Placido Salazar psalazar9@satx.rr.

com "To care for those who Bore the Battle"
Congratulations, Secretary Eric Shinseki. With all due respect, now ….. what about the more than 120,000 mostly Mexican-American impoverished U.S. Veterans in The Deep South Texas Rio Grande Valley, who decades later, still have to travel more than 500 miles round-trip to Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio – or, at least those who are still medically and financially ABLE to make the trip? I believe our Valley Veterans are also entitled to the earned, “…..care for those who Bore the Battle!!!” I find it hard to believe that 120,000 Veterans, are so easy to forget. All our politicians, including President Barack Obama, have been making EMPTY PROMISES just before each election, for decades, which only give false hope, to our just-as-Patriotic Mexican-American Veterans. Some of us, Valley Veterans, have visited with you personally in DC and with numerous congressmen on several occasions, traveling at our own expense, but for some reason our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. An Anglo Veteran “Winter Texan” from another state once made the comment to VA executive Tim Shea that, “If more of these Veterans gathered here today, were light-skinned and blue-eyed like me, they would already have the full-service VA hospital which they need.” I cannot help but wonder, if he was right. General Shinseki, you have yet to reply to any of our requests for action on behalf of these forgotten Veterans. I respectfully request at least two minutes of your time, to respond/address this life or death matter. Unfortunately, TIME – is not on our side. Too many of our Rio Grande Valley Veterans who are no longer physically able to make the arduous trip to San Antonio and back, have no choice but to abandon their hard-earned and badly needed VA medical treatment in San Antonio – and wait for an early death. We find that very hard to accept – and that compels us to demand VA and congressional action, perhaps at the risk of appearing disrespectful.

For several years, I have been losing U.S. Veteran relatives and friends who died at an early age, because of serious illnesses, which should have been ruled servicerelated, had they been able to medically substantiate, but for the distance involved. South Texas’ young men and women, have always been among the first in the front lines of every American war, many return seriously injured or never return!!! But after the war, sad but true - we are afforded less respect or appreciation than yesterday’s underwear. We keep reading about VA’s new or remodeled facilities in others parts of the country. Don’t you believe that our U.S. Veterans deserve at least the courtesy of some type of an answer, regarding a full-service VA facility, with in/out patient and long-term health care facility, in the proximity of their homes? These super-low income Veterans and their families cannot afford to travel several times a month, or even once a month, to visit their loved-one, when the Veteran is hospitalized for any extended time. The Booz-Allen-Hamilton $800,000 "study" commissioned by then-Senator Kay B. Hutchison, came up with the #1 finding, that: “a small VA hospital should be built (in The Valley)," which I presume would be added-on-to as more Veterans were aware of it – and sought their service earned VA medical care. THAT study is buried somewhere..... hopefully not with military honors. Building the much-needed 24/7 full-service VA hospital in The Rio Grande Valley, would not only help the 120,000 U.S. Veterans in the Valley, but would also enable Audie Murphy VA Hospital, to provide more-timely and detailed medical service to every Veteran it presently serves through-out half of the State of Texas, (Laredo, Del Rio, Midland, Johnson City, Schulenburg, Goliad, Corpus Christi, etc.) instead of waiting more than a year, for follow-up appointments. Respectfully, Placido Salazar, USAF Retired Vietnam Veteran

Veterans’ Legislation Liaison Dr. Hector P. Garcia American GI Forum Org of TX Inc ---------------------------------Secretary Shinseki…, from the Veterans of Texas and Austin… very well done! The New Austin Outpatient Clinic (AOPC) facility is absolutely the epitome of this Nation’s promise, “To care for those who Bore the Battle” The new stand-alone clinic is an absolutely stunning 250,000 SF Clinic, sitting astride 35 acres of beautifully landscaped (ample) parking. The garden view upon approach is captivating toward the two story glass curtainwall and entryway. Further, the esthetic beauty is beyond comprehension; absolutely & totally inspiring upon entry; completely uplifting Spiritually, Mentally and Physically. The clinic constitutes a total healing environment, much befitting Veteran Warriors. The facilities expansive Primary Care and expanded Specialty Care Clinics are welcoming beyond all anticipation; and unfold in a warm and inviting array of new services, inclusive of: Oncology, GI, Endoscopy, New Women’s Clinic, ENT, Minor Surgery, Cytology, Urology, etc. However, the building now sits strangely quiet; without the much anticipated hustle & bustle of equipping & furnishing, to deliver Veteran care in early May as forecast. Why? Please end the Temple VA bottleneck and allow the final delivery synchronization to continue so that the new clinic can open on schedule by early May 2013, and to avoid wasting over one million dollars a month. Thank you.

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