This story is about a Navy SeaBee who fought in Desert Storm, saw his fair share of action, and who suffered many mysterious ailments in the following years. And never recovered.
Roy Holt died in 2009 from a heart attack while burning a field behind his home in Missouri. When his widow went to the VA and asked for DIC, or survivor benefits, the regional office denied her. The Regional Office held that even though he was 100-percent service-connected in his lifetime, none of his ailments, which included PTSD, caused his death.
Roy Holt’s photograph of burning oil wells.
A recent government-funded study of the effect of PTSD on the body determined what I think many veterans who have PTSD already know: PTSD is hard on the heart. Mr. Holt had severe PTSD, coupled with other mysterious, seizures that started shortly after his return from Desert Storm. His health progressively got worse. His wife described her husband’s diminishing ability to do the things he loved to do. And his increasing worrying and withdrawal. He had been religiously attending PTSD therapy sessions in the months prior to his death. He had gone out to the field, she believed, to conduct a controlled burn. Probably to try to take his mind off his worrying. We convinced the Board of Veterans Appeals that his PTSD contributed to the heart attack that killed him. And now Ms. Holt has a little less to worry about.
But she still misses her husband, and remembers him the way he was before he came back from Desert Storm.
If any SeaBee’s out there remember Roy Holt, please feel free to drop me a line at www.veteranappeals.com. I am helping another SeaBee with a claim dating from his service in Desert Storm.