Garry Armacost, was wounded fighting for his country in Vietnam. Now he’s in the fight of his life, against cancer and the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Garry is a big, cheerful, quiet 75-year-old who lives in San Diego. He needs cancer surgery for his survival. The surgery is complicated, long, done robotically, and requires sophisticated post-operative care.

Garry has had bad experience with post-operative care at the VA, which proved nearly fatal in 2012. Fortunately, Garry’s son, Chris, is a doctor, and arranged for the head of urology at Sharp Memorial to do the surgery.

But the VA has refused the transfer because they don’t want to cover the cost.

“What price do they put on Garry’s life? Apparently not much,” Garry’s wife, Linda, writes in a Facebook post. “We have called, argued, pleaded, tried to talk with the Director, to no avail. We’re wondering if these will be our last days together. It didn’t need to come to this.”

Garry was wounded in Vietnam, and earned a purple heart. He came home, raised a family, and worked a long career for various railroads in the Northeast. He is now retired and lives with his wife, Linda, in San Diego. Linda is active in local Democratic Party politics, which is where I met her.

Please help Garry and his family. If you have any ideas on who to contact and otherwise how to influence the VA to give him the treatment he needs, let me know and I’ll pass the word. You can contact me directly at

If you work for the VA or know someone who does, please put in a word to get Garry’s transfer approved. Contact your Congressional representative and apply pressure.

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The VA needs to be held accountable to provide care, not just for Garry, but for every veteran. They were there when we needed them – now we need to be there for them, when they need us.

“It may not work for me," says Garry, “but hopefully another vet will have a better outcome.”