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Pat McMahon

Forgotten warriors

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki walks to shake hands with Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014, following his testimony before the committee's hearing to examine the state of Veterans Affairs health care. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

I was the recipient of a treasured honor Thursday. There was no trophy or plaque or proclamation. There was only an old man sitting across from me on this TV show.

But what an old man he is.

His name is Albert Laks. His family came from Poland. He's Jewish. And all of that is of importance because he fought in World War II against the German forces that had committed themselves to the eradication of Polish Jews.

Albert's commanding officer was Gen. George S. Patton. Along with all the combat Albert saw, he was even able to find family members in a German camp and arrange their immigration journey to the U.S.

Yes, Albert had a pretty busy WWII, and when he returned to the States, he even found time to become a marathon runner.

Laks is in his late 80s now and looks fit. But I'm obligated to wonder if that's because of the medical care he has been eligible for at VA hospitals.

I hope they've been better to Albert than they have been to all too many of our soldiers who came after him from Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

Just as Albert deserves a salute from all of us, the VA deserves scorn for its shameful treatment of our military.

I'm Pat McMahon.

About the Author

He's done it all -- and keeps doing it. His career in local Arizona radio and television dates back the late 60s. Pat always stimulates with his thought provoking, opinionated, and entertaining commentaries on the Arizona Morning News while hosting award-winning talkshows like "The McMahon Group" and "The God Show."

"The McMahon Group" features an unpredictable all-star panel where three people from the community get together and give their thoughts on the news of the week. He also hosts "The God Show" on Sunday's where he talks about all aspects of spirituality.

Pat is also well known outside of radio because of his multifaceted career as an actor, producer, recording artist, writer, broadcaster, and one-third of the legendary comedy team that was on TV for 35 years in Arizona, "The Wallace and Ladmo Show."

Through the many experiences of his professional life, Pat has been richly rewarded with 7 Emmys, major national and international radio awards as well as numerous civic, educational, religious and humanitarian awards. Pat was also a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Ottawa University, the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime achievement Award, and has his bronze likeness hanging in the rotunda of the Herberger Theater in recognition of his contributions to Communications & The Arts.


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