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Please come in, have a seat and join me in the “way back machine,” as we take a short ride . . .


. . . It’s late summer 1999 and I am full-blown into my addiction.  I find myself a drunkard and homeless.  I am out of control and spiraling quickly.  Ruth, a friend who brought me in off the street and let me sleep on her couch, had had it with my drinking; she put her foot down:  either I get help to stop my drinking or get out (that meant being back on the street for me, sleeping under a bush on the side of the freeway).  I know it’s time to do something about my drinking – I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, as the old saying goes.  You see, I’ve been in this situation before; I was sober for eleven and one-half years prior to this most recent five-year binge.  Ruth told me about the “East Bay Stand Down” (“Stand Down” or "EBSD") being held in the East Bay of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, set up by the local community to help homeless Veterans; it was to be held at Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin, California, beginning September 30 through October 3, 1999.  I agreed to go to the very first East Bay Stand Down and seek help.


Buses were provided to pick up Veterans from certain areas.  Ruth dropped me off on her way to work and I hopped on one of those buses and was whisked off to the Stand Down in hot, dusty Dublin, California.  There were a lot of people there, both Volunteers and Veterans.  I did the check-in thing and wandered about for a while; there was bottled water provided in buckets of ice so I did avail myself of that.  It was so hot -- I can remember the heat of the sun beating down on my head.  According to Old Farmer’s Almanac, the temperature reached 97 degrees on September 30, 1999 in Dublin and I was not wearing a hat.  Mea culpa.  Come around lunchtime I was given a hot dog and while sitting at a picnic table with some other homeless Vets, just about to take a bite of that hot dog, I had either a seizure or suffered heat stroke – it started at my feet and quickly overcame me -- everything just went black . . .


I came back to light from the blackness once and found myself strapped down on a stretcher, people were gathered round looking at me and someone was asking me questions, I blacked out again and then awoke in the hospital, where they had hooked me up to an intravenous feed of electrolytes (my guess); a chartreuse bag of liquid.  I remember thinking that being a very large bag of fluid to be put into my body and it took two of those bags before I was released from the hospital and sent back to the Stand Down.  I was not physically impaired; I was walking, talking and coherent after receiving care and release from the hospital.  I can only think that I was perhaps in a mild state of shock because I could not understand what had just happened to me. 


Little did I know there was more to come to add to my confusion on this eventful day in the summer of ‘99. 


When I returned to Camp Parks (I think it was a V.A. Rep who gave me a ride from the hospital – he was my “shadow” thereafter as he became my personal escort for the duration), I was taken into a building where there was a group of about six to ten “officials,” at least one of whom was a woman.  I say “officials” because they were all gathered around and talking about what to do with me, of all things.  Yes, you read that right . . . they were discussing what to do with me.  I remember the Head Honcho of the group saying, “Hell, no . . . he can’t come back here.  I don’t want anyone dying on my watch.”  The Head Honcho guy was talking about me; I had arguably almost died and here he was telling me to go away . . . go die somewhere else.  I was standing right there – he said that literally to my face, and everyone else.  The other “officials,” to their credit, argued against the Head Honcho’s decision, putting forth the argument that the Stand Down was about helping Veterans and to kick me out is quite contrary to the stated mission of the Stand Down.  Alas, in the end, the Head Honcho prevailed; I was labeled persona non-grata, kicked out of the Stand Down and taken back to Concord and dropped off, with application papers to a V.A. rehabilitation program in hand. 


I can remember the young guy who gave me a ride, my “shadow,” asking me about my car . . . he said that in my delirium I had mentioned my car . . . I did not own a car at that time so I must have been really out of it.  He may have been one of the people standing around when I awoke on the stretcher and I was delirious – talking gibberish; I do not know.  I also remember him asking me on the ride back to Concord: “what are you going to do now?”  All I could do was shrug (I don’t know).  It was all surreal.  Not only was I confused, surprised and perhaps even angry at the time about what had just happened to me . . . I still had to face Ruth.


I must have walked back to Ruth’s house in Pacheco; Concord and Pacheco are neighboring cities.  Needless to say, Ruth was happy that I had decided to go to the Stand Down and seek some much-needed assistance; she really cared about my wellbeing.  Imagine her surprise when she came home and discovered me there – I was expected to be gone the whole weekend.  I told her what had happened and she called me a liar, saying the Stand Down would not do something like that.  I had to agree with her but it is what it is – it happened to me.  Here I am, Ruth . . . I just lived through it.  Even though I showed her the rehab application and a pair of Desert Storm boots I had gotten at the Stand Down before they gave me the heave-ho, she didn’t believe me.  I also showed her the needle mark from the intravenous feed.  As far as I know, to this day, Ruth still doesn’t believe me, or maybe she did.  We never talked about it again.


So the East Bay Stand Down offered me help when I was seeking help, though when I tried to get that help was told to go away because I can only guess my health was a threat.  All this happened in one day – I got there, to the East Bay Stand Down, succumbed to the heat or whatever, was transported to the hospital unconscious, was given an intravenous feed of a chartreuse liquid, back to the camp where I was summarily told to leave and then back to Ruth’s house before she returned home from work. 


Overall, that day was not one of my best days, by a long shot.  My only saving grace and the reason Ruth did not kick me out immediately was that I had the application papers in hand and had committed myself to using them. 


I did fill out the application papers to get into rehab and was accepted and admitted October 18, 1999, to the detox at the Menlo Park V.A. Compound.  I like to think my name was remembered by some of the people at the Stand Down that were sticking up for me that day, who may have “fast tracked” my application, in order for me to get into the rehab program on such short notice.  It only took a little over two weeks from the time I was turned away by EBSD!  I thank you.  After spending a few days in detox to ensure I didn’t have any ill-effects from alcohol withdrawal, I was admitted into a 30- or 45- day First Step program.  Upon completion of First Step, I was eligible and applied for entrance into Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program (“HVRP”), also in Menlo Park, California, at that time a nine-month, in-depth domiciliary program.  Fortunately for me that the V.A. was there to help me pick up the pieces of my life and get myself back together.


