Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rep. Baldwin: A Tribute to Dr. James C. Allen


Dr. James C. Allen of Madison, WI graduated from Marquette University Medical School in 1959. He spent his career at the University of Wisconsin Department of Ophthalmology and the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) -- A Tribute to Dr. James C. Allen, July 25, 1928 – April 10, 2011

They say looks can be deceiving and, when it came to Dr. Allen, they certainly were. He was a giant of a man!

We knew him as a loving husband and father, a caring and most capable physician, a proud veteran and a tireless volunteer. He was all that and more. To me, he was a friend, an ally, a fierce advocate for veterans, an outstanding citizen, and a patriot. He saw the goodness in people and sought the best for his country. His soft voice and gentle manner belied the power and strength of his convictions.

During my first term in Congress, Dr. Allen alerted me to a problem he saw in the VA compensation structure affecting some of our blinded veterans. As a former service member and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Allen knew the tremendous sacrifices our veterans made and believed that they should not be forced to struggle with related vision problems without any additional assistance and care.

For seven long years, Dr. Allen worked with me to craft long overdue legislation that would correct this inadequacy. In all that time, he never lost his focus or his faith that we would prevail.

In 2007, Congress unanimously passed and President Bush signed into law H.R. 797, the Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act, giving veterans blinded in one eye while in service greater compensation if they begin to lose sight in the other eye later in life.

As a physician and an advocate, Dr. Allen’s contributions to improve the lives of veterans are immeasurable. As a friend, his generosity and kindness are unforgettable.

Dr. Allen was peaceful, yet tenacious; soft-spoken, yet not afraid to speak up; accomplished, yet so very humble. He was a thoughtful, committed citizen who made our world better and our lives richer; and I shall miss him very much. ###

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