He worked his way up to Captain. He started a family, and he took good care of them. He was funny; he could cook; he loved to sing with them.
But he had an illness, one that had progressed unseen until a doctor diagnosed him and told him it was probably related to his military service. He spent years trying to prove to the VA as much. But because this illness was NOT one the VA presumed was related to Agent Orange, the VA denied him — again and again.
His illness finally overcame him. He was only 54 years old. And he was still fighting for benefits. Mr. Davis’ story represents the nightmare for many veterans who must wait years while the VA delays and delays, and while their own conditions worsen.
In Mr. Davis’ case, however, the VA could not defeat him entirely.
I met his family after his widow had applied for dependency and indemnity (“DIC”) benefits from the VA. These are payments the VA will make to a veteran’s survivors if they can show the veteran died because of injury or disease that resulted from military service. Unfortunately for Ms. Davis, the VA also denied her for the same reason they had denied Mr. Davis — they refused to believe he acquired his illness in the service.
We took her case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, and won. We then ultimately proved to the VA’s satisfaction what had been the truth all along: Mr. Davis died because of what happened to him in the Air Force.
It’s a tragedy that Mr. Davis’ claim was not recognized in his lifetime, and that his wife had to wait more than five years to win. But they persevered. I trust that Mr. Davis would be proud of his family, and happy that his wife will receive the compensation he did not.
Their family asked me to share this nice note that I believe captures the spirit of Mr. Davis. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, contact me. I might be able to help you.