Andrea Gentry is a personal caregiver who lives in Roanoke County. Claire Pierce is a paralegal who lives in Stafford. Cathy Hockman lives near Chesapeake. She’s a food service manager.
The three women have something in common: for years each has tangled with Virginia’s antiquated, confounding, insufficient workers compensation system, on behalf of loved ones who’ve been grievously injured on the job.
Now they’re taking hard lessons they’ve learned and are trying to help others. Together, they’ve formed the Virginia Injured Workers Network. They launched it in July on Facebook.
It’s a support group and information exchange for injured workers and their loved ones who feel lost in a system that’s supposed to help them. In far too many cases, it does anything but that.
“I want it to be something where injured workers and their families can come and say, ‘This is the problem we’re having. Where do we go from here?’ and get some answers,” Andrea Gentry told me. “Because that’s the problem Mike and I had.”
The ultimate goal is for the network to grow into a grassroots organization that will advocate for changes to the system.
You’ve read about Gentry before in this column. Her husband Mike was a satellite dish installer who, while working alone, fell off a ladder and landed on his head one day in 2009 during an installation at a home in Southeast Roanoke.
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