Bureaucrats to WWII vet: ‘You can’t go home again’

When you’re 99 years old, a veteran Marine, and you paid your dues to this country, shouldn’t you be allowed to go “home” in your final days?

George Vandersluis, a resident of the Veterans Administration home in Minneapolis, spent much of his life in California, raising a family. He had moved from his native Minnesota at a young age.

But, KARE 11 reports, the VA won’t allow him to move back to a similar facility in California until he’s lived in that state for six months.

“As far as I’m concerned, he has had excellent care here and in Hastings. It’s just that now we want to get him back home, the VA system won’t accept him,” his daughter-in-law, Roxanne Schatzlein Vandersluis, told the station.

He settled at the VA in Minnesota because at the time his sister lived here. But she died at age 101 not long ago. His closest family now is back in California.

Paul Sullivan, a spokesperson for the California Department of Veteran Affairs, sent KARE a statement showing absolutely no appreciation for a guy who survived Pearl Harbor and fought on Iwo Jima.

“California salutes George Vandersluis and his honorable service to our nation during the opening hours of World War II. State law requires our Veterans to be California residents prior to admittance into one of our Homes. CalVet is comforted in knowing George is getting the outstanding care and support he needs at the Minneapolis Veterans Home.”

Well, as long as the bureaucrats in California are comforted, what’s the big deal?

His daughter-in-law tells the Hastings Star Gazette, which first reported the story, that time is critical.

Last fall, Vandersluis’ sister died just before her 101st birthday. Her death has been hard on him, and his medical situation got worse about two months ago. He had a blood clot that went into his eye, leaving him blind on his left side. Just a few weeks ago, he fractured his leg.

Two weeks ago, Vandersluis moved into the veteran’s home in Minneapolis, where he can get the level of care he needs. He’s been appreciative of the care he’s getting, but his quality of life isn’t the same. The changes have had a noticeable effect.

“He talks to my husband almost every day … and he can tell the change in him,” Roxanne said.

“It feels like he’s lost everything,” she added.

The family is asking the governors of the two states to use some common sense and help the guy get back home.