Veteran waits three months for shoes after VA faces cutbacks -

Veteran waits three months for shoes after VA faces cutbacks

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

( -- A Vietnam veteran is having an easier time walking Monday, but it didn’t come until after he waited three months for a pair of medical shoes.

Roy Boyer served in the army from 1966 to 1968 and has been wearing orthotic shoes for several years. As a veteran, his medical services are provided by Veterans Affairs. Early last December, Boyer went to Jefferson barracks, to be fitted for new shoes.  In the past, the shoes came in two weeks.

However, Boyer was kept waiting for months.

“December went by. In January I called ‘em about my shoes and they said, ‘well, don’t know what happened to ‘em but, we’ll get back to you,” he said. “At the end of January, I called again, and still nothing.”

In fact, his two-week waiting period had turned into three months. After several calls, Boyer still had no shoes and no answers.

Roy couldn’t get any explanation for the delay, so he called News 4’s Mike Colombo. The VA medical center says they have a ton of orders to fill and are short handed.

“We probably fill about 4,000 shoe and shoe support items during an average year, so it’s a high volume area,” said Marcena Gunter, spokesperson for Veteran’s Affairs in St. Louis.

Additionally, Gunter says Jefferson Barracks recently lost seven staff members in the prosthetics-orthotics department, leading to long delays.

Currently, all but one position is filled, and employees are quickly working through the backlog.

“We recognize that during that short period of time some of our veterans were inconvenienced and had a little longer wait than we would like,” she said. “We certainly apologize for that and work very hard to make sure we’re meeting their needs.”

A short time after Gunter’s interview, Boyer received his shoes. He says he’s always had excellent care at the VA and now he can laugh about the incident. 

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