Military Matters: A local clinic for veterans

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - There are currently seven different healthcare clinics specifically for veterans in the state of Mississippi, including the Sonny Montgomery Veterans Affairs Clinic in Meridian. But employees there say although the facility has been open for years, not all veterans know about it.

“A lot of times I say I work at the VA and they’ll go, ‘Oh the one in Jackson?’ I’ll say, no, we have one in Meridian and they’ll say they didn't know that," said employee Veronica McFadden.

To change that, the clinic decided to host a cookout for local veterans to celebrate the vets who are already patients and to welcome new ones.

David Walker oversees several VA medical centers in Mississippi.

“We currently have about 42,000 Mississippi veterans using us but we know there are thousands out there in the state that are eligible and not using us," Walker said.

There are several factors that determine eligibility for the clinic. Walker encourages veterans to visit the clinic in person to see if they're covered.

The closest VA hospital is over an hour away in Jackson.

Veteran Kenny Wooten says having the local clinic where he lives is a huge convenience.

"Especially with my illness," Wooten said. "A lot of driving is not good for me."

Employees say they hope the cookout showed local veterans just how much they are appreciated and makes them want to return to the clinic.

If you have a story to suggest for Military Matters, email brianna.bynum@wtok.com.