It’s May – National Bike Month and we will be talking to some interesting folks who are “on the road” for extended periods of time.
Dr. Paul Gordon is a professor of family medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona and has thought a lot about health care policy. He chose a cross-country bike tour as his sabbatical project with the goal of “listening” to what people across the country think about the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.
On the “Bike Listening Tour”, his goal is to provide some understanding in a real, on-the-ground way instead of the usual “survey”.
I caught up with Dr. Gordon at the end of his first week on the road and he’s already learned a lot about the subject. As he goes from town to town, he just asks someone who sits down with him their thoughts about the ACA and then records the response after the conversation is over.
Each day, there is a new entry about that day’s narrative in the Bike Listening Tour blog.
Our conversation is quite interesting and enlightening.
In the second half of the show, I meet up with Marine Veteran Michael Priddy and U.S. Army veteran David Allison.
When Michael came home from his last overseas tour, his life began to implode. He ended up angry, depressed, and eventually divorced from his wife and estranged from his three children.
David, who is a retired police officer, found many of his fellow officers were in the same or similar situation as Michael.
Some of the statistics about our veterans and their struggles are both horrifying and heartbreaking.
An estimated 25 percent of those veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has severe side effects including:
• Unemployment: the national average rate for unemployment is 7.3 percent, compared to 10 percent for veterans;
• Homelessness: the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night;
• Divorce: the divorce rate among combat veterans is a startling 80 percent; and
• Suicide: 22 veterans die as a result of suicide every single day and the VA reported its suicide hotline received a record number of calls in April 2015 – more than 400 calls a day.
The Eternity Challenge, a faith based 501 (c) (3) organization based in Northern California, has a relentless enthusiasm to help men and women overcome obstacles so that they ultimately achieve economic and social stability. They come along side those struggling with such difficulties as substance abuse, re-entry from jails or prisons and veterans with PTSD. For more information, please visit www.theeternitychallenge.com
According to David and Michael, of the 1,000 veterans who have gone through the program, there have been no suicides!
It’s another fascinating conversation.