Officials cut ribbon on VA clinic

PARSONS – Nearly 100 people gathered Monday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a clinic that provides much-needed services to local military veterans.

The newly built Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center Tucker County Community Based Outpatient Clinic, located at 260 Spruce St. in Parsons, offers 3,375 square feet, compared to the previous clinic, which had only half the space.

The new clinic has three exam rooms and a large conference room suitable for new programs, including those for weight reduction, diabetes education and others.

Even though the clinic is new, emcee Ronald Sandreth Jr., operations manager, said officials brought along as much of the old clinic as possible.

“The family board, known as the wall of fame, was transferred to the new clinic,” Sandreth said. “Also clocks, pictures and items made and donated by veterans will find a home in the facility.”

Sandreth said the clinic has a huge display case in its entry way.

“We will be soliciting items from the community to fill the case,” Sandreth said. “It will be a revolving display. We are also asking for veterans to submit photos for the Wall of Honor. We already have 17 photos and are looking for more.”

Keynote speaker for the ribbon cutting, Beth M. Brown, the medical center’s director, said the VA Clinic in Tucker County was created 19 years ago.

“Today, this facility offers three exam rooms and a large conference room to serve the veterans in the area,” Brown said. “We have telemedicine capability and we can do more with labs. Tucker County is our most rural clinic.”

Brown said she was proud the Tucker County Clinic can provide services closer to home and in a more timely manner.

Local veteran Bobby Phillips presented Brown with a U.S. flag that was flown over the nation’s capital.

Tucker County Commission President Mike Rosenau said he is excited by the opening of the clinic.

“It is a great asset,” Rosenau said. “It is especially wonderful for local veterans who have given so much so we can have freedoms.”

Diane Hinkle, a Tucker County commissioner, said the new facility is wonderful.

“I think it is great that the VA invested in and placed a facility here in Tucker County,” Hinkle said. “It is a wonderful tribute to our veterans. They can see a physician locally and having this facility here is a blessing. It employs local people and the facility was built by local contractors and financed through a local bank.”

Commissioner Lowell Moore said Monday was a big day for Tucker County.

“This is a great facility and I want to thank veterans both from the past and the present for their service,” Moore said. “I am glad the VA chose Tucker County for this clinic that serves veterans in seven counties.”