Friday May 17, 2013

I am so deeply sorry for the loss to the Passetto family. We in the Marine community feel the loss in a manner that is difficult to explain.

Edward Passetto left our ranks, and if only there was some way we could have prevented it. Many have walked a mile in his shoes with the same results of frustration and anguish. Sgt. Passetto did not have to perish with this feeling of hopelessness. He leaves an empty spot in every Marine’s heart.

Our government is only as good as the initial steps taken by the veteran. There is more help now than in any time in history. The help is often missed because of faulty paperwork, bureaucratic bungling or faulty diagnosis. Even if everything is done perfectly the bean counters, and the second-guessers, only reject applications for help and start the lengthy appeal processes.

What can we do? We can ensure that everyone in the veteran process is qualified. We can ensure that the prerequisites for help are followed and documented starting with the initial contact. We can ensure that follow-up on veteran status is taken and remedied for people hanging by a shoe string of flimsy hope. What were the results of their last contact and are they advised of the advocacy groups available? Our veterans’ services need scrutiny. Our military organizational groups are still active and available. They do a great job, like they have always done, but they do need to have the opportunity to bond with the veteran. Our goal is to ensure that a veteran does not give up hope, or is left behind.

We do not need parades, banners or political speeches. We need recognition for a job well done, help where the veteran is having difficulty, and mostly, understanding when problems are apparent. Our reward is freedom.

God bless and Semper Fi, Sgt. Passetto.

PETER RISATTI

Tyringham

The letter was also signed by Lois W. Robesch Jr. of Pittsfield.