After a 15-year battle

After a 15-year battle

Soldier’s plight heard by Veterans Affairs

Local veteran will be getting his full pension and benefits from Vetrans Affairs.

The battle has been won for a Trail army veteran after he received word from Veterans Affairs about obtaining full pension and benefits after a Trail Daily Times story brought his plight to light.

When a story on Dolan Magrath was first published in late April, the 47-year-old third generation army man had been at his wit’s end fighting to secure enough of a pension for his family before his ailing body—injured while serving in the Army for 10 years—gave out.

Magrath had been clashing with government officials for 15 years since he was given a medical discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997. When he brought his story to the Daily Times he had also been preparing to meet with Alex Atamanenko, the region’s Member of Parliament.

“I challenged the system for many years before I got my battle ironed out, two weeks after the article came out,” he said.

Magrath received confirmation of full pension and benefits from Veteran’s Affairs in a letter, without an explanation of why they had taken so long to do so.

Atamanenko, who had been working “behind the scenes” to remedy Magrath’s situation, cautioned him not to seek an apology. Initially, Magrath sought an apology for the 1992 incident in which he was injured.

“(Atamanenko) said it’s more important that I got benefits … instead of the government admitting wrong doing,” he said. “That would be a bigger fish to catch.”

Atamanenko took Magrath’s case up with the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs in early May.

For years the Department of Veterans Affairs has been reluctant to pay for Magrath’s medical treatment after he was discharged.

Not recognizing his injury while in service, Magrath could not get treatment for his injuries while the army contended he was in fine physical form.

Since his herniated back condition was left untreated in 1992, Magrath has had seven pensionable conditions built upon his original injury.

Magrath’s stems from an incident that occurred in Cyprus while serving as a gunner reservist with the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery on a peacekeeping mission in 1992.

He hurt his back but the armed forces denied the severity of the injury—which left Magrath unable to work in his 40s—and his right to a livable pension.