Eva Marie and Jospeh Briseno are utterly devoted to their son Jay. For the past seven years, they’ve cared for the man whose active life ended with a sniper shot to his spinal cord. The Reservist was just 20 when he answered the call to duty; three months later, he was paralyzed from the neck down.
Doctors say he’s the most critically injured soldier to survive. The family converted their living room into an ICU. Jay is fully conscious, but unable to speak. He communicates with his parents through blinks. Eva is so consumed with caring for Jay, she wouldn’t even leave his bedside for a phone call to congratulate her for making the top 5 finalists for our Military Motherhood Award.
The Brisenos got more good news last week. Both the House and the Senate unanimously passed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.
The bill provides for a range of programs and aid to families caring for injured vets, including payment for modifications made to the home to accommodate the wounded service member, eliminating co-pays for the catastrophically injured and other forms of support for caregivers. It also paves the way for studies on suicide, TBI, female veterans, loans to pay for health care education and more.
Once the troops have withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, once the wars are declared over, once the sacrifices of our wounded warriors fade from the popular conscience, Eva and Joseph will still be by Jay’s side. They’ll keep turning him throughout the day to prevent bedsores, they’ll keep watch over the tangle of machines that keep him alive, and they’ll continue to pray for one more day with their beloved son.
They need and deserve help to get through each day; this bill will supply at least a little. It’s an encouraging start to creating a stronger structure for the long-term care of wounded warriors.