While a resident in HVRP I heard a staff member make reference to “Dublin Man” to a group of residents sitting at a table as I approached, the female staff member departed as I joined the table.  I remember one of the guys saying “So you’re the Dublin man.”  I didn’t know what he meant and he was gently quieted by another resident sitting there with us.  I did not follow up with anyone regarding this and took it to be a reference to the fact that people were talking about the incident that happened at the Stand Down and I was given that moniker to protect my privacy.  I was actually embarrassed to talk about it back then.  Did I flop around like a fish when I passed out or did I just slither off the picnic table bench?  I don’t know; but to think I may have flopped around was embarrassing.  Now, almost 20 years later, I don’t care.  After all this time, any anger I may have had towards EBSD has evaporated as well.  I tried to look up “Dublin Man” recently on the V.A. website and did not find anything.  One would have to surmise that any kind of report regarding my expulsion would have been marked “Confidential – For Internal Use Only.”


I would like to take a moment and point out a couple of things:  that the Stand Down was held at Camp Parks for the first three years and then moved to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California, thereafter – they needed more space.  Also, I have a vague memory that the woman “official” came up to me as I was being escorted from the Stand Down and talked to me.  I do not remember what was said.  Could this lady be the person who “fast-tracked” my application and spoke about me at HVRP?  I don’t remember; it is possible.  And, about whether or not the Head Honcho is a doctor; perhaps one of the other members of the group standing around that day was a doctor, or I just plain mis-remembered, I don’t know.  I realize that after such a long time memories will fade or distort.  Sometimes it feels as if this happened to someone else, almost as if this was a dream, and yet I did live it.


So here we are, back in the present, 2019.  I decided it was time to see if I could find any information on what happened to me from the Stand Down’s point of view.  When checking out the EBSD Org Chart I chose to contact the After Action Officer.  The following emails demonstrate my attempt to gather information.  The first email rehashes my experience already described above and requests assistance from EBSD; I include this email for the sake of completeness.


January 18, 2019 at 3:17 P.M.

Hello Chelle,


My name is Edward XXXXX.  I am a Marine Corps Veteran and was a participant of the 1999 East Bay Stand Down.  Well, kind of a participant.  I hope you will join me on this short trip on the "way back machine" and can see your way to help me.


I am contacting you, as the After Action Officer, to see if perhaps you could help me in my quest to finally get some answers to what happened back in 1999.  For a little background:  back in 1999 I was a full-blown alcoholic and on the verge of homelessness, again.  My girlfriend told me either do something about your drinking or get out -- she meant it.  I agreed to attend the very first Eat Bay Stand Down and seek help for my alcoholism.  


I remember it was in Dublin, California and it was so hot.  I succumbed to the heat and fell victim to either a seizure or heat stroke - I passed out.  This was most likely caused by my extensive drinking prior to attending the Stand Down, coupled with the excessive heat of the day.  I was transported, unconscious, to a hospital and given intravenous electrolytes (it was a nice chartreuse color) -- two bags before I was released.  I don't even remember which hospital it was.  I was taken back to the Stand Down and was put in the midst of a discussion of what to do with me, of all things.  The head honcho said he didn't want me to die on his watch and wanted me gone (he literally said that), out of the Stand Down.  The other people standing around voiced their disagreement, saying that the Stand Down was to help Veterans.  In the end the head honcho guy had his way and I was removed from the Stand Down, taken back to Concord and was left on the street by the V.A. Rep, with an application for rehab in my hand.  The V.A. guy was very nice and apologetic; I remember him asking me "What are you going to do now?"  I also remember that I just shrugged (I don't know).


Well, I did fill out those papers for the rehab and have been sober for 19 years, not a drop.  Recently I had a discussion with another Veteran and this incident in my life was brought back to the forefront of my mind and I would like to find out what happened.  I know what happened to me; I would like to find out what happened to the head honcho and would like to see any reports that refer to me.  There was a reference, while I was in Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program (HVRP) in Menlo Park, to "Dublin Man."  I take that to be a moniker given to me for privacy reasons and would probably have been used in any after action reports, I would think, whether for the East Bay Stand Down and/or the Veterans Administration.  I feel that my application for rehab was "fast tracked" and am eager to find out if that is true as well.  I think those other people standing around that day, arguing with the head honcho, kept a look out for my paperwork.


As the After Action officer for East Bay Stand Down, do you have access to records of these events or can you point me to where I can find this information?  I have no desire to open any old wounds and am not looking to sue anyone, get anyone in trouble or anything like that -- I have no ill will towards anyone involved.  While I am not an attorney, I would think any potential liability is way past statute of limitations.  I only want this information for my own knowledge and maybe will write a story about it.  


Here is a link to a short "article" I wrote in which I had that conversation with another Veteran (Whiskey River); it was an emotional moment:


Perhaps the worst thing I still feel from this whole situation is the fact that my girlfriend didn't believe a word of it; she called me a liar.  As all of us think, the whole idea of the Stand Down was help Veterans - but that day it didn't work out quite that well for me.  To this day she still thinks I lied about that "fantastical event."  So just for peace of mind, if nothing else, I would really like to show some proof.


My telephone number is below if you would like to call me and discuss.  Any assistance you may be able to provide will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.



Edward XXXXX

(650) XXX-XXXX


Chelle, the After Action Officer, was quick to respond and quite nice. 


January 18, 2019 at 3:32 P.M.

Hi Ed -

I appreciate your contacting us with questions about your experiences from 20 years ago at our first Stand Down, and I am sorry it was not what you hoped for. 

I have only handled After Action for the last 6-8 years, I have no documents or memories of what you have described. I am going to forward your email to people who may be able to talk with you, if that is OK with you.

Congratulations on 19 years of sobriety! That is an awesome achievement!



January 18, 2019 at 3:50 P.M.

Hello Chelle,


Thank you, I would appreciate your forwarding my message along to anyone that might be of assistance.  


The Stand Down was my first step towards getting into rehab - so it did serve its purpose for me in that respect - I did get help.  


And thank you for the pat on the back - it's pretty much of a habit nowadays - not drinking alcohol.





I wrote the following thinking that the more information I provided, the better things would be.  It was Saturday night and I wanted Chelle to see it first thing Monday morning.  I was excited that I was possibly going to find out what the decision-making process was back then regarding me.  Was a protocol put in place so it would not happen again?  I was curious.


January 19, 2019 at 10:52 P.M.

Good morning, Chelle, and Happy Monday morning.  


