Bartenders Can Serve Combat Veterans Several Ways

Thanks to my cousin Lizzy Miles for pointing out this story from the LA Times.

Dori Keys, a bartender at VFW Post 1503 in Virginia, is a sister, confessor, wisecracker and friend to the combat veterans who are her patrons, among them Bruce Yeager, left. (Mary F. Calvert / For The Times / June 3, 2011)

By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Dale City, Va.— The minute one of her regulars comes through the canteen door at VFW Post 1503, Dori Keys starts to pour. Captain Morgan and Diet Coke for Rich. Old Crow on the rocks for Sam. Bruce likes Miller Lite.

The men she serves have one thing in common: They are American combat veterans. After seven years of listening from behind the bar, she knows a lot more about some of them than what they drink.

Men like Bruce Yeager, 62, who came in one day complaining about a sore on his foot that wouldn’t heal. A former Army medic in Vietnam, he knew what was wrong. But it took Keys to persuade him to see a doctor. She even drove him. When they amputated his gangrenous leg a few weeks later — the result of diabetes linked to his exposure to Agent Orange — he couldn’t very well stay alone in his own home, so she brought him to hers.

“I listened to Dori because she is a real good person,” Yeager says, nursing the beer she just poured him. That’s about all he can put into words before his eyes mist up.

When it comes to dispensing healthcare, war veterans are a hard group to reach. They came up in a military system that rewards toughness and discourages complaints, particularly concerning psychological problems. Combat veterans are at well-established risk for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; the suicide rate among them runs higher than in the civilian world.

You can read the full article here.

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