Glasgow Courier: Sen. Daines: Honoring Montana’s Veterans

On July 17, 2012, while on patrol with his team in Afghanistan, Bo Reichenbach of Lockwood, who is now a retired Navy SEAL from Team Two, stepped on a 20-pound IED buried in a field. He lost both legs above the knee leaving him a double amputee.

The loss of his legs did not stop Bo or slow his determination to excel in life, proven by the fact that he is currently the goalie for the US National Sled Team and will be going to South Korea in 2018 to play hockey for the U.S. in the Paralympics.

Bo also coaches his son Landon’s baseball and hockey teams. In 2014, Bo even conquered Mount Kilimanjaro. Another challenge Bo faced, was that he lives in Lockwood and needed to be at the Denver VA for monthly treatments, traveling over 1000 miles for each appointment.

Bo’s wife must accompany him and drive him to appointments around Denver. Not only was this a disruption to his family each month, but the cost to the VA was enormous.

After much strife, Bo was able to get his running joints so he could continue pursuing his dreams and goals, and we were able to get his prosthetics appointments to a non-VA provider in Billings, eliminating the monthly trips to the Denver VA.

A hero like Bo, who has sacrificed so much for our country, should receive the care he needs and deserves. And that’s what Veterans Day is all about – ensuring that those who fought for us receive what was promised to them by our government.

Change needs to happen in the VA – just ask Bo, or any veteran that’s had their credit score impacted by the failure to get their medical bills reimbursed in time.

And we need to ensure that all veterans are able to access care, when they need it. And that’s why the appointment of a new VA Montana Director is welcome news for Montana’s veterans. I look forward to working with Dr. Kathy Berger in making significant improvements for Montana veterans.

The best way that we, as a nation, can thank our military men and women is to ensure that they receive the care and support they need well after their service to the country has ended.

Today, we honor veterans like Bo who have served and are currently serving, as well as mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, siblings, friends and so many others who lend America their loved ones to protect ours.

This Veterans Day as we celebrate and thank our veterans, I would like to take a moment to recognize three nationally known Montana veterans we lost this year. The contributions, service and sacrifice given to us by these humble heroes will never be forgotten: Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, David Jonathan Thatcher and Benjamin Charles Steele.

The Montana military community is a strong and powerful family and together we will preserve that tradition for generations to come. Thank you to our veterans.

Steve Daines is the junior United States Senator from Montana.