There is another bit of information I would like to share with you that may or may not matter to East Bay Stand Down:  I also reached out to John XXXXX, Program Manager at Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program ("HVRP") in Menlo Park (Front Desk: 650-617-XXXX), to ask if he could help me in my quest; as of this writing, John has not returned my calls (he's a busy guy or may be on vacation, I get it).  I know John from when he was a staff member at HVRP at the same time I was a resident so I was hoping he could possibly help with any records at HVRP.  John has been there a long time.


Should it become necessary, or advantageous, for East Bay Stand Down and the Veterans Administration (whether it be John XXXXX at HVRP or another V.A. representative) to coordinate the gathering of my requested information -- I hereby consent to that coordination, should my consent be required.


And please, let me say again that I would much prefer this be handled in a low-key manner.  No sense in getting people riled up for something that happened almost 20 years ago and, after all this time, probably no one (except me) is going to really care all that much because there is a sort of "happy ending" to this, after all.  


I also wanted to assure you that I hold East Bay Stand Down and the Veterans Administration in the highest regard; I believe in what you do and what you stand for, helping my Brothers and Sisters.  I have had the same doctor at the V.A. for more years than I can remember now, great guy.


I realize this is not a story that one hears every day and can appreciate any skepticism you, or anyone else who may read this, are feeling; remember, my girlfriend called me a liar even when I showed her the needle mark on my arm for the intravenous feed, application papers for rehab and some Desert Storm boots I was allowed to grab before being taken away from the Stand Down.  That was a benefit for me I forgot to mention, I did get new boots.


Thank you again for taking the time to help me with this and I look forward to hearing from someone soon.  


As always, I remain



Edward XXXXX

Semper Fi


And then, BOOM, to my great surprise . . .


January 21, 2019 at 12:15 P.M.



I am Jerry Yahiro and was the Director of the East Bay Stand Down (EBSD), 1999.


I do not recall the incident you related regarding your experience during the 1999 EBSD.  There were some expulsions from the Stand Down but they were for other reasons other than passing out, from whatever the cause/s may have been.


The EBSD, because of the privacy of information, does not retain or track any of the participants that attend the Stand Down.  Therefore, we do not have any records of the 1999 or any EBSDs since.  The After Action Reports (AAR's) only cover what went well and what improvements could be made.  No specific incidents are included in the AAR's.


Congratulations on being clean and sober for 19 years.


Thank you for your service.


Jerry Yahiro

East Bay Stand Down


Can you imagine my excitement when I found out that Mr. Yahiro was there at EBSD 20 years ago AND that he was the “Head Honcho?”  Then you can perhaps feel my disappointment when I read further that he did not remember.  How could he not remember something like that!?  I was feeling some intense emotions at this time and did try to keep them in check as I sent the following.


January 21, 2019 at 2:09 P.M.

Hello Jerry,


It is a pleasure meeting you and thank you for responding.  Thank you, Chelle, for forwarding my query.


Wow!!  I do not doubt your veracity when you say you do not recall the incident; I would have to conclude that what happened to me was not divulged to you, for whatever reason.  If you are in contact with any of the "core group" of official staff from back in 1999, perhaps you could ask around; who was in charge the very first day, with enough authority, to make that decision regarding me?  I assure you, this truly did occur.


I appreciate EBSD does not keep records on participants, but does EBSD keep records of the expenses of the 1999 EBSD?  Someone paid for the ambulance ride and the emergency room visit for me, I didn't.  Would you have kept records of that?  Perhaps the V.A. would have picked up that tab?


Also, if you wouldn't mind helping me with these questions (perhaps Chelle could assist too?):


What were the exact dates for the 1999 Stand Down?  My experience happened on the first day, when lunch was being served (because I remember eating a hot dog when I passed out).  I can't seem to find the exact dates online.  Knowing the dates would help me with the next question.


Which ambulance service and which hospital did the 1999 EBSD partner with?  Were these services pro bono or paid for my EBSD or V.A.?  The Stand Down was in Dublin so I would think it would be local.  Knowing this will assist me in requesting any records from these organizations. 


Is there a possibility that the person who told me to leave the Stand Down was a V.A. doctor?  Did you have a counterpart at the time who was a V.A. doctor?  I do recall at least one of the people sticking up for me refer to the man as "Doctor."


I mentioned to Chelle that I had reached out to the V.A. and have not yet heard back from Mr. XXXXX.  I am attempting to get some information from them as well.  After all, it was the Veterans Administration's application from the Stand Down that I ultimately completed and submitted.


As I also mentioned earlier, after 20 years I just want to know the whole story; it looks like I may have to do some digging.  I very much appreciate the time you have given me and look forward to your answers to my questions.  


Thank you for the kind words, Jerry, I accept them humbly.  


As always, I remain



Edward XXXXX

Semper Fi


After thinking more about Mr. Yahiro’s email for a couple of days and receiving no response to my most recent email, I felt compelled to send the following to the After Action Officer (which, admittedly, I should not have done – I put Chelle in between me and her employer (not a good place for her to be) and I do apologize to Chelle for that; hopefully Chelle will read this one day and accept my apology):


January 23, 2019 at 10:36 A.M.

Good morning, Chelle,


Thank you again for forwarding my emails to Mr. Yahiro.  I have to wonder if Mr Yahiro is Dr. Yahiro.


In my naiveté I thought pretty much everyone who was involved in my expulsion from the 1999 EBSD would be retired or gone now and I would be given a report of the event and all would be hunky dory.  Obviously, I was mistaken.   


After Mr. Yahiro's declination of any remembrance of my expulsion, it has given me more resolve to find personal closure in this matter.  I hope you will find it in your heart to answer those questions I posed to Mr. Yahiro; I will find the answers eventually, it is only a matter of time and effort to request documentation from ambulance and hospital services.  There are also records at the Veterans Administration that, by law, are available to me.  If you have been told not to assist me, I can appreciate your position and wish you no ill will; though I will not relent.


I contend that any attempts at a cover up of my expulsion from the 1999 EBSD would be far worse than the expulsion itself.  With that said, Chelle, I highly recommend you forward all of my correspondence and Mr. Yahiro's letter to legal counsel representing East Bay Stand Down.


I look forward to hearing from EBSD legal representation soon.  


