VA talk of veterans' townhall in Midland - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

VA talk of veterans' townhall in Midland

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(06/09/14) - In recent weeks, we've heard a lot about long wait times at Veterans Administration health care facilities around the nation.

Monday afternoon, a Midland-based senator hosted a town hall meeting for veterans, who had a lot of questions and concerns.

Ivor Alcorn sat near the front of the room to hear from Army National Guard Major General Greg Vadnais.

"This is the first time for me in 22 years," said Alcorn, who is with the 1460th Transportation Company.

Alcorn is happy to see someone listening, and so is Frantt Whitehill.

The Vietnam vet came to represent his chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. He's seen many friends struggle.

"For the new person who's never dealt with the VA before, it's hard," Whitehill said.

"And I know that first hand because it has failed to serve me for over seven years," said Chuck Cote, a Vietnam veteran.

Cote is frustrated with his ongoing battle with the VA after his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Vadnais was frank about problems like that, calling the recent VA scandal "terrible" and "an embarrassment".

But he says, there are other veteran concerns. "From healthcare to housing to jobs," he said.

Senator John Moolenaar, who chairs the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security Committee, hoped to learn how he could do more.

"We can't speak on behalf of the VA in this situation, but we can certainly hear those concerns and become advocates for our veterans," said Sen. Moolenaar, a republican who represents the 36th district.

"Something's got to change because the system's broken," Alcorn said.

The meeting was held at the Midland Army, home of the 1460th, which is deployed right now in Afghanistan. Tentative plans have the 151 members returning in September.
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