The inexcusable delay in medical treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities and the accompanying bureaucratic deceptions were appropriate reasons for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. However, people should also remember that in other ways, he was an extraordinary champion for veterans.

One episode in which I was involved illustrates why I have such respect for this unassuming man.

While I was working for then-U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, our office worked hard to get the VA to allow veterans to establish eligibility for disability benefits based on post-traumatic stress disorder.

The VA took the position that it was up to the veteran to provide documentation that he or she had been in combat and had witnessed a traumatic event and that the trauma had caused PTSD. The military, however, had control of needed records, and for many veterans, it was next to impossible to track down comrades who could corroborate the veteran’s claims.

We had a constituent who was severely disabled as a result of a horrifying combat incident in Vietnam, but for two decades the Army claimed it could find no records of his being in combat or witnessing the claimed event. After years of pressure, the records were miraculously found once Gen. Shinseki became VA secretary.

That was but one victory. After Gen. Shinseki took over the VA, he changed the rules: The burden would now be on the VA to disprove the physician’s PTSD diagnosis.

That hundreds, if not thousands, of veterans were treated as liars until this rule change was a disgrace. It was Gen. Shinseki, on his own initiative, who righted this wrong.

Rep. Janice Cooper

D-Yarmouth