As always, Chelle, I remain



Edward XXXXX

Semper Fi


Hindsight is always 20/20, right?  While I should not have sent the above to Chelle, I do stand by the content of this email.  I probably should have explained my reasoning for recommending that my correspondence be forwarded to EBSD legal counsel, to wit:  if I was a disgruntled Grunt just trying to cause trouble, the lawyers would know how to deal with me and, conversely, when the lawyers figured out I was a reasonable person asking for some closure, they would also know how to manage the situation.  The After Action Officer did her job and forwarded my email, only not apparently to the legal team, to which I received the following:


January 25, 2019 at 3:13 P.M.



As I told you in my email message of January 21, 2019, due to Federal HIPPA regulations we do not retain any records from past East Bay Stand Down (EBSD).  All records of personnel attending the EBSD are destroyed after each EBSD.


Therefore, I cannot help you in your request to provide you any records.


Do what you feel you must do.  However, please cease any further communications with myself or any staff member/s of the EBSD.




Jerry Yahiro


“Do what you feel you must do . . . cease any further communications . . . .”  What?  I understand that all records of participants have been deleted or destroyed, according to HIPPA rules.  I am not asking for names.  What about changes made to standard operating procedures after the first Stand Down?  Was a new protocol put in place to facilitate handling of a similar incident to mine in future Stand Downs?  If Mr. Yahiro cannot remember the incident I described then why won’t he ask some of the other folks who were there in 1999?  As I said earlier, I did not expect anyone from the 1999 Stand Down to still be around but I was proven wrong in that assumption.   Perhaps there are more folks still around; perhaps some of the other Directors?  Why won’t Mr. Yahiro answer my questions regarding who EBSD partnered with as far as medical and emergency transportation services?  Surely that information has not been destroyed or is protected by HIPPA rules.  I feel as if Mr. Yahiro is telling me to go away – you are dismissed. 


Incidentally, Mr. Yahiro’s request that I “cease any further communications with myself or any staff member/s of the EBSD” could arguably run afoul of IRS Code relating to non-profits and certainly does not come close to measuring up to the EBSD’s own stated mission, vis-à-vis, helping Veterans.  While I have not specifically requested to see either Forms 990 or 1023, Mr. Yahiro’s request could be taken as denying my rights as a member of the public.  I stated above my reasoning for recommending that Chelle forward all correspondence to East Bay Stand Down’s legal counsel; this is just another example of why it would have been a good idea.  In hindsight, I should have contacted the Legal Department myself, and still reserve that right, notwithstanding Mr. Yahiro’s request.  As of this writing, I have not heard from EBSD’s legal team.  One could argue, though, that contacting the EBSD Legal Department would be of little use for me anyway because the mandate of the EBSD’s Legal Department would be to protect EBSD and its employees – not help some guy find closure on part of his life that EBSD was involved in 20 years ago.  Besides, I did not and still do not want to cause any trouble for EBSD.


John from HVRP and I finally connected and I very much appreciate him giving me some of his time to hear me out.  While there was no information of me regarding the EBSD in the records available to John, there could still be outlying reports of my experience within the V.A.  A Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) comes to mind; although I have opted to not seek these records at this time.  John and I discussed a lot of things in the 25 minutes we spoke on the phone.  I will not go into great detail of what we spoke, but his words of wisdom did mean a lot, and still do.  Words such as we cannot dwell in the past; we cannot predict the future; we must try to live in the present.  Well, at present, as of this writing, I feel like I described above – as if I were summarily dismissed.  Another conclusion I came to resolve is that I do what is best for me at the present time.  My peace of mind is what matters.  I contend to you again that the V.A. continues to help me pick up the pieces cast aside by EBSD.  At least the V.A. will talk to me.  Thank you, John. 


Just so you understand what I mean – this is not about revenge – I have said several times that I do not wish any ill will on anyone.  I only want to know the whole story on what happened regarding my expulsion from the EBSD in 1999.  At this moment though I do feel resentment; resentment that this person, Mr. Yahiro, basically tells me to go away, tells me you are not my concern then or now, do not contact me further – you do not matter.  I just have to express myself here; I cannot keep my feelings suppressed, it is not healthy.  I’ll get over it but, yes, there are resentments at the present where there were none before I asked for information from EBSD and was rebuked . . . again. 


I would like to pose this question to you:  If you were part of an arguably life or death decision 20 years ago, would you remember it today?  I do.  I cannot say definitively whether or not Mr. Yahiro was the Head Honcho who tossed me out of the Stand Down and put me back on the streets in 1999, though as the self-admitted Director of EBSD 1999, the buck does stop with him.  I strongly doubt there was anyone else there with the authority to kick me out of the Stand Down, other than the Director.  I hold no ill will towards Mr. Yahiro, I never have – he was probably doing what he thought best for the East Bay Stand Down.  I will give Mr. Yahiro the benefit of the doubt and have to believe that he has never again denied anyone else in the way I was denied.  I want to believe that I am the first and only person to have been expelled from the EBSD because of illness, or the threat of illness or even death; not for reasons of misconduct as Mr. Yahiro obliquely refers to in his first email response to me.  Perhaps EBSD has received complaints from some of those expelled Veterans and think I may be one of them.  They would be wrong.  I will say fairly certainly that EBSD has not received an email like mine . . . ever before.


I can imagine a scenario wherein I was expelled from the 1999 Stand Down because there was no protocol in place to prepare anyone for what happened that day.  Maybe the Head Honcho freaked out!  Maybe the Head Honcho didn’t know what to do . . . I did almost die that day.  It would certainly not look good if I had died . . . perhaps contributions would not be as forthcoming for future events as they were for the first Stand Down.  I can also imagine that there was probably no one there to “keep an eye” on me for the whole weekend in case I had another bout of heat stroke, or something, and perhaps the liability was too great for them to keep me there . . . all understandable and, perhaps, even reasonable.  I can accept this type of reasoning at this point in my life; although it would be nice to hear from someone who was there.  You know, something like “Yeah, we kind of blew it, sorry Dude.  We did not and will not let it happen again to another Vet.  We’re so glad everything came out okay for you,” even though I did not request or want an apology when I began to ask questions of EBSD.  I only wanted information.  Chelle did apologize in her response to me, that was very much appreciated, and yet she wasn’t even there in 1999.


