Lake Charles' new VA clinic to open in weeks - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles' new VA clinic to open in weeks

Source: Christian Piekos Source: Christian Piekos
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

For the first time, media was allowed inside Lake Charles' new Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic, albeit only into preliminary entry rooms. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter was given a more extensive, in-depth tour of the facility.

"To have veterans walk into a facility and feel honored and get the respect they deserve and the medical attention they so desperately deserve is a great thing for this area," Hunter said.

The new 24,000-square-foot clinic will provide countless services to veterans. James Jackson, a Vietnam veteran, said Lake Charles has come a long way since the VA inception in the Lake Area.

"Up until about eight years ago, we had nothing," Jackson said. "If you wanted to see the VA, you had to go to Lafayette, to Jennings, or Alexandria."

The construction of the new clinic offers promising care for the thousands of veterans living in Southwest Louisiana. Perhaps most important will be the facility's emphasis on mental health treatment.

"That's a very important term: proper mental health treatment," Jackson said. "Very good doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and workers who are willing to work with you and talk with you."

Hunter acknowledged Lake Charles' less than stellar past for veteran care; he has high hopes for the clinic's future.

"Some of you may have been a little disappointed in the past, some of you may have become frustrated in the past," Hunter said. "Well, today's a new day."

Hunter is calling on the community to volunteer at the clinic, too. He wants hundreds to sign up to volunteer.

Jackson served his country for 28 years in the U.S. Army. He said it's time for the country to return the favor.

"They will be able to properly deal with the veteran in a professional setting - the veteran won't have to drive 60 miles one way," Jackson said. "We're going to have enough staff here where if the veteran gets in trouble, they can come out and say, 'I got to have help.' "

The clinic is on schedule to open on August 28.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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