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Local VA Center offers multiple services

By Staff | Mar 3, 2017

Chronicle photo by Toni Milbourne Bruce Matthews, Kenneth Noel, Tim Cooke, Dan Hart and Paul Rosa shared a moment after Cooke presented the four Vietnam veterans with a pin to commemorate their service in the war.

Attendees at the February Chamber of Commerce gathering last Thursday gleaned a wide array of information about the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg. Director Tim Cooke was on hand to share facts, figures and ideals about the service provided at the facility.

Cooke outlined information about current programs offered at the center and how those services will continue to grow and expand in the future.

Cooke explained that there are approximatley 125,000 veterans in the center’s service area. Nationally, VA Centers serve approximately 9 million veterans, he said. The Martinsburg Center is part of the VA Capitol Health Care Network serving veterans in the District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia and portions of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio. The area is served by seven medical centers as well as 27 outpatient facilities.

Cooke said that the mission of the VA in Martinsburg is as follows: “Together, we honor and serve America’s Veterans,” incoporates the core beliefs and goals every medical center holds in common.

“‘Together’ is the most important word in the whole mission statement,” Cooke said.

He explained to those gathered that the Martinsburg VA Medical Center offers significant services.

“We don’t do open head or open heart procedures,” he said, “but we do everything else.”

That everything else includes everything from primary care, audiology and speech services, dental services, general surgery to wound management, orthopedics and transition and care managment, just to name a few. There are many other primary and specialty care services offered as well as a multitude of long term care and mental health services.

The center has 71 acute care beds, 121 community living center beds, 265 domiciliary care beds and 8 compensated work therapy/transitional residency beds on-site. Cooke said, that added to that, there are at least 500 more beds in the community where veterans stay at home yet receive care through Martinsburg’s VA Center.

“Home based primary care has been added so that veterans can stay at home,” Cooke emphasized.

The VA Center is the second largest employer in Berekely County, with nearly 1,800 employees. In addition to those paid staffers, Cooke shared that a significant volunteer network is also in place.

A new facility, the Tranquility House, a place for veterans with dementia, is in the explansion plans of the Martinsburg VA campus. Cooke said it provides a home-like environment with chefs making hot meals and it provides a community living style.

He said in 2018, the center will break ground on an all-female, long-term care facility, as well.

Cooke explained that he is not a veteran; however, he comes from a family of veterans.

“I am a proud son, brother, grandson, nephew of many military veterans,” he said. “This is my service to serve those who so bravely served our country.”

With those sentiments, Cooke concluded his talk by presenting a commemorative pin to each of four Vietnam War veterans in the room. The pin recognzies it has been 50 years since the end of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Those receiving the pins included Bruce Matthews, Kenneth Noel, Dan Hart and Paul Rosa.

As he gave each of the veterans their pin, he shook their hands and said, “On behalf of a grateful nation, welcome home.”