February 10, 2010
From left, South Central VA Health Care Deputy Network Director Bryan Bayley, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert, and Charlie Wilson celebrate the opening of the new Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic on August 28, 2009. PHOTO: Medical Media
LUFKIN, TX - On behalf of the Veterans, volunteers, and staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, it is with profound sadness we mourn the death of former U.S. congressman, determined Veterans’ advocate, and the namesake of the VA outpatient clinic in Lufkin, Charles Wilson.
Wilson died today at a hospital in Lufkin, Texas. He was 76 years of age.
In recognition of Wilson’s tireless efforts on behalf of our nation's Veterans, the VA outpatient clinic in Lufkin 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.
Wilson, born in Trinity, Texas, received a bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1956 and served in the United States Navy, with rank of lieutenant from 1956 to 1960. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1960 and then elected to the Texas Senate in 1966. In 1973, Wilson was elected to the 93rd United States Congress and served as a U.S. Representative until 1997.
“Charlie loved this nation and had deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who defended her; he was a force for Veterans his entire career. Throughout his life, this was evident in his thoughts, words, and deeds,” said Anthony Zollo, M.D., Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic director. “The VA is a richer organization because of Mr. Wilson. He will be deeply missed.”
The VA outpatient clinic in Lufkin, a satellite of Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, was activated on April 29, 1991 primarily because of Wilson’s efforts. The 19,300 square foot clinic quickly established a reputation for delivering high quality health care to the Veterans of deep East Texas.
On August 28, 2009, the Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic officially opened the doors of its new home at 2206 North John Redditt Drive. Located on approximately seven acres of land on the west side of Lufkin just off Loop 287, this 37,000 square-foot facility replaced both the old clinic located at 1301 West Frank Avenue and the mental health annex at 1514 Ellis Avenue.
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 more than doubled in size. The new facility has 250 parking spaces, approximately three times that of the building at 1301 West Frank Avenue.
In fiscal year 2009, the Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic had more than 45,000 outpatient visits.
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