November 11, 2016

Fisher House to provide comfort for veterans, families | The Herald-Dispatch

Every year, on Veterans Day, we gather as a nation to express our deepest gratitude to the men and women who have fought to safeguard our beloved nation and secure our freedoms. No matter the war, no matter the rank, no matter the duty, every one of our Veterans has answered America's call. They have served us well and we must do the same for them. One of the ways we can show our gratitude to our Veterans is by providing them with the best possible care when they return home.

That is why it is truly great news for the Huntington VA Medical Center, and for all West Virginia Veterans that the Huntington VA Medical Center is opening a Fisher House. Fisher Houses provide a "home away from homes" for Veterans, their families, caregivers and active duty service members that are receiving treatment at VA facilities. These homes are essential in ensuring that our Veterans, active duty service members and their families have a space to live that makes them feel like they are at home and comfortable during their treatment at the facility. They also allow family members and caregivers to be actively involved in their loved one's treatment plan, supporting positive clinical outcomes and access to medical care.

Brian Nimmo, the Director of the Huntington VA, had this vision to request the first Fisher House in West Virginia. I was proud to work with Brian, the VA and Fisher House to secure this funding. During the government shutdown in 2013, I worked with Ken Fisher on a solution to ensure that the families of Fallen service members would continue to receive benefits even if the government stopped functioning. Ken has been a good friend to West Virginia Veterans and his continued investment is great for our state and our Veterans. I also worked with U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald, who I had the honor of hosting in our state and we visited the Huntington VA and hosted a town hall to discuss the issues that our Veterans care about the most.

Not one of the courageous West Virginians should have to come home from war and face another fight a fight for the benefits, services and care they have earned as Veterans. The United States' military might is unparalleled throughout the world, yet we still need to improve how prepared we are to meet the needs of the men and women who serve our country once they return home, especially in terms of access to quality healthcare.

As your U.S. Senator and a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I consider it not only my honor but my duty to meet the needs of our Veterans. In the Senate, I have proudly introduced myriad of legislation that will make sure our Veterans receive the reliable care they need and deserve and allow the VA to run more efficiently and better provide for our Veterans. While we have made progress in helping Veterans, serious challenges remain in improving the urgent need of Veterans' access to quality healthcare in rural areas, especially in West Virginia. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both the Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees to make sure that this country keeps its promises to our Veterans.

As we reflect on this Veterans Day, I encourage everyone to take time to consider the many sacrifices that the men and women who serve our country in uniform have made to defend our freedom. They truly deserve the best treatment upon their return home, and improving Veterans' access to healthcare is one of the most significant ways we can demonstrate our gratitude and support. The Fisher House will improve their quality of care and treatment and bring comfort to our Veterans and their families. It is because of them that America remains a beacon for all who love liberty and cherish freedom. May God continue to bless our Veterans and may He bless the United States of America and the great state of West Virginia.