Indiana veteran defends Indianapolis VA hospital
The FBI is now investigating the Department of Veteran Affairs after excessive wait times and inappropriate schedule practices were discovered at VA hospitals.
But as the VA continues to come under fire, there's an Indiana veteran who is taking a stand in support of the VA hospital in Indianapolis.
"This is my humble home. I call it a hunter's cabin," said Pete Cramer, a 79-year-old Army veteran, walking through his modest two-room structure just outside Rensselaer.
The home has just enough room for him to live and display some of his prized possessions.
"This is my military service from 1957-59," he said, pointing to an honorable discharge certificate.
He was drafted in between the Korean and the Vietnam wars, and was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas the same time the King of Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley, was there.
"And they had a guard posted at each end of the barracks to keep the girls out," Cramer said.
Long since retired from military service, he now finds himself defending an institution under fire.
"The doctors, the nurses, the staff. Everybody. They've just been kind and wonderful," he said of the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.
He knows what he's talking about.
"I've had open heart surgery, five bypasses, I've had colon cancer surgery - 17 inches of my colon taken out," he said.
Not to mention a cornea replacement and hearing aids. He's made the 100-mile trip from his home to Indy dozens of times over the past 25 years.
"They don't ask you when you leave, 'How you gonna pay?' or 'How you want to handle this?' They don't ask you, they take care of you," Cramer said.
He has not experienced the excessive wait times new patients encounter at the VA in Indianapolis and around the country. He wants the problems ironed out and the hospitals properly funded.
"Mr. President, please, please help them," he pleaded.
Because while he's enjoying retirement, Cramer wants younger veterans to get the same kind of medical care he's received.
"They saved my life. They saved my life," he said.
Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that would make it easier for veterans that have endured long waits at VA hospitals to get help from local doctors. The House of Representatives approved a similar bill on Tuesday.