“There’s no more noble mission—making a lasting, positive difference in the lives of my fellow Veterans,” Bob McDonald told attendees of the 2016 DAV National Convention was his motivation in taking on the position of VA secretary. McDonald spoke to the Atlanta convention Sunday on his work at VA since becoming secretary and the important role Veterans service organizations such as DAV have played.

“I need to hear what you have to say. I want to use your ideas in transforming VA. I need to know how VA looks from your perspective,” McDonald said.

Sec. Bob McDonald speaks at 2016 DAV National Convention

Sec. Bob McDonald speaks at 2016 DAV National Convention on July 31,2016.

Two years ago in Las Vegas, McDonald delivered his first address as secretary to the DAV National Convention. At the time, he told them that “Coming face-to-face with the reality some Veterans have endured isn’t a disaster. It’s a great opportunity, and it’s a rare opportunity we cannot miss, nor underestimate.”

Today, McDonald told DAV members the transformation begun two years ago “is well underway, and we’re already seeing results.”

“You should know that last year Veterans had nearly 5 million more appointments than the previous year,” McDonald said. “Almost 57 million were in VA facilities, over 21 million were VA care in community.”

Beyond the numbers, McDonald also highlighted the work of VA employees across the country. He told the story of Atlanta social workers Patrice Green and Marissa Jones who helped a Veteran not only exit homelessness, but reunited him with family he hadn’t seen and had lost track of for 22 years.

“Excellence is what we’re after,” McDonald told the crowd. “So the right dialogue is about forward-looking leadership and sustainable accountability.”

Following his remarks, McDonald spoke with DAV’s digital media team backstage via Facebook Live.

The DAV National Convention continues through August 3. President Obama is scheduled to address the convention on Monday, August 1.

Share this story

Published on Jul. 31, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.6 min.

Views to date: 89


  1. James Tobleck August 7, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I nearly lost my leg due to knee surgery in W.Germany in 1976, ive had to fight s drunk c+p doctor who peed his pants yet managed to destroy my life for nearly 40 years. VA lost file for over 12 years, blaming poor shoes ect. VA removed my doctor and cancled dental plan ! Insist i have Detroit not 5 mile away Mercy Hospital in Muskegon do surgery! Zero treatment plan ,zero recovery plan , zero physical therepy! BobMcdonalds choice plan would be a godsent! VA BC Director Skuppion and staff of beauicrats refuses just like my 3 year wait for colonoscopy to find my bleeding. I had to go under anasteasia 2 times for upper GI where they found it.! No treatment yet!! They put my life in danger trying to be cheap.This is my request for an ombudsmen to save my life. Ive waited long enough, cost 3 marrages, countless jobs, opertunities.

  2. James Tobleck August 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Battle Creek VA removed my VA doctor who recomended local surgery , instead of Detroit . I requested Choice ,now i have to wait 5 years more. Typical VA , ive heard every excuse for not fixing my knee. 40 years draging my leg. I suggest Washington call Skuppion and ask why! Bonuse money instead of treating me ! Ill never trust VA, my dental bills also go unpaid from last Oct.

  3. Lawrence Tressler August 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    You would think listening to all this BS is everything is “sunshine & roses.” After moving from Ohio to Florida, I have been waiting nearly 7 months to have a doctor assigned to me. And every few months when I call to check on my status, I get a completely different story each time. The most recent time I called, the person must have been having a really bad day and admitted to me that they are instructed to tell me whatever I want to hear just to get me off their back. In January I was told that there were about 100 people ahead of me in line. In April, it was about 300, and in June there was about 500 ahead of me. How is it possible for the line ahead of me to continue to grow? My experience with the VA in Ohio was great, but here in Florida, it is absolutely unforgivable. But yet the VA public relations machine continues to ignore the problems and sugar coat everything.

  4. Paul Peterson August 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    When will the veterans Administration start treating veterans who live outside the USA with the same benefits that you give veterans in the USA.?? I live in Costa Rica and I can only be treated for my service connected disability.. I have to travel 3.5 hours one way by car and the other option is returning to the USA where the airline ticket will cost around $500.00 round trip. For a veteran retired and on Social security as my only income this is not practical.option. In the USA veterans receive treatment for anything that ails them. Talk about discrimination.!!! You have a new plan called Veterans Choice. This plan could be implemented very easily with existing hospitals that already treat Vets for their disability and at a much lower cost then returning to the USA for treatment. I have spent 13 years with out seeing a Dr. on an annual basis. Only when I have a major problem and must return to the USA for treatment.and must spend the money for airfare as their is no other choice.
    How about someone who cares looking into this possibility.!!

