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FREEDOM – Can you hear it?

This country is really amazing isn’t it? At any given time, we have almost one-half of the total population polarized and adamantly opposed to almost any issue you want to discuss. Yet, at the same time, almost everyone agrees on one thing, we love our veterans, those intrepid soldiers who risk everything to protect our privileges. Every American should take pride in the fact that we likewise have made a commitment to them, to protect their health.

One small but critical part of this is our investment in providing the best hearing care in the country to our veterans. Of the approximate 22 million veterans in the U.S., it’s estimated at least 60% have significant hearing loss. Given the noise environment they live in it’s surprising it’s not more!

The great thing is that all veterans suffering from service related hearing loss are professionally fitted with high quality current technology hearing aids at no cost. Every day, 1,200 audiologists, located in 260 modern clinics and hospitals located in every state, fit veterans with 1,700 hearing aids. Audiologists can choose hearing aids created by any one of the top six manufactures in the world to meet the specific needs of individual veterans.

Speaking of veterans, one of my favorites is an old friend and co-worker from many years ago. His name is David Wilhelm and he will proudly tell you that he just celebrated his 96th birthday. This is my favorite picture of Dave taken several months ago, when he received the Congressional Gold Medal for American Fighter Aces.

Dave flew Spitfires and then P-52’s as the allies chased the enemy from North Africa, up the coast of Italy and finally back into Germany. Not many know that all fighter pilots earned the right to return home if they lived through 40 missions, Dave flew 148. As we discussed his amazing life at lunch recently, I was astonished to realize he heard everything I said, without HEARING AIDS! (I don’t think they make men like that anymore)

We hope that all veterans can hear our chorus of appreciation for their unselfish contribution. We know the “Free” in “Freedom” was purchased with a currency that only they could create.