I founded HadIt.com on Jan 20, 1997. I entered the VA system early in 1991 after separating from the Navy in Dec 1990. I actually had the idea to create something before I discovered the internet in 1994/1995. With the internet, I realized I can do so much more than any little analog thing I could put together. I thought I could reach a few veterans who could reach a few others and in this way, many more could be helped. I would follow the teach a man to fish principle and provide information, references, and knowledge that could be freely shared with others. I started learning how to create websites and everything I could about the internet. I had a website that I practiced on and was getting visitors and learning more and finally grew to the point I created HadIt.com Veteran to Veteran.
The early years in the VA system were definitely different for me. My first memory of going to the VA hospital is an overcrowded waiting room, veterans standing in confusing lines frankly it was so crowded it didn’t look like lines, just clumps of pissed off veterans. Phones were ringing it was loud and crowded and no order that I could see, for me it seemed unsafe, it stressed me, my anxiety hit the roof. If I hadn’t been in pain I probably would have left. When they finally called me into the exam room, a nurse came in and told me I would have to wait outside for my husband. “I’m the veteran,” I said, a phrase that I would have to say repeatedly. It was 1991 and I get it, the system was still dominantly male. By the time the doc got to me, he decided I needed a pelvic exam, a 45-minute search for a speculum ensued. I took one look at this metal huge thing that looked like it had been in a drawer for quite some time and I pulled up my pants up and got the hell out of there. I had a recent hysterectomy and adhesions, I later found out were causing some pain. But that was then and this is now. Today I go to a Women’s clinic at the VA and I am very hopeful that VA will continue to improve, staff, and expand the Women’s clinics. For the most part in 2020 going to the VA for me is more like going to the doctor than it was in 1991. There were times in 1991 that had a very “cattle callesque” feel to it.
So after 23 years I’m happy to report HadIt.com is still here – we’ve seen our share of VA Secretaries and basically, they all say the same thing and they all sound committed to veterans. With each one, we have learned to wait and see. As of May 2018, we have no Veterans Affairs Secretary, though Robert Wilkie has been nominated. In July of 2018, he took office officially.
The good news/bad news depending on where you stand is the CHOICE program, most of the veterans I talk to like it, some others worry it will lead to privatization. I’ve used it and worked pretty smoothly once I got the referral.
In 2020 HadIt.com is still helping veteran help each other through the veterans disability compensation process.
In 1989, the Veterans Administration was replaced by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (a member of the cabinet) as its head.
Veterans Administration Administrators
|No.||Name||Term of Offices||President(s) served under|
|1||Frank T. Hines||1930–1945||Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman|
|2||Omar Bradley||1945–1948||Harry S. Truman|
|3||Carl R. Gray Jr.||1948–1953||Harry S. Truman|
|4||Harvey V. Higley||1953–1957||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|5||Sumner G. Whittier||1957–1961||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|6||John S. Gleason||1961–1965||John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson|
|7||William J. Driver||1965–1969||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|8||Donald E. Johnson||1969–1974||Richard Nixon|
|9||Richard L. Roudebush||1974–1977||Gerald Ford|
|10||Max Cleland||1977–1981||Jimmy Carter|
|11||Bob Nimmo||1981–1983||Ronald Reagan|
|12||Harry N. Walters||1983–1986||Ronald Reagan|
|13||Thomas K. Turnage||1986–1989||Ronald Reagan|
|14||Ed Derwinski||1989||George H. W. Bush|
Veterans Affairs Secretaries
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office||President(s)|
|1||Ed Derwinski||Illinois||March 15, 1989||September 26, 1992||George H. W. Bush|
|California||September 26, 1992||January 20, 1993|
|2||Jesse Brown||Illinois||January 22, 1993||July 1, 1997||Bill Clinton|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 1, 1997||January 2, 1998|
|3||Togo D. West Jr.||District of Columbia||January 2, 1998||May 5, 1998|
|May 5, 1998||July 25, 2000|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 25, 2000||January 20, 2001|
|4||Anthony Principi||California||January 23, 2001||January 26, 2005||George W. Bush|
|5||Jim Nicholson||Colorado||January 26, 2005||October 1, 2007|
|–||Gordon H. Mansfield
|Florida||October 1, 2007||December 20, 2007|
|6||James Peake||District of Columbia||December 20, 2007||January 20, 2009|
|7||Eric Shinseki||Hawaii||January 20, 2009||May 30, 2014||Barack Obama|
|–||Sloan D. Gibson
|Alabama||May 30, 2014||July 30, 2014|
|8||Bob McDonald||Ohio||July 30, 2014||January 20, 2017|
|West Virginia||January 20, 2017||February 14, 2017||Donald Trump|
|9||David Shulkin||Pennsylvania||February 14, 2017||March 28, 2018|
|North Carolina||March 28, 2018||May 29, 2018|
|Virginia||May 29, 2018||July 30, 2018|
|10||Robert Wilkie||North Carolina||July 30, 2018||Incumbent|