Another thing, I keep thinking about those other “officials” who were standing around sticking up for me when the Head Honcho guy was giving me the boot.  What about that young V.A. guy who had to give me a ride back to Concord?  He felt so bad for me and I am sure he was very embarrassed and ashamed to be the one to actually drop me back off in the streets.  I remember it was a very quiet ride back to Concord, about an hour and a half, neither one of us was really interested in small talk.  What about those guys sitting at the picnic table when I passed out?  Do they ever wonder what happened?  I'm guessing here, but I am pretty sure those guys must have really freaked out -- seeing someone pass out and go down while you're having lunch doesn't happen every day.  I keep thinking it would be nice if they knew “that guy” at the Stand Down back in 1999 “made it,” he’s still alive, he got the help he was denied by EBSD and has been sober and productive for almost 20 years; don’t those folks deserve to know?  Is it fair to keep them in the dark, for them to maybe continue thinking about “that guy” they were not allowed to help?  Can we now clear their conscience if they don’t already know?   Where is the compassion for those people?  Maybe, just maybe, one or two of these folks, too, will read this one day.  It is my hope.


Regardless of the fact that I perceive EBSD, and Mr. Yahiro, to be very dismissive towards me and my requests for information, I am all for what EBSD does.  I like and appreciate that they help Veterans and their families and Mr. Yahiro is obviously very good at what he does – he’s been there for 20 years, after all.  In fact, during my research in writing this essay I found that Mr. Yahiro and a group of others started East Bay Stand Down in order to help Vets.  Mr. Yahiro is a co-founder of East Bay Stand Down and I think he is a Veteran himself.  How can I not admire that?  Thank you all, Staff and Volunteers of East Bay Stand Down, for helping my brothers and sisters who have put on the uniform of the United States Military. 


Speaking of research; I finally found the dates for the 1999 East Bay Stand Down on Country Joe – a timeline (of the Country Joe and the Fish band) website, of all places.  The dates were difficult for me to find.  Open the website and click on 1999, then go to September 30 and it shows Country Joe played at the Stand Down for the whole weekend, entertaining the troops.  I just thought I would share that tidbit with you.  Also in the way of research, I have decided to not seek documents from the hospital or ambulance service at this time.  The same goes for any FOIA requests to the V.A.  What good would they do me now anyway?  Mr. Yahiro and the East Bay Stand Down know that I am still alive and will tell my story.


Before I close this story, I would like to bring up the idea of “you create what happens to you.”  I was reminded of this when I visited the HVRP website.  One could argue that if I wasn’t a homeless alcoholic I would not have been in that position in the first place.  That argument has merit.  I’ll own it.  I have always taken responsibility for my actions – always.  One could also argue that if East Bay Stand Down did not extend their hand to me, I would not have been there in the first place either.  It just didn’t work out, did it?


Finally, East Bay Stand Down proudly displays on its website home page: 

Standown is a term used during war to describe the practice of removing combat troops from the field and taking care of their basic needs in a safe area.


We don't leave our wounded behind...


And this one as well:  

A community is often judged by how well it takes care of its own. Serving those who have served our Nation is the primary goal of the East Bay Stand Down.


I certainly feel left behind at this point in time.  Without any input from the EBSD to make me believe otherwise I feel as if I have been summarily dismissed, discarded and denied “taking care of their basic needs in a safe area.”  I was not given a safe haven; I was put back into the “field.”  And now, almost 20 years later, there again will be no assistance for this United States Marine from the EBSD.  It is not my place to judge anyone – I have made many mistakes in my life.  Two times I have reached out my hand to East Bay Stand Down for help and my pleas have been twice denied.


I have unloaded a lot today . . . it feels good  . . . to put forth my story.  I have not spoken of this to very many people in the past 20 years.  In telling this story, I do not seek pity, sorrow, thanks or any such thing from you, the Reader – I only wanted to know why East Bay Stand Down made the decision that was made and to get this off my chest, so to speak.  Was the decision to send me away as I speculated above?  I believe so . . . people freaked and didn’t know what to do.  Do I blame anyone?  No.  I will probably never know the full story as Mr. Yahiro and EBSD refuse to answer my questions and have told me to not contact them again. 


I do take great solace in knowing that there are others who were there that day, September 30, 1999, who know that what I have laid out for you above is a true story, and yet I cannot help but feel a bit of resentment as well, East Bay Stand Down and Mr. Yahiro, they really did leave me behind then and summarily dismiss me today, notwithstanding the great work they have done and will continue to do for others.  How does one reconcile that?


