ERATH, La. (KLFY) – Adam Lanclos served in the Louisiana National Guard for 8 years before being honorably discharged after a training accident.
Lanclos says he now suffers with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and chronic pain.
“It was a live round, and the two guys in front slipped and I caught it (the missile) because I didn’t want it to hit metal,” Lanclos said.
“So, I let it fall on me and when I got up I was passing blood through my pants and I was throwing up blood.”
Adam returned home and sought treatment but couldn’t get the help he’s entitled to at the VA hospital.
“When I stepped in a VA hospital and I was told I wasn’t a veteran, that’s the biggest slap you could have.”
Unable to figure out why he couldn’t get his benefits after almost a decade of serving his country, Adam was in a dark place and tried to take his own life.
“It got to a point where pain and my mental health was so bad that night I just decided I was going to put an end to it.”
Luckily for Adam, a neighbor found him and rushed him to a hospital which ultimately landed him in a mental institution. But, it was there he met with a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist said, “what do you want?”
“I said I’m losing everything I have, at least let me work. I’m in pain, but at least let me work because social security cut me off. And I worked even though I was in pain so I wouldn’t be homeless.”
Still attempting to get the benefits he earned, it wasn’t until 1999 after meeting with a social security judge, the mistake was found.
“The military messed up, I’m looking at your paperwork and it’s got to be wrong.’
He asked me how long did I serve and I told him; he said, “they’re showing you just served 29 days,” Lanclos said as he recalled the conversation with the judge.
Six years later, in 2005, Adam finally got his benefits, more than 15 years after his discharge.
He’s now working with his congressman to pass legislation.
“I want a law put into effect. If the military messes up this bad someone should be held accountable. I shouldn’t have lost everything I worked for on a clerical mess up.”
Along with former Congressman David Vitter, Congressman Clay Higgins played a role in rectifying Lanclos’ issues. Higgins told me this type of problem affects hundreds, if not thousands of veterans.
“There was a failure of bureaucracies that’s to be sort of expected when you deal with a bureaucracy that huge that has so much insulation between the actual veteran and the veterans family and somebody that can make a decision. There’s too much red tape involved between a veteran and veteran’s services”, Higgins said.
The congressman added they will continue to work on legislation and hopefully get Mr. Lanclos to testify before congress so that no veteran has to fight the same battle.
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