Senator Jim Tedisco presents the NYS Senate Proclamation to Vietnam War veteran Roger Lefco, who has successfully advocated for a federal VA policy change to help veterans with PTSD
Senator Jim Tedisco (R, C-Glenville) today presented a proclamation from the New York State Senate to U.S. Army Vietnam War Veteran Roger Lefco of Malta who has been a strong and effective voice for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since joining our military.
First assigned to a highly ranked army security unit with the highest security clearance outside the Pentagon, Mr. Lefco was stationed in Okinawa, but volunteered to travel to Vietnam instead. than accepting a transfer to England.
While serving in Vietnam, he transported ammunition and gasoline on extremely dangerous convoy missions. In 1965, he made 65 mile trips to and from Phu Bai and Da Nang, which took a day each way due to enemy threats and bombed bridges.
Roger suffered hearing problems from the mortar explosion and was exposed to Agent Orange. He also had a gun pointed directly at his head while deployed, one of Mr. Lefco’s PTSD stressors from a mission from Da Nang to Phu Bai.
Back home, Roger worked for several years with the New York Telephone Company in Albany.
Thanks to Roger’s dedicated and exceptional advocacy, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) changed its guidelines for applying for PTSD benefits in 2010, no longer requiring veterans to prove a specific stressor. linked to a hostile military act eithercause of their disease. This was a major victory for veterans, as it was difficult, especially for those who served decades ago, to obtain vital mental health coverage for the treatment of PTSD. Thanks to Roger, under the new rules, service members can receive benefits if a doctor VA diagnostics them with PTSD and veterans symptoms are linked to the claimed stressor.
“As I said before, the Vietnam War was not a people’s conflict at the time and those who served did not have the parades, thanks and appreciation they deserved. We can. disagree on the merits and politics of a given military strategy and commitment. but we should always agree that those who serve deserve our love, respect and gratitude. Sincere appreciation for the service of all who serve fought in Vietnam is long overdue. Thank you Roger Lefco and God bless the sacrifice and service of the 2.7 million Americans who served in Vietnam! ” said Senator Jim Tedisco.