Veterans want more health care in Michiana

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Congressman Joe Donnelly said Wednesday a new veteran's facility in Michiana will be an "enhanced health center," which he described as slightly beneath a hospital.

Veterans still were excited about the facility and the prospect of not driving to Fort Wayne or Chicago for VA medical care.

Donnelly said doctors will perform surgeries among other services that veterans normally get done in Fort Wayne.

Veteran Marion Makowski frequently travels for medical care. He was injured during the Korean War.

"I'm laying there and I says heck, I'm on fire. I got smoke coming out my back and everything. I got up and my buddy, he was down hill from me and he had everything in his face," Makowski recounted.

Veterans said the hour and half trip is inconvenient, especially if you rely on the shuttle service.

"You may leave at five o'clock in the morning, but you may not make it back until six, 6:30 at night," said Vietnam Veteran Harold Petty.

The shuttle often stops at multiple hospitals and must wait until everyone finishes their appointments before returning.

Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) said the old hospital in downtown Mishawaka could be used as a site for the veteran's health center.

"What we're trying to do to be prudent and financially responsible is that in patient can be given at St. Joe Medical Center or at Memorial so that we don't have to have the cost of building a hospital, while at the same time providing our veterans with all the services they now get." Rep. Donnelly said.

The decision for the location is up to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, however Donnelly said it committed to building the facility in the area.

Donnelly said the VA will select the site as soon as possible.

Makowski was excited about the prospect of a facility in the area.

"Mishawaka hospital wouldn't be bad at all because you can get a bus to take you there and it isn't that far to drive," said Makowski