth comes down the middle someplace," said Odom.

For now, the veterans hope for the best and urge compromise.

SWLA Vietnam veterans are planning a town meeting on Oct. 19 for those exposed to agent orange. It's for veterans and their families. The event is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 at the W.B. Williamson American Legion Post 1 at 1530 9th Street in Lake Charles.

We'll hear from veterans about the town hall meeting on 7News at 6 on Wednesday.

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