Semper Fidelis


Marty Koval Added Feb 7, 2019 - 6:01pm
Thank you for writing this article about yourself and what you experienced 20 years ago. I commend you for your perseverance to get more details so you could get some closure on the questions you had from the 1999 "EBSD". This doggedness approach is a good trait to have and I imagine it has served you well over the years.
Congratulations in being sober and cleaned over the last two decades and thank you were serving our country.
edinmountainview Added Feb 7, 2019 - 6:17pm
Thanks for taking the time and leaving a comment, Marty.  It was time for me to tell the story.  
Semper Fi
Johnny Fever Added Feb 7, 2019 - 7:00pm
“Mr. Yahiro and EBSD refuse to answer my questions and have told me to not contact them again.”
That is totally misleading.  They don’t recall you.  It’s been 20 years and records back then might not have been put on a computer.  They may also feel you’re angling for some kind of lawsuit. 
edinmountainview Added Feb 7, 2019 - 7:38pm
Hello, Johnny.  That was a great State of the Union address by the President the other day.  I don't think it is misleading at all.  The EBSD did not provide me with dates, hospital and/or ambulance information.  It is possible that the records were not digitally recorded back then, although the hard copy records would still be kept somewhere.  Records that did not contain names, records of events that needed improvement.  If I was angling for a lawsuit, Johnny, I would have done so many years ago and I did mention that in my emails -- that I did not want trouble for anyone -- although, they could have believed that.  I have no way of knowing.  Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment, Johnny Fever.
Semper Fi
The Owl Added Feb 7, 2019 - 9:23pm
The second you suggested the forwarding of information to legal counsel, you shut down any realistic avenues to gaining information through those sources.
Your action.  Your responsibility.
I do not in any way condone the action of the Stand Down management regarding your case.  But, we are only getting your side of the story.
I applaud you for stepping back from the dark place in which you found yourself two decades ago.  And in many ways, you are correct in saying that you were too tired of being too tired and decided to do something about it.  That IS the way people challenge addiction and the hold that it has on one's soul.
My bar bill came close to $15K a year some thirty years ago.  And when I got tired of the hangovers day-after-day, I managed to give myself a healthy raise.
Congratulations on your achievement.   Here's just a suggestion:  Your past is irrelevant; the only cloture you NEED is your sobriety.  You have that.  Look forward, not back.
edinmountainview Added Feb 7, 2019 - 10:37pm
Yes, I agree that bringing up legal counsel shut them down.  I'll own that too.  I have another friend who said the same thing.  
I like to say that there are three sides to every story -- theirs, mine and what really happened.  I wanted to give two sides of the story, unfortunately, I am unable to.  I will probably never know the third side.
This event in my life has been niggling at the back of my mind so I had to finally do something about it.  Your suggestion is an excellent one.  It's not that I live in the past, sometimes the past comes back to haunt in some ways.  I had to take a step back to face what happened in order to go forward.  
Thank you, The Owl, for taking the time to read my essay and leaving a great comment.
Semper Fi
White Hair'd Added Feb 8, 2019 - 4:38pm
Forget it.
See how easily that rolls off the tongue?
I'd like to think that all of us are plagued in some fashion by an event in our past, but don't really know that for sure, since others aren't me. Maybe it's just a "misery loves company" sort of thing.
Our only recourse is to change the way we think about past events, otherwise we set ourselves up for even more actions to overcome.
Changing our own thinking is the hard part.
Good luck and best to you.
edinmountainview Added Feb 8, 2019 - 5:51pm
Hahahahahahaha!  Yes, it does.  You are absolutely correct.  I'm working on it, White Hair'd.  In telling this story, I have disclosed something that I have not talked to anyone about in almost 20 years.  I have had it bottled up inside as if it were some type of secret . . . putting forth my story and attempt to get information from EBSD is part of the process, for me, to "forget it."
"Changing our own thinking is the hard part."  You've got that so right.  It has been my experience over the years that rehabilitation programs, at least the rehabs I have been to, tend to stress behavior modification.  This is not to infer that we are all robots; it teaches us how to use our brain, step back and think about things for a moment, think about consequences before we take any sort of action.  I mention in my story "you create what happens to you" from the HVRP website.  They teach this type of behavior modification -- think before you leap, as well as self evaluation, after one has taken the leap.  
Good luck and best to you as well, White Hair'd.  Thanks for stopping by and giving me some of your time.
Semper Fi
White Hair'd Added Feb 8, 2019 - 6:13pm
I should have mentioned that I am quite familiar with your comments here on others' posts. I have come to see you as well- seasoned and well- reasoned.
Good job.
I've come to see that much of our suffering serves as clues on a treasure map.
Learn we obedience from the things that we suffer.
Ps I don't mind that you say "Semper Fi" to me.
I appreciate those who are threaded headed.
savoir c'est pouvoir
edinmountainview Added Feb 8, 2019 - 6:51pm
Thank you, White Hair'd; I appreciate your saying that.
"savoir c'est pouvoir" -- And with that power we can overcome just about anything.
Semper Fi
Jeff Michka Added Feb 8, 2019 - 8:43pm
Sorry nobody offered you a bottle of gin as a WB welcome.  Here's one to consider grateful ed:  Yashiro (the head honhco) didn't remember the incident, possibly because the event was more important to him than you getting hauled off on a stretcher.  I know rightist egos here are huge, but are/were you really important to anybody other than you at the time?  And if not, so?
edinmountainview Added Feb 8, 2019 - 9:06pm
Hello Jeff,
There is really no need to apologize for not offering me a bottle of gin.  If you had offered me, I would have politely declined, telling you that I am allergic to alcohol.  If you pressed, I would tell you that I am an alcoholic and I do not want that first drink.  The reality of me using the word "alcoholic" sort wakes people up.  For some reason, it appears that folks don't like to talk about it - as if it's taboo.  For me, it is what it is.
My preference was Jack Daniels or George Dickle, sour-mash whiskey.  Loved the stuff.  I also miss the different flavored beers that I was just being introduced to, or the micro-breweries, Samuel Adams, comes to mind.
Yes, I have considered that the event was more important than me being hauled off on a stretcher.  I even alluded to that fact in my January 19, 2019 email to Chelle:
"No sense in getting people riled up for something that happened almost 20 years ago and, after all this time, probably no one (except me) is going to really care all that much . . . "
You never did answer me when I asked you why you called me "Grateful Ed."  As I said when I asked you that question before, I never told you or anyone else on Writers Beat that I am grateful for anything.  You just seemed to attach that name to me, as you attach names to others here on Writers Beat you apparently do not like.  If it makes you feel good, go for it.  I would still appreciate an answer to my question though.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time, Jeff.  We actually agreed on something.
Semper Fi
edinmountainview Added Feb 8, 2019 - 10:38pm
