It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and it has been an honor to call each of you a colleague.  We have accomplished much together, and I am so proud of how far we have come in the last 2 1/2 years.

From the first day of wanting to attend West Point, I have tried to live my life serving others, and I am proud of the work we have done together at VA to better serve “those who have borne the battle,” their survivors, and their families.  In all my experience of transforming organizations, this is the furthest progress in the shortest amount of time that I have ever seen and that includes operations all over the world.  When I am asked why, it comes down to two very simple reasons.  First, there are great people in VA.  VA’s challenges do not stem from an unengaged or uncaring workforce as some would have the American people believe.  Your passion and commitment to serving Veterans is inspiring, and knowing I had you by my side helped keep me focused and fired up.  Number two was your willingness to take ownership of not only our challenges, but the solutions that have fueled this transformation and your commitment to put Veterans at the center of everything we do.

You have likely heard the news that the President-elect has selected our very own Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin, to be his nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  David has played a critical role in our MyVA transformation and has substantially increased access to care for Veterans.  I am encouraged by this choice, and I look forward to working with him to ensure our Veterans continue to receive the high-quality care, benefits and honor they deserve.

I hope you show David the same level of support with which you have blessed me.  I have no doubt he will continue to share your passion and commitment to serving Veterans, their families and survivors.  Sloan and I wish him the very best on this very important mission and continued success on the path to transformation.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I will be eternally grateful for all of your hard work.  I will forever be your champion.

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Published on Jan. 12, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

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23 Comments

  1. Gary Werner January 18, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Bob,

    U probably wont read many of these but two of my friends from a company called IHHP meet with you December 2014 with a part time product I make using Veterans called the WOW. They never got any traction with the names you gave them but I keep giving WOWs out to Veterans all around the US.

    It cost me alot to use Veterans and hand make each WOW device. I am still looking for help so I can give more of them out.

    Thanks for your service to Veterans!

    My personal motto?

    “If your a VETERAN, Thank You For Your Service! If your not a VETERAN, Thank One For Your Freedom”

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Gary V Werner
    Vietnam Veteran
    Serving from 1968 to 1977
    Inventor of the WOW (handheld workout device helping relieve stress and injury prevention

  2. mary myers January 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Secretary McDonald. You have made a difference in the lives of many veterans. Thank you for accepting this challenge and thank you for taking the time to challenge the status quo and get things done on behalf of Veterans.

  3. Bill Carnahan January 16, 2017 at 1:48 am

    SIR:
    You will truly be missed. I know for a fact that you have made a difference for the better for us veterans. Thank you for being the go to person when a veteran was not taken care of. We can never pay you back for all you have done for us veterans.
    Hope you have a happy and prosperous retirement.

    Bill Carnahan
    MSgt (Retired), USAF

  4. George Edward Hill January 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Thanks Sect. McDonald for your service to the Vetrans and more specifically for taking the time!E and inactive to personally help me get and answer to my disability claim.

    I hope you will find purpose and mean in your life of service to your county and family.

    Peace be with you .

  5. Peggy Rondeau January 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Please do not give up.My husband was a sergeant Major and in the military for 35 years. when he got sick after retirement it took me a long time to get him his 100% P&T it creped up from 30% until I finally figured out the VA was not going to do the paperwork for me I had to help myself. And trust me they will not do your work for you. It may sound horrible to say that but there are so many Soldiers out there seeking help that they just don’t have the man power to research every ones claims so it is up to you to gather all of your own claim info and HELP YOURSELF (1st I put my name as a third party so they would talk to me because my husband could not so it was up to me. form #21-0845 (2nd I set up a table and laid out all of my husbands military records from his DD214 and NGB22 or whatever your equivalent to your DD214 or NGB22. I included all his medical records both military and civilian. (3rd I pulled as much info as I could from the VA Website and gathered all the forms I would need. and there are several, you will need to write a statement in support of your claim form 21-4138 give them as much info as possible so they can make a good decision to include every illness they have no matter how small it may seem to you because it may be related to there military service you just don’t know. (4th If you need help from a family member or the VA someone anyone you trust there are VA buses that go around different area’s and there are several VA outreach centers that will help with this process. I decided to help myself and my husband and it worked. It was a lot of work but worth it. (5th Make copies of everything and always keep the originals for yourself, Whenever you send anything to the VA always put your Military VA file or Military ID# or Soc Sec # on the top of everything because that why they can match up your paperwork with your file. (6th You will or may get a Denial letter don’t let that sway you Make sure you fill out the notice of disagreement form right away don’t delay on this VERY IMPORTANT, if they have asked for additional info give it or if they plain out say you are denied then give them more info maybe you have additional medical that they need. once they receive it you will get a letter on what to do next . PLEASE follow the instructions or have someone help you or they will deny your claim and you will have to start all over again.(7th for the wives or husbands that are helping there spouses through this process don’t despair if your spouse is to sick or cannot help in the process make sure you get the 3rd party form to the VA and a power of attorney because you will need this trust me and the IRS requires there own power of attorney to do there taxes and be able to sign for him or her.(8th Make sure you are signed up at your local VA CLINIC they have great health care from the most serious condition to Vision to foot care they were excellent with my husband, they also have Mental health workers for you. I know a lot of Soldiers that think there are other soldiers out there that need it more but. Let me tell you deserve it as much as the next soldier GO TO THE VA CLINIC. And keep going and fight for what you think you deserve for the time you gave to this country and not only for the American People but people all over the world and in general. My husband wasn’t just on the battlefield but when there was a storm or a flood or any disaster he was called out. They are the true heroes Good luck in your quest and DO NOT GIVE UP.

