FORT THOMAS, Ky. — Nine months ago, Navy veteran Timothy Bevis was told he’d have to leave the VA facility in Fort Thomas because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Now, due to his cancer diagnosis, the 60-year-old veteran is unable to return for his own health.
“The military was the best eight years of my life, and it has not been the same since I got out,” Bevis said.
He said the VA was in the process of helping him get his life back on track.
“I've had two jobs lined up, was just starting to get everything back together and I came in from a job interview, and they told me that everybody was being discharged,” he said.
After leaving the VA facility in March, Bevis went to a sober living home, then a shelter, and now has his own apartment. He said he’s still not doing as well as he’d like to.
“I had a bunch of issues like this (that) I was looking forward to working on while I was there, but then they shut it down. They shut everything down,” Bevis said.
VA Public Affairs Chief Todd Sledge said the agency was able to secure and properly distribute personal protective equipment to its staff, and the Fort Thomas facility has started to welcome some veterans back over the last few months.
“Because of the volume of people that are in that facility, we needed to for their health and safety reasons at the time, what we do with COVID, we couldn't have groups of people in close proximities.”
Unfortunately for Bevis, he can’t rejoin the PTSD and homeless transition program because he has esophageal cancer, making him high-risk for COVID-19.
“So, it really tore me apart,” he said of the moment he was told he couldn't return.
Bevis has gone through treatment, and said he’s trying to fight his other battles on his own using the tools he developed at the VA facility to stay strong.
“It's a place where you can pull yourself back together at,” he said.
Bevis originally believed capacity was lowered at the VA facility, in part, to care for COVID patients and create an isolation space. That was not the case -- those patients were only treated at the Cincinnati VA Hospital.