Local veterans air grievances during VA town hall meeting

DYERSBURG, Tenn. — West Tennessee veterans got a chance to speak their minds Thursday afternoon during a town hall meeting with Memphis VA leadership.

At times, there was tension in the room as veterans expressed their concerns.

“Y’all hire people like that to treat us. Why should we trust y’all?” asked one veteran.

“They were good questions, and there’s a lot of concerns that should be addressed,” Dyer County Veterans Services Officer William Taylor said. “Nobody has all the answers, and it’s always better to hear from more than one source.”

Representatives from the Memphis VA Medical Center and the regional office held the town hall to hear feedback from local vets. Some complaints were long wait times at the VA, lack of appointment availability and phone calls not being answered. But all feedback wasn’t negative.

“CT scans, I’ve never had any problems, and I was just there a week ago,” another veteran said.

“So that’s really valuable feedback to us and helps us improve what we do in taking care of our veterans,” Memphis VA Medical Center Interim Director David Wood said.

Although some veterans did express their issues with some of the VA services, staff members say this was still a productive meeting.

“It’s important for us to hear what veterans have to say about the services we’re providing,” Wood said. “And it’s important for them to be heard and to know that we’re there to help.”

“It only enhances awareness, and this veteran may have a question that’s asked that assists two more,” Taylor said.

There also were benefit claims officers on site to help vets understand and claim their benefits. Veterans who have questions about their benefits are urged to call 1-800-827-1000.

If you missed the meeting, the Memphis Vet Center is hosting a Veterans Community Outreach and Help Fair at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Dyersburg State Community College.

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