VA leaders, elected officials celebrate groundbreaking of new St. Joseph Co. facility

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Joseph County Health Care Center took place on Friday.

Officials from the Veterans Association Northern Indiana Health Care System joined elected officials to celebrate the beginning of a new health care facility that will serve veterans in the northwest Indiana counties of St. Joseph, Elkhart, Lake, Porter and La Porte.

Veterans who would have to travel two hours to receive care in Fort Wayne will soon have a facility closer to home.

“On behalf of the 54,000 veterans in my district and the growing veteran population, we must ensure we provide quality access to VA health care,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) said. “As a Member of House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, we take a lesson from every veteran who took an oath to defend our nation – never give up. I take that oath to heart and want veterans here in Indiana and throughout the country to know that I will not give up the fight for you in Congress.”

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he began sitting down with veterans in 2007 who said they needed an upgrade in their health care facility. The center will offer important services like expanded mental healthcare, according to Donnelly.

One of the most important advantages of the new facility is it will lesson the travel time for current veterans who need medical attention.

"When our soldiers come home as damaged goods, they need to have a top-flight facility where they can get in, in a timely fashion, and get the best care available. This will accomplish that. This will be, from everything I've seen, everything we've hoped for. From all the plans I've seen, this will be exactly what they deserve," says Rich Mrozinski, who served twice in the Vietnam War.

Senator Donnelly says this new facility is keeping with the promise to protect our men and women who serve our country.