Charlie Kohler is living history. He’s an American hero, a World War II Marine combat Veteran, and the sole survivor of his weapons company from the 4th Marine Division, 23rd Regiment.

At 101 years old, Kohler is also a participant in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, one of several VA programs dedicated to supporting Veterans by providing resources and services to their caregivers.

Kohler’s story is one of remarkable triumph. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he entered the Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kohler’s brother, who needed permission to leave high school early, followed him into service. Together, the two completed basic training and later served on Iwo Jima.

His brother lost his life in the same battle that left Kohler nearly fatally wounded.

Son motivated to connect father to VA services

The brothers’ legacy led Kohler’s son Keith to become an American military history buff. After becoming his father’s caregiver in 2013, he became the frontrunner in preserving his father’s story while providing him with life-sustaining caregiver support.

“Having the privilege of living with and caring for my father, I became more and more immersed in his military history, learning the smallest details of his heroism in WWII’s largest battles,” said Keith.

As Keith dug deeper into his father’s service, he grew more motivated to connect Charlie with VA resources and eventually joined VA’s Caregiver Support Program (CSP).

“He was nearly mortally wounded and left-for-dead but miraculously rescued during the invasion of Iwo Jima. I am determined to provide him the dignity and respect he deserves by connecting my dad to many overdue benefits with VA,” said Keith. “VA has stepped in to support my dad… and me… with various programs to ensure my father receives the quality care and attention he earned long ago on the battlefields of WWII.”

Calling Caregiver support line was the greatest thing I did.

For Keith, CSP’s resources became a critical line of support, both within his role as a caregiver and for finding balance in his own life.

“The greatest thing I did was call the VA Caregiver Support Line as I was at my wits end emotionally, spiritually and financially,” said Keith. “Thanks to various VA programs, I can have other caregivers tend to my dad, too.”

Here is a short documentary about his father’s and his brother’s courage and valor in WWII:

 

Kohler recently celebrated his 101st birthday with his local CSP team in St. Louis, who proudly supports Kohler and his caregiver Keith. The two end each night by reciting the same four words: “I’m proud of you.”

Program information

The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers provides resources, education, support, a financial stipend, health insurance (if eligible) and beneficiary travel (if eligible) to caregivers of eligible Veterans who have incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975, or on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

On October 1, 2022, PCAFC will become available to eligible Veterans of all service eras and their caregivers. All caregivers of Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs healthcare can receive support through the Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS). For more information about PGCSS and PCAFC, visit the Caregiver Support Program’s website or contact your local CSP team.

By Mitzi Hedgecock

Caregiver Support Program Coordinator, St. Louis VA

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Published on Aug. 26, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.7 min.

Views to date: 9,067

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11 Comments

  1. Ryan Gallagher September 22, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Sounds like an outstanding program. Cared for my father thru dementia and was not easy to accomplish alone. Good to see the VA seeing a need and doing the math.

  2. JoselBernard September 22, 2022 at 2:42 am

    Thank you caring for veterans,from the bottom of my heart

  3. Héctor Juan Colon Alers September 21, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    In Puerto Rico medical boards mayor you need to be in pieces to receive this caregiver asiatant as always.

  4. Harry Shepherd September 21, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    How do you get the status of an application

  5. Mark Hellige September 8, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Curious, how has Veteran Directed Care and Home Based Primary Care benefitted you and your family?

  6. Arnold Cabral September 7, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    People and Veterans who read this can you please email your Senators or Representative asked them to contact the the Veteran Affairs Committee passed a new Disabled Veterans who is 100percent service connected needs a Dentist that knows how to put in G4implants for free because they don’t have one work for a Veteran Medical Centers Dentistry or have a contract with a Veteran Affairs Administration please

    • George William Penney September 21, 2022 at 9:55 pm

      Please help me and our veteran the VA gave me dentures because I am 100 percent I asked about implants but I don’t think they care
      George William Penney

      • Barrie Avis September 23, 2022 at 7:02 pm

        My husband and I moved in with my mom several years ago so that she could stay in her home and we could take care of her. She is a WWII Navy veteran, she turns 99 in December! She was a non-combatant of course, so no injuries … and even though it takes both my husband and I full time to meet her needs, she doesn’t qualify for any financial compensation for her care. It seems like there SHOULD be compensation, especially since we can’t go to work because of caring for her, but we apparently do not qualify. We are in financial hardship because of our decision to care for my mother. (I have no siblings/relatives to help out.)

    • Deana September 23, 2022 at 4:08 am

      L ove a good story. Heartwarming.
      Unfortunately my 3 children and I are facing homelessness as no one shared resources available for caring for my father. 7 years for my Momma and 3 my Daddy. Sad to share both have passed away, my momma 2 years ago and my father less than a month ago. Dementia and several other terminal illnesses. I am sharing as I hope that the VA would make resources known and help families access them. I now am fighting to keep a roof over our head.

  7. Arnold Cabral September 7, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    Rise and Shine Veterans and People email or call your Senators or Representative Rise the paid for Veteran Caretaker because they do just as much work as a Certified Nursing Assistance does.

  8. J.G. September 1, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for your service.

Comments are closed.

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