OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego VA Outpatient Clinic celebrated the official opening of its new location Thursday.
A large crowd, the majority veterans, was on hand for the ceremony and ribbon cutting at the 437 State Route 104E, Oswego, facility.
It is about 4,000 square feet.
United States Congressman Bill Owens (23rd District) was the guest speaker.
Charles Robbins Sr., president and CEO of CR Associates, served as the master of ceremonies. He is a veteran of the Korean War.
â€œWe operate approximately 30 contracts around the country with the VA. Weâ€™re the largest provider of services to the veterans,â€ said his son, Charles Robbins Jr., senior executive vice president.
They take care of about 50,000 veterans, he added.
The Oswego facility will take care of the needs of approximately 2,200 veterans, he said. It will provide basic primary care services such as X-rays and lab work.
â€œThey are all enrolled here. Itâ€™s a dedicated facility. They are all under contract to the VA,â€ he explained. â€œOswego Health was operating it. We have a good relationship with them. We have contracts with them for lab and X-ray.â€
One of the reasons the facility was moved was to make it more centrally located, according to Owens.
â€œTheyâ€™re serving around 2,100 veterans and they want to increase that number and make it more accessible and more modern, which I think is very important for veterans ranging from World War II all the way up to Iraq and Afghanistan,â€ the congressman told Oswego County Today.com
â€œThis is the kind of facility we need to see created. We have a situation where we try to partner with the local hospitals. Thatâ€™s very important, when you have these clinics and someone comes in who needs additional care, they can immediately be sent over to the hospitalâ€™s emergency room,â€ he continued.
â€œThe VA up here is just outstanding,â€ Robbins Jr. said. â€œThey are very hands-on; they get things done with us.â€
â€œCR Associates is running many of our clinics around the country. And what weâ€™re giving here in Oswego is just one way of showing appreciation for what our vets did for us,â€ said James Cody, the director of the Syracuse VA Medical Center/Clinics. â€œQuality health care and services is just one way we can say thank you for what theyâ€™ve done for us.â€
Owens can trace his familyâ€™s military roots back to the Civil War; he had a great-grandfather who served on the Monitor.
â€œThis is an example of getting things done,â€ he said of the facility.
Oswego Tourism Director Fred Crisafulli presented the congressman with a city pin on behalf of the mayor.
It is really important to have the clinic in Oswego County, note Donna Kestner, the Veterans Service Officer for Oswego County.
â€œWe get a lot of good reports (about the care at the clinic),â€ she said.
William T. Shinnick, president of the Fulton Veterans Council, said at first there was a bit of concern by some about moving the clinic.
â€œBut, I think the transition has gone smoothly. Itâ€™s a beautiful facility,â€ he said. â€œWhen someone calls about something, they help them right away; theyâ€™re right on the ball.â€
Also taking part in the ceremony were John LaClair, the 2010 Fulton Veterans Councilâ€™s Veteran of the Year; Richard Brown, chief chaplain of the Syracuse VA Medical Center/Clinics; Sue Doan, senior state veterans counselor â€“NYS; Dorothy Benavidez, senior vice president CR Associates; Father Mortiz Fuchs, a World War II veteran and member of the Fulton Veterans Council; and the â€œF.R. Sussey Composite Squadronâ€ of the Civil Air Patrol.