If you're looking for someone who fits the definition of warrior, then Lauren Price would be a worthy choice.
A convoy driver who suffered crushed bones in both hands while serving in Iraq, she has been diagnosed with post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But even more seriously, the wife of a disabled Navy veteran has a terminal disease she acquired in Iraq known as Constrictive Bronchitis. At best, she has two years to live.
The fatal diagnosis has not deterred Lauren from carrying out her personal mission to force Washington to develop a simple plan to restructure and overhaul the Veterans Administration, the second largest department in our government. A former paralegal in civilian life, she and a small group of military people called The Veteran Warriors, have been investigating and documenting problems plaguing the VA.
Lauren speaks with authority and much experience on this issue. It took the VA four years to settle her claim for her terminal lung disease.
She and her fellow Veteran Warriors say the VA system is still bloated despite government assurances that the backlog of claims has improved. The VA does not say how many claims are still in the long appeals process but Lauren believes the number to be high as 300,000.
Last November, Lauren led a small group of disabled veterans representing Veteran Warriors to Washington and met with 12 legislators and two subcommittees. She plans another trip to appeal for an overhaul of the system.
The mother of a disabled Army veteran and a grandmother, Lauren feels strongly that this fight, likely her last public one, is one worth fighting.
"I have nothing to lose," she said in a recent interview. "I am dying. Might as well make the best of the time I have left."
Veterans are fortunate to have a strong voice like Lauren Price leading the charge against the arrogance and incompetence of Washington bureaucrats.
By Jim Zbick