What to do when you get caught in the eye of the storm? If you're Patricia Driscoll, the answer is to keep pushing through it.
Driscoll, the girlfriend of recently suspended NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, spent part of this week on Capitol Hill trying to promote legislation that would help active and former military members with mental health issues.
Through her duties as head of the Armed Forces Foundation, Driscoll has been relentless in trying to get Congress to take action on various initiatives to help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
And with an election year making senators and U.S. representatives more sensitive to positive and negative publicity, Driscoll knows now is her time to pounce – even if the aftermath of Busch's suspension created extra stress. She met with elected officials and was confident they saw her side, because "I can get evil when they don't play ball," she said with a laugh.
"The problem is that we have seen suicides among military members and vets skyrocket out of control," Driscoll said Friday. "I believe that we need to extend mental healthcare benefits under the current active duty insurance for 18 months, even when someone has been separated from the military."
Driscoll believes there is a "huge gap" between the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense, which is causing thousands of ex-servicemen to slip through the cracks.
"In most people, PTSD will manifest itself within 18 months of being deactivated from service," she said. "I believe this legislation will save lives and a lot of money (for) the government in the long run."
Driscoll said she is "absolutely" optimistic the legislation will get through, likely as an amendment attached to the National Defense Authorization Act. It won't get chopped off, she said, because what elected official would want to come out against helping military members recover?
"If they did, I would say to them, 'How dare you not take care of our service members and follow through on the promises you made to them when they entered the military?'" she said.
The National Defense Authorization Act is the same bill that contains a proposal to eliminate military sponsorship of NASCAR teams. Driscoll has helped push to get that piece of the legislation killed and is confident it won't pass.
"I don't believe we can allow Congress to take away the military's decision on how to spend recruiting dollars," she said.
At any rate, Driscoll hasn't exactly crawled into a hole after Busch's suspension. If anything, she's sticking to her very public routine.