  5. Michael Earl Bady August 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Michael Bady: Vietnam Veteran
    I was actually diagnosed with PTSD in 1980 and was told then that I was alright, but my records state that I show signs of PTSD, that lets me know that I had it then. Today I only receive 30%. My base was under attack at least three times during my stay, I have been shot at but never injured. I still have nightmares and flashbacks. They had me see a doctor and he never talked about my problems, only wants to talk about how my daily life is. I only survive, can’t maintain relationships, finally quit drug use on my own. With 30% and social security it is very hard to keep my head above water. What can I do to get any further assistance. I am at a lose and don’t know what to do. HELP!

  6. joe harris August 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I’m a Viet Nam veteran and have been fighting the VA/VBA for 46 years. VA has pumped me full of lie’s and BS for the full 46 years. I’m right now trying to put together a demonstration against the VAVBA here in North Louisiana. That’s the only way we’re going to get any changes in VA/VBA that will help Vet’s. These BS speeches and Town hall meeting are a Joke, Last one we had here in Shreveport/Bossier City 3 Vet’s showed up because no one has faith in any change being made. I know there is going to be someone from VA/VBA read this, show me and the public one change that’s come out of the last 4 town hall meeting in this area. “We’re waiting for your answer”. If we get 2 or 3 thousand Vets on highways, interstates or bridges in a demonstration against the VA/VBA, shut down roads and towns someone will listen to us. How about backing traffic from Shreveport to Atlanta/Shreveport to Dallas. Think about it, we’ll get results.

    Joe Harris
    USMS 3rd Recon
    Quange Tri, Vietnam

  7. Ruben Caddell July 31, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    …If you have to “modify” my comment, don’t publish it at all..!

    • Gary Hicks August 1, 2016 at 5:41 am

      Mr. Caddell and those who may be wondering, all comments are reviewed for foul language and libel, but mostly to keep hundreds of Spam messages out of the posts.

  8. Ruben Caddell July 31, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    …I imagine the honorable Secretary made an oral presentation as part of his job however and in my opinion, the Veterans, especially African-American veterans, have spent enough already to line the pockets of these “money grubbing” VSO’s (Veteran self-serving organizations) who provide lip service only but maintain offices at taxpayer expense in government buildings and, are allowed to pick and choose which Veterans they will help. This selective discrimination is practiced by the other worthless VSO’s who claim a “backlog” of cases and have claimed a “backlog of cases” to my knowledge for more than 48 years! So, here we are at another “convention” where the unsuspecting “members” having paid their “dues” to belong, sit around eating rubber chicken and listening to speech after speech while buying trinkets to take back home and put on a shelf and gather dust in the den while the upper management is upstairs sipping ‘sour mash’ and dividing the money they made from the “convention” and the hotel “kickbacks” for the large block of rooms they reserved for the paying members who go on paying and paying..! Next stop for upper management is Cancun of course! Two weeks, all expenses paid, compliments of the membership..!

    • Edward Serna August 9, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      I am in the same boat. I am a camp Lejuene water containment. Va. Announce August. 2. 2015.that they would now allow presumption law, it would take about a 1 year here it is August 9, 2016 can’t get a hold of one vso of the Dav.in houston texas.have we not waiting long enough for this law. Date 1957 till now 2016.almost 30 years where is the help.

  9. David William Sherman July 31, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I’m a Vietnam veteran who has been bounced around for 6 years in August trying to get benefits for exposure to herbicides during my duty as a aircraft mechanic stationed in Guam. I guess VA is hoping I die and they won’t have to pay me any benefits for prostate cancer.

    • Lynnetta Shepherd August 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      my husband did died from Sepsis and Cardiac Arrest a Fungus Micro-Organisms from Vietnam , and all five of my grandchildren have it pass down through our daughter to them she file a claim but she have not hear from V.A. My Husband drunk himself to a early death because of his pain. George Larry Shepherd was his name He stay in Vietnam for Two years and some month working on helicopter,also I contact Bob McDonald, his office reposed-to me not him.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • In the aftermath of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, VA has benefits and resources for Veterans and families impacted by this natural disaster.

  • In 2022, VA set a goal to house 38,000 homeless Veterans. With only a few months to go, how are we doing?

  • Under the PACT Act, Vietnam era, Gulf War era, and Post-9/11 Veterans have extended eligibility for VA health care.