By Matt Nielsen
Senator Heidi Heitkamp visited Devils Lake yesterday to discuss issues with veterans in the area. One of the main concerns is how veterans can obtain better health care in Devils Lake.
There were plenty of citizens from around the community who were there to give their opinion on the matter.
Devils Lake citizen Charlie Mertens told Senator Heitkamp that he was tired of pushing the date back for a new Veterans Clinic and veterans are not getting the help they need.
“We have to have face to face and one on one interaction for the trust of these veterans when it comes to mental health,” said Heitkamp.
The Veterans Clinic will hopefully be built and ready to use by the end of December or early January. The contract for the clinic still has to pass approval. They are hoping will be approved by September.
Veterans in North Dakota have to travel to either Grand Forks or Fargo for their treatment at the moment and the travel takes a toll on them. The one positive about the travel is knowing that Fargo is much quicker than other regional offices when it comes to claims.
Post traumatic stress disorder is a concern for veterans and young soldiers who return home from the middle east.
Devils Lake resident Lance Wadsworth served over seas and talked about his experiences since returning.
“There is times where people slam doors and I think my truck is getting hit,” said Wadsworth.
It is important that Devils Lake opens a Veteran Clinic because PTSD is haunting thousands of veterans. Senator Heitkamp stated that we are losing more veterans to suicide than we are in action.
“We need to make sure we get the help we need for people with PTSD,” said Heitkamp.
A Veterans Clinic in Devils Lake will help out veterans and the community tremendously. Hopefully Senator Heitkamp is right when she says we will have one in the next six months.