‘You’ve earned it’: Northern Colorado VA Outpatient Clinic officially opens in Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald

‘You’ve earned it’: Northern Colorado VA Outpatient Clinic officially opens in Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald

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Editor’s note: This article has been changed to include the address of the new clinic.
The Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Healthcare System presented a gift, one they described as well earned, to local veterans Friday as the Northern Colorado VA Outpatient Clinic officially opened its doors after years of preparation and construction.
The more than 76,000-square-foot facility at 4575 Byrd Drive in north Loveland celebrated its grand opening with speeches, a ribbon cutting and tours of the state-of-the-art clinic. Local veterans, officials, VA system members and even Sen. Michael Bennet packed a covered area just outside the front doors to celebrate the opening of the new clinic, which has been described as a one-stop shop offering mental health services, outpatient care, pharmacy, physical therapy, dentistry and more.
Paul Roberts, medical center director, said during his speech that he believes there are two kinds of people: “Americans” and “Americant’s.” He said that looking out at the crowd, he saw nothing but the former.
Roberts spent a large portion of his time recognizing the people who make up the VA clinic system to help veterans in their healthcare journey and the team that made the construction of the clinic possible. He said that he has seen the project as “one team, one fight,” ultimately finishing the project four months ahead of schedule.
He also thanked the community’s veterans for working with them and patiently waiting for the clinic to accept its patients.
“Thank you for your service, thank you for staying strong with us,” Roberts said. “We sincerely hope that when you come through this building, through these doors, that we did you proud. Not (just) because you deserve it, but because you’ve earned it.”
“To all the veterans here, you know what it is like to have to travel to communities outside of where you live to get services done,” said Theo Bell, owner of Epic Consulting Firm, which has leased the building to the VA. “We brought those services here to you today.”
Sunaina Kumar-Giebel, deputy network director and chief operating officer for the VA Integrated Service Network 19 which operates in Colorado and a number of other states along the Rocky Mountains, said it was an honor and joy for her to speak at the event to celebrate the opening of the building.
She said the clinic, which will provide service to 19,000 veterans, will provide those who come in with the best care possible.
“Veterans and families in this community will visit this facility on some of the most stressful days of their lives, and any day, under any circumstance, they will have moments when they need the VA the most.,” Kumar-Giebel said. “And when they do, it is our responsibility, our promise, to serve them with the same dedication and sacrifice they exhibited when serving our country.”
Bennet said that what the local community of veterans deserve is what the clinic will offer, a beautiful location that offers the highest quality care. He added that veterans in the community have waited for a clinic of this kind for long enough.
He added the project is a credit to the community of veterans who have supported it and waited for it through the years.
“This is the kind of care our veterans have earned and deserve,” Bennet said. He later added, “After all our veterans have sacrificed for us, this is the least we can do for them.”
Following the list of speeches and ribbon cutting, those gathered were welcomed into the facility to take a look at all the clinic has to offer.
However, the veterans who gave it a look were not the first to see or be served in it; Loveland resident and 37-year Army veteran Hank Castillon toured the facility in early March, and the clinic saw its first patient May 2 when Bruce Witt, a Navy veteran, received service in the physical therapy department.
“It is an honor to be here and to be in this building,” Witt said in a release previously sent by the VA. “The VA has been incredible to me.”
Other veterans touring the facility Friday said they think it will be important for the local community of those who served their country.
Jack Thurman, a 96-year-old World War II retired Marine sergeant who took part in the pivotal Battle of Iwo Jima, said he thought the building and what it offers is great, adding he finds it “very important.”
Karen Thurman, Jack’s daughter and retired Navy commander, said she thinks it is about time that veterans have access to a rounded outpatient clinic without having to drive far to get to one. She added preventative care is an important aspect of health care, and having this clinic centrally located for local veterans will help give them access to that preventative care.
“We deserve it,” she said.
Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh echoed the importance of the location of the facility and how it will serve the local veterans better than having to drive to Cheyenne or Denver to seek VA care that the facility will now offer.
“It’s honoring people who saved us, who protected us, who stood up for our country,” she said.
“It’s beautiful,” Jack Thurman said. “(Other veterans) can look forward to a nice time.”
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