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Mid-Missouri man tells struggle with the VA system

By Heather Hourigan, Reporter, heather.hourigan@kmiz.com
Published On: Jun 05 2014 06:53:45 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2014 09:55:01 AM CDT
MOBERLY, Mo. -

A Moberly man remembers his dad's struggles with the Department of Veterans Affairs system.

Gary Hargis Senior served his country when he was called upon. However, when he called upon the government for service he needed, he was denied.

Hargis Senior served two tours in Vietnam. 

"He was a very very patriotic man. However, at the end of his life he did get very bitter about the way the government and the VA treated him," said Hargis Junior.

In 2011 Hargis Senior was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

"This was a type that is in relation to Agent Orange that the government has recognized," said Hargis Junior.

He was treated at Truman VA hospital, in Columbia. But getting his service-connected disability for his cancer, was a challenge.

"He told several people that, 'no they are going to deny me and wait until I die,'" said Hargis Junior.

Hargis' Senior premonition came true.

For three years he appealed his denial for a service- connected disability with the help of his doctors writing letters to the government.

The more than $100,000 he should have received over the years in disability turned into less than $2,000 applied to his funeral costs.

Although Hargis Junior's father cannot enjoy the benefits he earned in battle, his family feels his story needs to be told.

"This is bigger to me than my father. This is bigger than the money. It is about taking care of the people that took care of us." said Hargis Junior.

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