Homeless veteran seeks help from VA - CBS46 News

Homeless veteran seeks help from VA

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

No one should have to live like this.

“This is the big sleeping bag that I put over the small one,” Pamela Parker said.

This car is Parker’s home. An Atlanta native, she grew up in a loving family. Her life unraveled when she turned down a full scholarship to college and joined the Marines to follow her dream.

“I had plans and aspirations of being a combat photographer in the Marine Corps just because I’d been running around with a camera as a kid,” she said.

At just 18 years old, with blonde hair and blue eyes, her looks were captivating. But nothing prepared her for the never-ending nightmare that began on the male-dominated 1983 Cherry Point base in North Carolina.

On a dark night, Parker was lead off base by so-called friends and her life was shattered.

“That is where the rape took place,” she said.

But no one believed her.

“To have put in all the work, do everything I was told to do and to be met up with all of that, it was difficult,” she said.

With no one to turn to, Parker faked a suicide attempt just so she could see a military psychiatrist. When the therapy didn’t help, she asked to leave the service. She was honorably discharged.

But her battle only got worse. Married at the time, she miscarried her pregnancy from the rape but got pregnant again with her husband. Shortly after their marriage fell apart.

“I had driven to the VA to try to get help, and they said you have no benefits we can’t help you, and I had this baby and I’m thinking, but this is when things fell apart for me,” she said. “This is where my life fell apart for me, this is where my life fell apart and they were like ‘Well, you don’t have benefits so we cannot help you.’”

With no help adjusting to civilian life and living with her PTSD, Parker lost custody of her daughter. She couldn’t keep a job and started using drugs to cope.

After more than 30 years of broken promises, Parker met Jim Lindenmayer of the American Legion, who wanted to help.

“The fact that the issue she has was aggravated in the service should have qualified her benefits,” Lindenmayer said.

We called the VA and received this message:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works diligently to ensure all Veterans, family members and survivors receive the benefits to which they are entitled to under the law. Due to privacy restrictions, we cannot discuss a specific Veteran’s case without their written consent. We will review the Veteran’s concerns and take any necessary actions regarding the compensation benefits they have earned.

Parker and CBS46 are working with the VA to fill out a patient disclosure form that would allow the department to answer more of our questions. 

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