New VA Clinic Unveiled
VA clinic unveiled: Facility makes public debut during ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring guest of honor and namesake Charles Wilson
The Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic made its public debut during a ribbon-cutting ceremony with its namesake appearing as the guest of honor Friday morning in Lufkin.
Located on approximately seven acres of land on the west side of Lufkin just off Loop 287, the new facility will replace both the VA outpatient clinic located at 1301 West Frank Avenue and the Mental Health Clinic Annex at 1514 Ellis Avenue.
As a former U.S. Navy lieutenant and U.S. representative, Charles Wilson has spent a large part of his career advocating for veterans' services. He delivered a speech at the ceremony thanking those who have served the country and the clinic staff now serving them, including chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Zollo.
"This clinic serves the East Texas heroes of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and now Iraq and Afghanistan," Wilson said. "It also serves those who served between the wars without complaints and without any thoughts of moving to Canada or making up an excuse not to do their duty. These heroes served with pride and patriotism and I'm proud to know them."
Veterans from all war eras were on hand to tour the new facility on North John Redditt Drive. At 37,000 square feet, the new facility is almost twice the size as the original clinic that opened in 1991 on Frank Avenue. Korean War veteran Warren Ferden has been a patient of the clinic for nearly a decade.
In primary care, the new clinic has eight provider offices, eight nurse offices, 24 examination rooms, a pulmonary function laboratory, and an observation room. On the mental health side of the building, there are 15 rooms for clinical staff and three group therapy rooms. The space for the laboratory, radiology, and pharmacy departments has more than doubled in size. The new facility will also have 250 parking spaces, approximately three times that of the building at 1301 West Frank Avenue.
"I really like coming here. The new facility is really nice," Ferden said. "I really like my nurse and I have a good doctor. My favorite thing about coming here though is that whatever time your appointment is scheduled for is the time your name gets called. You don't wait very long."
The ceremony concluded with a speech from South Central VA Health Care Network deputy director Bryan Bayley, who said the Lufkin area is part of the network's focus.
"We're focusing a lot on rural health and outreach to veterans that live in rural areas," he said. "As we move forward with the things we want to do with the VA it is really easy to see how this beautiful clinic plays into it."
The VA outpatient clinic in Lufkin, activated in 1991, was officially renamed under Public Law 108-422 (S. 424) in honor of former U.S. Representative Charles Wilson. A renaming ceremony was held on July 7, 2005.
The Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic provides primary care, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, social work, nutrition, and mental health services to Veterans in the area. In the near future, optometry services will also be offered. In fiscal year 2008, there were 43,094 outpatient visits to the clinic.