Veterans clinic a real positive

A slate of dignitaries was on hand last week for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Georgetown Veterans’ Outpatients Clinics, and smiles and optimism were shared by all.

This couldn’t have come at a better time for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. National attention has focused on poor conditions of many VA facilities, as well as lackluster healthcare for veterans. Add in the influx of wounded veterans from our current wars, and an aging populous of veterans from previous campaigns, and it’s easy to see that new facilities that can carry a heavier load are necessary.

With the new facility, Delaware now has a VA hospital in New Castle County, a community-based outpatient center in both Kent and Sussex counties, a soldier’s home in Milford and two veterans’ cemeteries. That’s impressive for a state the size of Delaware, and signifies a serious commitment to the health and welfare of our veterans in this state.

Does it necessarily signify that the situation is perfect? Far from it — and the situation with healthcare in general in this nation is far from perfect. There are still veterans not receiving proper physical and mental health attention, and awarded benefits are still far below par.

However, it is a good sign that the facilities are upgrading, and it’s a greater sign for this community that Delaware’s national officials are pushing hard to improve the condition of veterans’ care in this region.

“It’s extraordinary,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) on the new Georgetown facility. “Now, they can receive their basic care here, which will lead to preventive care and a much higher quality of life. I have a hunch, and maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I am going to say it anyway, that Delaware has the best veteran care in the United States.”

Hyperbole or not, the commitment is uplifting.

Our community is filled with veterans from World War II through our current conflicts in the Middle East. It is a diverse combination that may not share anything else amongst each other than a quiet brotherhood of those who served.

But now they can receive medical care in a modern facility adequately equipped to treat more than 4,000 patients a year, as well as be exposed to other services provided by the center.