I often tell people I didn’t set out to be a high-profile Whistleblower. Instead, it found me. And in doing so, my life changed completely.
I’m not sure how much you know about my story, but if you heard about the waits and delays in VA health care that hurt our nation’s veterans the past few years, it means you have some knowledge. I suppose you can suffice to say I was the Whistleblower who pulled the effort together to expose and stop them from doing this to our veterans. When I reached out to Dr. Sam Foote about what the Phoenix VA Health Care leaders were doing with the waitlist for our veterans, he was mad. But being an ethical person, he first said he needed to verify the info I was giving him. When he did, Sam was upset. He tried to get the VA Office of the Inspector General to listen, but they didn’t. I could have told him that, as I was reaching out anonymously to them and others to stop this madness too. But after five attempts from Sam, where he signed his name, he told me he would “need to retire to blow the whole thing wide open.” I told him I would help him, and I did. Together we developed a plan that informed Congressional Members, media outlets, and VA leadership.
Fortunately for us, it worked. When the exposure finally hit the news media, I had been “banished to the basement for 16 months. I can tell you more about the banishment and how it happened, but in doing so, I’d rob you of the suspense in the first few chapters of my book A Sacred Duty.
While going through the “banishment,” I kept several logs, and some were from my legal wranglings, others were personal journeys, and some were lists of evidence. In the end, we exposed them, they had to quit what they were doing, and I was fortunate enough to win my whistleblower case.
After a 22-month court battle, I needed to heal, and I had some new VA bosses who could empathize with my journey. After all, they knew about my personally humiliating ordeal. The depression was still lingering, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake the loss of my Phoenix VA Public Affairs Officer job.
So I did what most writers do, and with tons of encouragement, I wrote a book about my Whistleblower journey. And that is the condensed version of how A Sacred Duty came about.
A colleague, Doug Williams, became fascinated by the story. We worked together and refined it. Then to ensure we were on the right track, Doug submitted it to a few competitions. We were honored to win two of them. The first was the Book Pipeline Award Grand Prize which hailed the book as a remarkable adaptation to a screenplay. The second was a Novel Writing Competition through Skyrocket Press which meant publishing. On November 11, 2021, A Sacred Duty was born.
Although the book journey took a while, it’s been an exciting ride. The reviews are primarily favorable. Perhaps though, what is most touching are the responses I get from people I don’t know who read the book and send a note. Like this one from Linda…”I just finished your book A Sacred Duty. WOW. Your story keeps me inspired to see that my hubby gets the best VA benefits and care that he is eligible for and due him for his sacrifice to our country. God Bless you and your family.”
We’ve had several media interviews, as many are fascinated by the story. It’s a compelling tale of government corruption, and in the end, the little guy wins.
We hope you will have a chance to read A Sacred Duty soon. Most people buy it on Amazon, but it is available by asking for it through Changing Hands Bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Target, and most of your favorite booksellers. If you’re here in Phoenix, I’d be happy to bring books to sell at your book club and attend a reading with you. Either way, we hope you will enjoy the story of A Sacred Duty.
Order your copy today on Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Duty-Paula-Pedene/dp/1947394045
When you’re done, we’d love for you to leave us a review.
My best to you!