Military and civilian leaders broke ground Monday on the Hinesville VA Clinic, which will provide veterans with primary care and expanded specialty treatments closer to home.
Wearing hard hats and sharing one shovel, Ralph H. Johnson VAMC director Carolyn Adams, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) and Col. Ronald Place, commanding officer of Winn Army Community Hospital, dug into a box of soil to represent construction’s beginning.
Though a 5,000-square-foot temporary clinic offers primary and mental health care, the 23,348-square-foot permanent location will have six primary care professionals as well as pharmacy, radiology, optometrist, women’s health and transition and case management services, according to Tonya Lobbestael, public affairs officer for the Charleston-based regional VA system.
The project is slated for completion in spring 2014, and construction crews should be on the site within weeks, Lobbestael said.
Leaders spoke about the project’s importance during a ceremony.
“Collaboratively, the healthcare services for our retirees and veterans have significantly increased. And this is a physical manifestation of the will of both the American people and Congress … to understand the service that the men and women have given,” Place said.
Thomas thanked the VA and MEDDAC for providing a facility that treats veterans and families and said it will offer a place to seek care and to reflect.
The temporary clinic has provided more than 15,000 appointments to 2,400 veterans, Adams said. The new facility is expected to serve up to 7,200 patients.
Kingston spoke about appreciation for soldiers and the importance of preserving freedom.
“I think that’s one of the great things that we’re doing here today is showing the veterans that we appreciate the sacrifice that they have made on behalf of our freedom,” he said.
Read more in the Jan. 19 edition of the News.