Letters to the Editor (March 2012)

Balancing act

This letter is regarding your recent article on the military seeking social workers. As a social worker in the Army Reserve for eight years, military commanders value and appreciate our profession.

Serving as commissioned officers we do provide care for military service personnel and their families but our primary mission is to be a “force multiplier,” to return men and women to duty. If their condition significantly inhibits their mission capability, job functioning, it is customary for removal from service through a medical board.

Serving our country and caring for soldiers is a remarkable experience but does present an ethical challenge, balancing our duty to do what’s in the best interest of our client versus maintaining the military’s “fighting strength,” especially at a time of war.

Dr. Vaughn DeCoster, MSW, PhD, LCSW, ACSW
Evansville, IN


Following the code

In response to the letter from Kevin Theriot; LGBT issues are not moral issues, they are problems with archaic and prejudicial policies and laws.

In 1994, the American Medical Association released a statement saying, “Most of the emotional disturbance experienced by gay men and lesbians around their sexual identity is not based on physiological causes but rather is due more to a sense of alienation in an unaccepting environment.”

This is thus not at all about what any social worker or other person believes about LGBT identities or behaviors, but is about supporting any person with no inclusion of any one set of morals.

The longer we spend debating the morals and values surrounding the LGBT community, the longer it takes before we follow our own Code of Ethics and support those who come to us in need.

Kristen Marie (Kryss) Shane, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Astoria, NY


Where there's a will ...

This letter is in response to Dr. Carol B. Sisco’s February 2012 letter “The Military’s loss”. As I read Dr. Sisco’s letter I am reminded of my own experience in joining the military, but with a much different outcome.

I was 56 years old in 2007 when I first contacted a recruiter for the Iowa Army National Guard. Like Dr. Sisco I had many years of clinical experience and also like Dr. Sisco was an avid runner, biker, and cross country skier. Unlike Dr. Sisco my recruiter was very willing to work with me to submit the necessary waivers needed to enlist. It was not the easy process that I had envisioned; seven months from starting the process I received my direct commission as a First Lieutenant.

Based on the experience gained from working with me, my recruiter was able to help two other behavioral health professionals, both who also needed age waivers, successfully enlist in the Iowa Army National Guard.

I don’t know why the recruiter Dr. Sisco contacted was not willing to work with her. I’m very happy the Recruiter I worked with recognized the need for behavioral health officers and was willing to work with me. My recruiter’s attitude was “where there is a will, there is a waiver.” I hope those of you who want to put your experience and clinical skills to work to help members of military can find a recruiter with the same attitude.

CPT Dan Grinstead, MSW, LISW, ACSW
Iowa City, Iowa