Mar 17, 2010 7:49 PM by Sarah Rosario
Veterans in Acadiana are campaigning to get a hospital of their own. They call themselves the Veteran Action Coalition. Veterans say there's a strong need for a hospital in this area. Finding health care is hard enough and veterans in Acadiana say it's even harder on them. "It compounds that challenge of getting the medical care and healthcare you need," said veteran Hunt Downer.
In order to make it happen they have to get the support of the public and elected officials. "We need a hospital to take our veterans healthcare here, rather than having to go to Pineville, Louisiana, Shreveport or Houston," said coalition chairman, Rodney Hamilton.
The closest VA hospital is in Alexandria, but for Laura and Stafford Thomas that's too far. "If something was to happen and my husband would fall sick, I'd have to go to Alexandria. I can't afford to be driving back and forth everyday," said Thomas.
Veteran's say a hospital is needed in Lafayette because without it, they're forced to pay for healthcare which would otherwise be free it they had a veterans hospital.
With Our Lady of Lourdes moving to a new location the veteran's would like to make the former building theirs. "The likeliness of us getting the Lourdes hospital is possible, certainly not probably at this point," said Hamilton. Hamilton says the hospital will not only be a benefit to them, but to the city of Lafayette as well. "We'd have out of state jobs coming in, but we'll also have availability of local jobs in the new veteran's hospital too," said Hamilton.
The veterans will meet again in two weeks at the Clifton Chenier center. That's when they'll speak with the Lafayette, Economic, and Development Authority to work out financial details.