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Communities across the country celebrate Veterans Day Nov. 11.  It is a day to remember and to express our gratitude to all of those who raised their right hand, promised to defend our freedoms, and protect our great nation. What is equally important for us to remember is that we need to show our appreciation and honor our promise to veterans throughout the other 364 days in a year by ensuring veterans have the healthcare and benefits they need and deserve.

The Wilmington VA, in partnership with veterans, elected officials and other key partners, is actively trying to keep our nation’s promise to veterans who call South Jersey home. Plans are being finalized regarding the new community clinic, slated for Cape May County.

The new facility will offer more than 10,000 square feet of usable space that will greatly benefit the veterans of Cape May.

“The Coast Guard has been wonderful to us over the years, although we have now outgrown the facility,” Director Kane said. “We now have the opportunity to add VA services that had not been possible in the past due to the size of the existing facility.” Currently, no specific month or day has been set for the official opening, however, the clinic is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

In addition to community meetings and clinic expansions, outreach efforts continue across Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties. VA health care enrollments continue to steadily increase due to community engagement, education, advocacy, and the integrity of services.

Despite this remarkable growth, too many veterans are unaware of how VA healthcare can improve their quality of life together. We need to spread the word and get our veterans engaged.       

The Wilmington VA outreach team emphasizes the fact that VA health care is an “and both, not an either or,” concerning other health care options. The outreach team has heard from several veterans that they have not taken advantage of their VA benefits because those former service members believe that, “they would be taking services from a fellow veteran who needs it more.”

That fact of the matter is by not utilizing VA benefits and services, they may be keeping certain services from their fellow brothers and sisters in need. The outreach team encourages veterans and family with questions to contact them by email, VHAWIMOutreachTeam@va.gov, or by phone, (302) 358-9736 or (302) 304-5509.