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Message from the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson, June 2:
“Not all veterans are getting the timely access to the healthcare that they have earned. Systemic problems in scheduling processes have been exacerbated by leadership failures and ethical lapses. I will use all available authority to swiftly and decisively address issues of willful misconduct or mismanagement.
“VA’s first priority is to get all veterans off waiting lists and into clinics while we address the underlying issues that have been impeding veterans’ access to healthcare. The president has made clear that this is his expectation.
“Even as we implement these immediate actions, we will work with veterans service organizations, members of Congress, academia, public and private organizations, and with all other agencies and institutions that can help us move forward.
“We will also continue to depend on the faithful service of VA employees and leaders who place the interests of veterans above their own, those who serve veterans with dignity, compassion, and dedication, and who live by VA’s core values: integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.
“Finally, as we accelerate our access to care, we will not lose sight of the fact that the quality of VA healthcare remains strong. Ten years of external validations have consistently shown that, on average, veterans who use VA healthcare rate our hospitals and clinics as high or higher in customer satisfaction than patients give most of the nation’s private sector hospitals.
“On behalf of all veterans, I express my appreciation to Secretary Shinseki for his leadership of VA. For decades to come, veterans will benefit from the transformation begun in the past five years.
“Thank you for your support and dedication to veterans and our mission to serve them.”
On June 14, we celebrate Flag Day. This day provides us with the opportunity to fly our flags and to replace any that are so faded, worn or frayed as to no longer be respectful of what they represent. Once again, American Legion Mullins-Nickerson Post 108 is collecting unserviceable American and Colorado flags for proper retirement and disposal.
Flags in unserviceable condition should be disposed of with dignity. The American Legion provides this service and worn flags may be turned in between now and June 13 to any Legionnaire, or left at the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse, Pagosa Fire Protection District Station No. 1 at 191 N. Pagosa Blvd., or Vega Insurance and Financial Services at 818 Rosita St. Flags may also be brought to the Legion Hall on Hermosa Street on Saturday, June 14.
Retirement and disposal ceremonies are planned to follow the post’s U.S. 84 clean-up activities that morning, time to be announced. The public is welcome.
The office of Archuleta County Veterans Service Officer provides assistance to qualified military veterans, and their families, or a veteran’s survivors, in applying to and in obtaining U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs program assistance, benefits and claims. This assistance is provided within the guidelines, policies and procedures established by the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is a mandated program of the State of Colorado.
For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and email is email@example.com. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
I will be out of the office on the following days for regularly scheduled meetings:
• Vets4Vets: Tuesday mornings, 9 a.m.-noon.
• Arboles Community Center, first and third Thursdays. Back around 2 p.m.
• Pagosa Outreach Connection, 8:30-10 a.m. every Thursday.
• Home visits/Pine Ridge outreach, second and fourth Thursdays, back at 2 p.m.
The following veterans’ groups meet in Pagosa Springs:
• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Quality Resort.
• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday at 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte: 731-1025.
• Point Man Ministries’ Breakfast for Veterans: 8:30 a.m. each Tuesday at Buffalo Inn, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Vincent: 731-2769, firstname.lastname@example.org.