  6. Nonie Gallardo January 14, 2017 at 1:07 am

    Thank you for serving as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. You have done a remarkable job. I wish you could stay. You fixed the VA system to rid the scandals. Thank you for helping the Vietnam Veterans with their compensation claims and back pay. I shall miss you. Thank you for caring for the veterans like myself. Take care. God bless you.

  7. Scott Rietz January 13, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks Bob for your dedication to the men and women who have served in the military. I appreciate all you have done to identify and correct the many problems you have over such a short period. You are surely going to missed!

  8. Raymond C. Des Marais, Jr. January 13, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Secretary Bob,
    Thank you so much for you approach and hard work in the transformative programs that you and your team have put in place at the VA, You undertook this job during its rockiest time, and the progress that you’ve achieved is top notch!

    My warmest regards…and best of luck for your future,

    Ray Des Marais

  9. William, Senger January 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I am both a veteran, and a VA employee of 20 years. I want to
    thank Secretary Mc.Donald for his support for the veterans of the U.S. He has
    Helped support the V.A. In moving forward and been instrumental in keeping
    this institution in running to be one of the leading organizations in the country.
    Thank You N GBU

  10. William, Senger January 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I am both a veteran, and a VA employee of 20 years. I want to
    thank Secretary Mc.Donald for his support for the veterans of the U.S. He has
    Helped support the V.A. In moving forward and been instrumental in keeping
    this institution in solve envy.
    Thank You N GBU

  11. Joe January 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    He didn’t do crap in Orlando, FL

  12. R Luis January 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Ha !…….Adios and good riddance.
    PLEASE, don’t forget to cancel your phone number !—Ooops, you never called back anyone anyway. Thank you for NOT answering the detailed letters I sent you….not that I expected YOU to respond, but I thought someone on your staff would. I guess you were too busy. Please, tell me what were your accomplishments with the VA ? I don’t think I have the full list of them, because the page I have is blank.
    Will you go back into the private sector and start another MDVIP subsidiary ? Was that your great accomplishment at P & G?
    Way to go there McD. another job well done on Not to help the common man/woman or whatever.

    I for one will not miss you at all. You should have started out sending you entire family to VA hospitals for care.
    Signed
    A disgusted in you veteran.

  13. Robert Bostic January 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for serving as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the last 2 1/2 years and for your work at the VA to better serve “those who have borne the battle,” their survivors, and their families.

  14. James Leon Jones January 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Godspeed to McDonald. And thanks for all he did for Vets.

    • William Gardner January 14, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      And just what in the hell did he do, to even deserve a thank you??

      So many disrespectful and illegal things have transpired within the VA and against veterans. However, no VA employee has ever been charged.

      If that is something to thank this outgoing VA Secretary for then there are an awful lot of extremely
      stupid individuals in this country. !!!!!

  15. MsCarrieBell January 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Where is the LOVE! Can’t you just say “THANKYOU”

  16. James Ira sutton January 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Secretary McDonald, I have never met you, but I have met many of the wonderful veteran health care providers. I have agent orange induce Parkinson’s and PTSD. The terrific people at our new Sanford NC VA CLINIC are GREAT. I feel honored when I walk in the door and see the smiling faces of Jasime and Felecia. My nurse Mrs Haney and PA Mrs Mabrey are top notch. Mrs. Watkins my counselor is well equipped and compassionate. Thank you for your service!! James Ira sutton

  17. Tim Keyes January 13, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Bob, thanks for doing such a good job. G.O. Lifestyle Center 1987. Go Navy…

  18. Larry Payton January 13, 2017 at 11:51 am

    You cynical vets should hold fire until you see how the new ‘resident in the White Houseis going to screw us. The Republicans have understaffed the VA for years to intentionally create the atmosphere for outsourcing. Get informed vets, otherwise we’re just cattle.

  19. Lou J Apa January 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Well….the privilege to serve veterans was his pleasure, whistling all the way to his bank account, as he was paid big bucks for NO results to speak of or measure. I pray that the new VA Director is better equipped to manage well, certainly better than mcdonald!!!

    • William Breen January 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Your reply shows your ignorance—he took a huge pay cut to do this job, which, btw, he did excellently. The new guy is going from 2 million + a year to 170k as VA head…

  20. Grace Baber January 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Secretary McDonald,

    THANK YOU so very much for steering the VA for the past 2.5 years. I really appreciate the innovative, long-term decisions that you made on our behalf. Knowing that you also served gave me great comfort in that there but for the grace of the Almighty you might also be in need of VA services—and you seemed to always remember and represent such keen insight.

    I, for one, will miss you greatly

    • Arrow J. Smith January 13, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Need someone who can help the Veterans and not just let them die in the streets like the Obama administration has done.

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