We’re proud to serve our veterans

Today, Nov. 11, we pause to honor more than 20 million living veterans who answered a nation’s call.

For more than 241 years of independence, patriots like them have stood watch over our liberty.

Veterans’ sacrifices have given us the security and freedom in which to grow and flourish as a nation — in law, human rights, economics, science and technology, business and the arts.

Every day is Veterans Day at Veterans Affairs (VA) — as it is our honor to help the nation repay its debt to America’s veterans.

To keep that covenant, VA is modernizing the way it delivers support to better meet the ever-increasing demand for their benefits and care. Our measure of success will be the timeliness and the quality of the services and support we provide to veterans, not our promises.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is undergoing a transformation lead by Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin.

Secretary Shulkin’s five priorities include greater choice, modernizing systems, focusing resources, improving timeliness of care and suicide prevention.

In this region, the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center at 2907 Pleasant Valley Boulevard in Altoona, Blair County, and our VA outpatient clinics in DuBois, Huntingdon, Indiana, Johnstown, and State College are following Dr. Shulkin’s lead and working to improve services for the 26,000 Veterans in the 14-county region (Clinton and Centre counties included) we serve.

I am very proud to be part of this VA community for just over one month as director, and I am proud to serve veterans in our region.

I can tell you that the staff are second to none, and veterans are the highest priority.

We continue to evaluate the services that are needed in our communities and we are creating unique ways to meet the needs of veterans ranging from home-based primary care to telehealth.

Bringing the right services to veterans at the right time and in the right place is the most important work we do at VA.

We want veterans to choose VA because they want to, not because they have to.

To all those who have faithfully served, and those serving today, we thank you.

If you are or you know a veteran who is not enrolled for VA health care, I encourage you to complete an application to determine whether you are eligible to receive free VA health care.

Call us if you want more information 1-877-626-2500.

Sigrid Andrew is director of the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Altoona.