Video by Vicky Ray

You’ve read the headlines about U.S. veterans coming home from war with traumatic brain injuries; but, rarely will you get an inside view of thestruggle that is driving them to self-destruct. In my son Chad Snowden’s case, his brain injury was not from the effect of an explosion, but from a direct hit to the brain by today’s high-powered bullets.  Chad joined the Army because he dreamed of fighting for freedom and serving his country. But after all the terror, the blood and gore, the bombs and a bullet that took 30-percent of the frontal lobe of his brain, he returned to the States only to discover that his country was not eager to serve him, to give him proper rehabilitation for his brain injury. In fact, what Chad went through is beyond what any combat veteran should have to face after returning from war.  Being condemned to a mental ward by the very system created to provide the best healthcare for all Veterans of war.

This story is not just about how a program designed to support and take care of our combat Veterans nearly destroyed Chad’s life, it is about a mothers fight to save her son from the cruel hands of a healthcare  and judicial system that stamped him as a mental patient because he never received the proper rehab specific to his type of brain injury.  He was labeled a threat to society after serving his  country, and his mom risked not only her own mental health but her marriage to save his life. Does someone  need to die in order to get laws changed?   If  Chad would have died in jail or in the mental ward which he was condemned to in West Texas the headline would read… Could we have done more to save the life of a combat Veteran?  Is this what it takes in order to get the truth of mental cruelty and disregard to our countries combat Veterans out in the news?  Out of sight , out of mind. This is why we have so many military families broken across America.  Is there a reason why the truth is not being told? Retribution, and it is a real problem. It happened to us. You see, I couldn’t give up nor could I sleep at night.  How could I rest in a comfortable bed knowing my son has survived a bullet to the head, surviving flying across several countries , only to come home to his own Country and be treated like his life and sacrifice for our freedoms meant nothing.  Why would my sons  team of professionals not be questioned for making decisions in his healthcare that effected him negatively, mentally, and physically.  Why would this same team of VA Professionals go behind the mothers back , after she was legally appointed  guardian of her son , was found competent by the courts to take care of her son, and try to not involve her in making decisions for her own son.  Why was Chad held against his will and made to go to a rehab in Texas when he stated he wanted to go to the Eisenhower Center to receive rehab.  Why were those in charge of Chad to stabilize him playing mind games with a Severely Brain Injured Veteran?  How can anyone who has all their faculties not see that all this lack of appropriate rehabilitation and manipulation, effected Chad in a horrific way?  It did.By the grace of God almighty, my son has survived these years of mistakes and he has made it to the Proper behavior modification program, The Eisenhower Center.  Thanks to the team of professionals there, Chad is making progress. If It weren’t for the fact that they gave him a partial grant and with the help financially from the Independence Fund, my son would have been made to leave the very place that is changing his life for the better.

Every day that goes by Chad is learning and improving and every week that goes by is proof that fighting for his life was worth the agony, grief and pain .  But what pain I felt  will never compare to the suffering my son has had to endure under the very Government system who states to this very day that they will not pay for Chad’s rehab. In fact isn’t it all over the news how the VA is expanding efforts making sure our American Veterans are getting the best care our country can provide?  Just as our leader, Mr. O promised  at his state of the union speech just the other night, having a brain injured war hero beside him to show our nation that he cares and said our system will provide the best care that is needed  to get them back to a quality of life, because they deserve it.   Shouldn’t we as a nation hold these Government and VA officials accountable to do the right thing under the laws and regulations set forth to protect our Veterans?  I am asking as a mother of a Severely Brain Injured Veteran to help me. Please dont allow what happened to my son happen to another war hero who has suffered severe wounds fighting for freedom while overseas during war time , to come home only to suffer under a broken VA healthcare system.