Yes, I realize it is a long tale.  My intent here was to be as complete in telling my story as possible, express my thoughts in a coherent manner and to keep the Reader interested, not necessarily in that order.  It may be that I have swung and missed on at least one of those intentions.  Thank you, Mustafa, for taking the time to read what you did and for leaving an honest comment.
Semper Fi
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 8, 2019 - 10:59pm
ed, I didnt like my comment so I removed it.  Sometimes we lack sense.
edinmountainview Added Feb 8, 2019 - 11:06pm
No problem, Mustafa.  Thanks again.
Semper Fi
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 9, 2019 - 12:16pm
ed, I read it, and it is indeed an impressive tale.
In a strange way I had a similar incident: I was rushed to the emergency room, only to be rejected by them. That is, someone made the decision not to admit me? Was i belligerent? No, Was I dangerous? No.
There are two questions: 1) what happened to me? 2) why did they reject me?
I think the answer to 2) is simple. Whatever I brought to that emergency room was not something they felt capable to deal with. 
As for 1) I still dont know but I am getting a better idea.
Your 1) almost sounds simple from here; a severe case of dehydration and maybe heatstroke.  As for 2) I suppose that answer is simply the same as mine: The head honcho did not feel they had the capability of dealing with whatever you were going through.
I congratulate you on your success in sobriety. Since you successfully navigated that AND you are a marine vet, I suspect that you will not object to my honest assessment;
I think you will benefit substantially by celebrating your success by letting the past go to where it belongs -the past.   Celebrate by living in the present. I wonder if my article on Forgiveness might be of some interest to you.
With Love,
edinmountainview Added Feb 9, 2019 - 3:05pm
Good morning, Mustafa.  I am happy to hear that you survived whatever sent you to the emergency room in the first place. 
I agree with your 1) and 2) assessments.  The Head Honcho just did not know what to do in that situation.  I have come to the conclusion that we can chalk it up to "growing pains."  I don't think I was expelled for the color of my skin, or how tall I was or wasn't -- I just happened to overheat that day and he made a decision.  It was the very first East Bay Stand Down, after all.  He did what he thought best at the moment.  
I enjoyed your article on Forgiveness very much and the comments as well.  I am not one to hold grudges - I have found myself over the years telling myself to "just let it go."  I am by no means a saint - far from it.  When I was a kid my Mom had a nickname for me:  Gordo el Diablo.  While I am not "Gordo" at the moment, some might argue that there is still some "Diablo" left in me.  If the Head Honcho or EBSD needs or wants my forgiveness, they can have it, I give it freely.   
Living in the present is the way to go.  Sometimes, though, the past joins us in the present for a while.
Thank you for giving me more of your time and sharing your wisdom, Mustafa.
Semper Fi
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 9, 2019 - 5:00pm
Ed - what a powerful story. Thanks for sharing so much of your life. Thanks.
edinmountainview Added Feb 9, 2019 - 5:33pm
Even a Broken Clock - You're welcome; although I did write and share this moment in my life for selfish reasons.  
Thank you, EABC, for taking the time; I know it's a long read.
Semper Fi
Jeff Michka Added Feb 9, 2019 - 7:17pm
I missed you asking about me calling you "grateful ed"(a minor bit of humor from the Grateful dEaD.)  Calling you Dead would be rude, and why do you think I "don't like you,' and does that matter?  I'm not here for friendships.  If I'd known you had a taste for Jack D, it would have been offered.  Even if you're trying to stay sober, a little temptation never hurts anyone.
edinmountainview Added Feb 9, 2019 - 10:20pm
Right on!  Thank you, Jeff, I am not dead yet; time is still working on that project.  Hahahahahahaha.  My first thought was something to do with the Grateful Dead.  I should also mention that when folks offer me bottles of booze or wine during the holidays, I always accept these gifts with a “Thank you very much.”  So it might surprise you that I would accept your offer of a free bottle of Jack Daniels.  How much does that cost nowadays?  I then give those gifts to friends or family who like that particular beverage.  Someone will get to enjoy, just not me.
You’re right, we don’t have to be friends and there is no reason I should expect that we be.  For what it is worth, I think you have a clever, bitingly-sarcastic way of getting your point across; even humorous at times.  What shuts it down for me is calling people names.  Do you think your style would be more effective without calling someone names – just laying it out there and stinging them with cleverness, guile and wit?  I think Herb Caen, of three-dot journalism fame, did quite well at that; although he probably did some name-calling of his own.  He and the Alioto Family had an ongoing dislike for each other, back in the day in San Francisco.
Thank you again, Jeff.
Semper Fi
ChetDude Added Feb 9, 2019 - 10:35pm
I'll be hitting my 20 year mark in 49 days.
Congratulations on approaching 20 yourself!
By the way, the first concert I ever saw in San Francisco was Country Joe and the Fish.  Many years later (93 or 94 or so), I played a benefit on the same bill as Joe and had a chance while we were hanging out in the Green room to thank him for that memorable night in '66 at the Avalon...we also had a fine talk about the good ole' days playing music and hangin' out in S.F. in the 60s...
Ah, Herb Caen -- that's where I learned the three dots...
And then there was dapper Charles McCabe (who I met while playing at another club in S.F.) and my favorite column of his titled, "The Tie - Modern Man's Slave Collar!"
edinmountainview Added Feb 9, 2019 - 11:23pm
That's awesome, ChetDude, Congratulations to you, Sir!  San Francisco back in the '60s was stoner-ville for me, and just about everyone else.  hahahahahahahaha!  If my next door neighbor didn't have a bag of weed, we would walk to The Haight and score some on the street; if we wanted beer, there was a store that would sell it to me and my friends -- even though I was only 11 or 12 years old.  Growing up in San Francisco in the 60s and early 70s was quite an education for me.  I don't know your age, ChetDude, but if you were going to the Avalon (I know what folks did there while listening to the music), you have a few years on me, I was never allowed because I was too young -- I did try though.  I was born in '55 so you can figure out my age during those formative years.
I saw Country Joe and the Fish at a Contra Costa County Fair, at least once.  That's cool that you were able to talk to him personally, he has been around for quite a long time.  Obviously, I missed his performance back in 1999.  I wondered if anyone was familiar with three-dot journalism.  I'll have to keep an eye out in the future.
Congratulations to you, again.  Does it seem like it was not too long ago that you quit drinking?  I look back and think, gosh, it doesn't seem as if it's been that long.  Just curious. 
Thank you for stopping by, ChetDude.  I've got to go check out that article from McCabe.
Semper Fi
Cliff M. Added Feb 12, 2019 - 7:36pm
