Thursday, February 05, 2009

Oklahoma VVAW Report on Iraq vet Daniel Sandate: GI Rights campaign continues...

Report, Daniel Sandate, Jan.23-26, 2009
Jan. 23 I attended a pot luck at the Joy Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City, and met Daniel Sandate. He's a veteran of 1 12-month infantry tour in Iraq (2004-2005) who (to make it very short) months later deserted to Canada, came back and was court-martialed and is on Appellate Review status right now. Daniel is being represented by attorney Jim Brannan, who is involved in GI rights and resistance. He is a friend of my and VVAW's old friend Louis Font, who represented Camillo Mejia. So a connection was made among all of us.
Daniel and I hung out together for several days, at my place in North Oklahoma City. The last day, he might have hung out longer but we were beginning to get one of our fabled ice storms. Oklahoma is known as Tornado Alley, of course, but we'll also match you ice storm for ice storm wherever you are, lol. He got a chance to use our computer and do some job search, and some other writing. Me and my accountant-roommate Mary Baranski fed him re-eal good, though he acknowledges that he's a big ol' boy and doesn't really need it...
Daniel is bright, coherent, hopeful. But he has deep PTSD issues. I immediately put him in touch with Ray Parrish, who as always cut to the chase and defined Daniel's path to a setting straight of his military discharge, and obtaining some disability rating from the VA. Ray and Jim Brannan are in touch about this quite charming and articulate young man, who in my opinion will take full advantage of the opportunity to set a complex of bad times and bad decisions behind him.

It was the first time I have worked with the Mennonite Church, though their coordinator, Sadie (Derned-if-I-can-remember), has known I was a willing provider of space/safe house for years. I am honored to have sat down to pot luck (I brought collards and ham hocks) with these men and women whose spirit-- I may say, Christian spirit-- behind helping Daniel and those like him is formidable! The dinner turned out $167 for Daniel's immediate needs also.

We went out to the Blues Saloon Sunday night the 25th, and I introduced him to the scene. Daniel's from Jacksonville, Florida, and he thinks Oklahoma City girls are cute. Go figger...


Bill Homan
VVAW Life Member and
Contact, Oklahoma