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VA Secretary Addresses 65th Annual AMVETS Convention
Date:8/13/2009

had to say on the issues that matter most to our organization,” said AMVETS National Commander John C. Hapner. “The VA has the obligation to care for our men and women who bear the scars of war. We’re eager to see how the secretary and the Obama Administration will implement their ambitious agenda to meet the needs of all our warfighters, past and present.”

Shinseki also took the time to applaud the work of AMVETS dating back to WWII, when the founders had the foresight to create an organization designed to address their unique needs, while also allowing for the organization to grow and adapt to the benefit of generations yet to come.

Louisiana VA Secretary Lane Carson, a member of AMVETS and Vietnam veteran, was also on hand to address the AMVETS delegation. Carson discussed how the work of AMVETS was personal in nature to him and how the organization ensured that his needs were met when he returned from war.

Both secretaries Shinseki and Carson took a moment to address the VA Medical Center issue in New Orleans.

The city has been without a full service VA Medical Center for four years. Plans are in the works to build a facility with Louisiana State University that would be ready to open in 2013. However, construction of the new facility has been delayed over a variety of disputes ranging from land acquisition issues to hospital board staffing.

“We will build this hospital,” Shinseki said, opening his remarks. Shinseki acknowledged that since Hurricane Katrina, the city has had to build its medical infrastructure from the ground up. Today, New Orleans VA clinics are at ninety percent pre-Katrina capacity, making the new hospital an imperative for the local veterans’ community.

Throughout the week, AMVETS will also host retired Lt. Gen. Cha Tai-Chen, the Veterans Affairs Secretary General of Taiwan, and retired Rear Adm. Cheng Shieh, director of the Veterans Service
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