Edinmountainview, Nice job with your recovery.Your 2 years older than me but we both walked in similar shoes.We started drinking about the same age as you. A kid from up the block was an alter boy and started coming home with the Brotherhood alter wine they served at mass. I am a fourth generation Iris alcoholic myself.Was a full blown alcoholic by the time I was 18.Drank for another 8 years before making the change and retiring from alcohol consumtion. Dec 10, 2018 was the 35 year mark of my sobriety from alcohol.From fat,drunk and stupid to married with children in only a couple of years. I am grateful for the 35 years of not one alcohol induced dillema.My adult kids have never seen me take a drink. Now mistakes are honest mistakes and unrelated to being under the control of alcohol.Self respect and respect for others comes easily when not under the influence.I believe I was in 10th grade when you were a senior in highschool. As you get older and wiser you realize what happened in the past is out of your control. The longer I am away from alcohol the more dangerous and scary you realize it is. What happens in the future is under your control.Good luck and thanks for the positive rant.
ChetDude Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:24pm
I saw Country Joe in Dec of 1966 at the Avalon.  Used to go to the Fillmore often from '66-'68.
I used to go over to the Haight after work where we would get thoroughly ripped (mary-j-wana), head down to Franklin and Stanyan, consume about a dozen fresh donuts and then walk up and down  Haight Street with the rest of the counter-culture. 
Good times.  'Till the summer of '67...
I think you may find it difficult to find McCabe's column from the S.F. Chronicle from 1967 about "Modern Man's Slave Collar".  But Herb Caen and McCabe were definitely part of my morning must read along with another guy's strip, who I met later in life in the 70s in Oakland, Dan O'Neill's Odd Bodkins.
I did find an interesting piece about McCabe at this link
I found this bit interesting: "McCabe would arrive at the Chronicle offices at 5th and Mission at what his colleagues called the "ungodly hour" of 8AM. He would feverishly type up his column and then leave before 9AM to get his breakfast of five or six "Green Deaths" at Gino and Carlo, a bar in San Francisco's target="_blank">North Beach neighborhood."
I had a band in '68 and we often played at Gino and Carlo's as well as at the Muir Beach blockhouse where they would book bands to play on Saturdays.  Good times.  I met McCabe and sat down next to him for a beer one night when I was playing Mooney's Irish Pub in North Beach in '72.  Not too long after that, the owner of the pub, Sean Mooney, another prodigious drinker, sat us down and told us we were great -- "too good for this place", and then a few weeks later, fired us.
Since a lot of good things have happened since I quit in '99 and I'm at the point where I not only don't think about drinking I don't even thing about not drinking -- it's just not any part of my life any more.
ChetDude Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:34pm
And it was Dino and Carlo's in North Beach...
edinmountainview Added Feb 13, 2019 - 8:56am
Cliff - thanks and same to you; 35 years is quite a long time.  Congratulations on that!  Sounds like we did walk the same path, just at different times and I think that's great that things worked out for you.  I was a little more thickheaded, I guess, it took me a bit longer to finally figure it out.  I certainly don't miss having to deal with problems related to my drinking either.  You're a pretty smart guy, for a "youngster."  
Thank you for stopping by and giving up some of yourself, Cliff.
Semper Fi
edinmountainview Added Feb 13, 2019 - 9:30am
ChetDude - That was a good article on McCabe.  I wondered what the "Green Death" was.  I also had to chuckle about the chocolate milk part.  The "Prez" of the Hells Angels was one of my next door neighbors.  One morning I walked out of the house and there were choppers up and down the block, almost covering both sides of the street -- and this is a long block.  It was so cool to see all those bikes lined up, all shiny.  They were good neighbors for the most part, from what I can remember.  I grew up on the edge of The Mission and Noe Valley areas, on Sanchez Street, between 22nd and 23rd.  
I don't remember Dan O'Neill.  I don't know too much about North Beach life, other than I was arrested in that area in '72.  Crazy stuff, man.  Mooney fired you two weeks later - that made me laugh.  
Most times I don't really think about drinking one way or another; although there are times (less frequent now) that I have found that I put myself in the wrong place and having to deal with it. 
Thanks again and I appreciate your taking a walk on memory lane with me.
Semper Fi 
edinmountainview Added Feb 13, 2019 - 9:32am
Cliff - I just had to come back and tell you how much I agree with what you said, especially:  "Now mistakes are honest mistakes and unrelated to being under the control of alcohol.Self respect and respect for others comes easily when not under the influence."
Very well said, Cliff.
Semper Fi
Cliff M. Added Feb 13, 2019 - 2:00pm
edinmountainview, The reason I quit younger is that I was on the accelerated path to destruction.A good quote that always sticks in my mind is "Sooner or later you must conform or you will not survive". I never served in the military. They ended the draft the month I turned 18.My dad joined the marines in 1944 . Signed up right in Times Square, his old neighborhood when he was 16 and served in the Pacific. Value your sobriety. The further you get from alcohol consumption the more you realize how evil it can be.
edinmountainview Added Feb 13, 2019 - 5:00pm
Cliff - You did a good job for yourself.  I feel comfortable in my "sober skin" most of the time; sometimes I have to be on guard though, still.  That is a mighty strong quote, a reality-check kind of quote.  I'll keep that in mind.  If your Father is still around, please give him a handshake for me, I would appreciate that.  I've lived the evil of alcohol and have seen what it does to some of my friends as well, as in DUIs.  I won't drink over this EBSD matter, they don't have that kind of power of me; in fact, I've never even considered it.  They did make me angry though, I do admit that; but that is easily pushed aside.
Thanks, Cliff.
Semper Fi
Cliff M. Added Feb 14, 2019 - 7:29am
Ed, If you feel that negative energy building turn it around and do something positive.My dad passed away on Martin Luther Kings birthday 2 years ago at 88. he was a good role model that fought the good fight.I was a train wreck as a kid but he never gave up on me.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 14, 2019 - 6:46pm
A bottle of Jack costs too much, at least up here farther on the West Coast.  Regifting must be fun for you, grateful...If you have a problem, glad you can control it.  As to "name calling," in my time on WB, I've been called every name in the book, had my family repeatedly verbally attacked and smeared and never whined once, and yet rigytists get all bent out of shape over "names."  Can't take it when their shit gets pushed back on them, always falling back on " calling names becuase you can't 'debate.'"  I don't know what I can rationally say to people calling me everything from "...a filthy Jew," to "dirty commie (or dirty Marxist,etc." and everything in between, including accusing me of being "a school shooter" by some clown that admitted homeless people scared him when he rode a bicycle near a homeless camp.  Gee...baaaaad Jeff.  Nope.  Stay sober if that floats your boat or keeps you alive, grateful ed.
edinmountainview Added Feb 14, 2019 - 7:05pm
Cliff - Sorry for your loss; my Mom is 87 and hasn't given up on me yet, either.  It's all good; I'm usually able to talk things out.  Thanks, Cliff.
Semper Fi
edinmountainview Added Feb 14, 2019 - 7:12pm
Jeff - hahahahahahaha!  That's okay, no need to offer me a bottle of anything and thanks for your support.
I see your point, Jeff.  I still think you have a good style of writing.
Semper Fi
Jeff Michka Added Feb 14, 2019 - 8:45pm
TY, grateful ed.  Stay alive, that's the important stuff, lubricants are not.
edinmountainview Added Feb 14, 2019 - 9:12pm
You're welcome, Jeff, and well said, I might add.
Semper Fi

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