How the Backbone Concept Came to Life,
500 lbs, $128 bill & VA denial.
“2011 I decided to act like I was 18 again, Squatting 500 pounds for old times’ sake” Mike said, Though he hadn’t squatted in years, he was feeling good—until he lowered the weight on his second repetition and heard a sound like the snapping of a dry twig. A horrible, cold sensation shot through his body, and it wasn’t until several hours later, in the emergency room, that his spine cracked again and his senses returned. “I realized I was okay, but I was terrified,” he remembers. “It was my sign from God that my days of loading it up and just doing it in the gym were officially over. He made it clear, so I never look back. I just moved forward and was incredibly thankful I could walk.”
Weeks later, I get a bill for 128.00 bucks from the ER, so I asked the DC, VA to pay the bill, I’m a vet right… should be easy.
“Mike was shocked by the confusing and often arbitrary stipulations that determined the quality of care he could receive and how difficult it was to access that care through the VA system. Expressing this concern to Maria, she challenged, “What are you going to do about it?” Thanks to the example set by his father’s stern commitment to follow-through, and by Maria’s unwavering insistence on the importance of finishing what you start, he knew he had to be sure before committing to action. “I saw the journey ahead of me that would become Operation Backbone, and I thought, Oh God,” he remembers. “It would be a career- and family-altering tour for the rest of my life, but I decided to do it.” With that, Mike quit his job and embarked on a journey to change the way medicine is delivered to wounded soldiers around the world.Politics is cynical and weird. It is often far removed from the finer choices people make every day: to be good parents, do the right thing by their communities, serve their country, sometimes even to disability and death. So when politics intersects with individuals making those choices — as it did with the not-too-distant discussion over the shortcomings of the Veterans Affairs Administration and how well they were, or were not, caring for our veterans — it’s sometimes hard to see the light.
Now almost 8 years in the making, saving hundreds of lives & families, with Drs & medical specialists in almost 50 States and 3 Countries, working with Military Commands all over the world, CEO’s from all walks of life, NHL Owners, Dept of Defense, Members of the US Congress & Senate, actors & the best soldiers, vets & families in the world, & I still haven’t got back my $128 bucks from the VA.