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Now that Secretary Shinseki has met with Save the VA representatives, we need your help now more than ever to write to him and tell him why the plan to close the Hot Springs VA is wrong.

Letter writers have received replies back from many different Congressional representatives, including this one from Sen. Tim Johnson shared with us by Peggy Sanders.

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Here are some Talking Points to assist you in writing your letters…

Why better VA care is needed:

  • According to 2012 Pentagon statistics, troops are committing suicide at the rate of one per day.  Additionally, sexual assaults have increased, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and other types of misbehavior.
  • 18 veterans commit suicide each day; that's one every 80 minutes.
  • Korean and Vietnam veterans are becoming elderly and infirm.
  • Gulf veterans are returning from multiple deployments with major PTSD issues as well as physical problems.
  • According to a VA study, "distance from a treatment facility is the most significant barrier for veterans receiving care. The situation is especially problematic for older vets."
  • Veterans deserve to be heard. They deserve the best our country has to offer.

Why the Hot Springs VA needs to be preserved:

  • Hot Springs has a history of over 100 years of loving history with America's veterans.
  • The entire town of Hot Springs dedicates itself to veterans and caters to the veteran population.
  • Veterans feel safe, respected and wanted in Hot Springs. There is a sense of 'family' between the veterans and the citizens of Hot Springs.  
  • Hot Springs has been known as a sacred 'healing place' since before the settling of the West due to the natural mineral spring waters for which the town is named.
  • Hot Springs is a quiet, safe, beautiful small town with small town traditions and values.  
  • The Hot Springs VA medical center is easily accessed by Wyoming and Nebraska,  as well as south western South Dakota.
  • Rural families who are visiting veterans in treatment can easily find plentiful and reasonable accommodations in Hot Springs, only minutes away from the facility.
  • The climate in Hot Springs is the mildest in the state, close to national and state parks where copious wildlife abounds.
  • Hot Springs is closer to the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation than other VA facilities.  
  • Native Americans, as well as other races and ethnicities, feel welcome and respected in Hot Springs.

What is special about the Hot Springs VA:

  • Veterans who have received care at the Hot Springs VA facility swear there is no better care in the United States.
  • The entire staff of the Hot Springs medical center, whether maintenance, clerical, technicians, nurses, and doctors, is devoted to respecting and caring for veterans.
  • The beautiful, historic sandstone buildings of the Hot Springs VA have been named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP).
  • The buildings and grounds are meticulously and lovingly cared for to maintain a park-like appearance.  
  • The Hot Springs VA was the first VA facility to build a traditional Lakota sweat lodge and establish weekly inipi ceremonies for any interested veterans.

What we propose to do:

  • The Save the VA Campaign proposes a national demonstration model that not only provides veterans with excellent care, but also creates an industry that provides employment for unemployed, underemployed, and homeless veterans.
  • The model will provide a blueprint for the future of veterans' care across the United States.
  • The model will also provide opportunities for much-needed research.  
  • Traditional Native American healing practices will be explored that may provide new and successful treatments.  Results will be shared.
  • We will update, renovate, and expand the Domiciliary and the medical center to provide even more care for returning vets, regardless of where they originate from.
  • We will partner with the community to provide education and job training.
  • We will create a non-profit corporation to employ vets and create salable goods with which to finance veterans industry through revolving loans and revenues.
  • We will partner with existing colleges and institutions to provide outreach education programs for veterans, VA staff, and community members.  
  • The project will not only reduce wait time for veterans seeking treatment across the country, but will serve as a center for treatment effectiveness research.




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