ORANGE CITY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Marine who served America in Beirut is paying for two billboards in Central Florida. They are two of twelve boards posted across America, urging the VA medical system to offer faster care to our heroes. The billboard flashes a bright yellow background with a bold message. It reads, "VA is lying, veterans are dying." One billboard is located on Goldenrod Road, north of State Road 408 in Orange County. There's a second one at Interstates 4 and 95, near Daytona Beach.
"It's not about me, I'm all set. This is about the people who are in the service and the ones who are fixing to go in the service," said retired Marine Roger Gagnon, of Orange City. He said he's so upset with the Veterans Affairs Administration that he paid for two billboards out of his own pocket to let the public know what he thinks. Gagnon pointed out, "They got that last nerve of mine that I just got to the point where I said, 'I'll eat Ramen noodles for a month, but I'm going to let them know that I'm upset.'"
Gagnon said the VA claims it has dramatically reduced wait times for veterans' doctor appointments. Gagnon says that's not what he sees while he helps other vets push claims through the system. He said, "Now they come on the news and said we fixed things. They're lying. Nothing has changed. " He is also taking his message to social media. These are images from the "VA is lying group" Facebook page. The group claims it has almost eleven thousand supporters nationwide.
This veteran hopes people will see the billboards and social media messages and will demand faster health care for America's heroes. "I want the public to finally realize this is totally unacceptable." Gagnon said he is paying $775 for the Orlando billboard and $1,400 for the one near Daytona Beach for a one month buy.
Managers of the VA Hospital in Orlando were off for the holiday Monday, so FOX 35 News could not ask them about the billboards, but we will follow up.