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Local veterans react to VA chief’s resignation

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — President Obama announced this morning he accepted VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.

Shinseki has been under fire ever since the scandal surrounding the care of veterans at VA facilities surfaced. Now vets in our area are speaking out about issues in the VA that caused serious delays for those needing care.

Shinseki’s resignation came just hours after he apologized to veterans for the health care issues that caused excessive waiting times covered up by employees at the VA center in Phoenix.

One Wilmington veteran says Shinseki’s resignation will not fix the problem.

“He is like anyone else,” Army veteran David Hartley said. “He is in charge of it. It’s his responsibility. If in fact that went on, I don’t see how he can sleep at night.”

But others say Shinseki is not to blame.

“The man was doing the best he could with what he had,” Navy veteran Joe Stanley said. “His hands were tied with what he could and couldn’t do.”

Navy veteran Bill Paschall said, “The man could have probably done the job, but the organization is so huge, you cannot know what’s going on down in the trenches.”

While we’ve received e-mails from some veterans complaining of issues at the local VA, veterans we spoke with Friday had no complaints.

“I used the VA hospital, and what minor care I received there, I’ve always been treated fairly,” Hartley said.

But veterans did have some tips on how to fix the problem and ensure veterans receive the care they deserve.

“I think you should need some professional hospital people running it, not politicians,” Paschall said.

Stanley said, “If somebody is not doing what you’re supposed to do, get rid of them. Get somebody in there that will do the job the way it’s supposed to be done.”

Many veterans we spoke with say this has been a problem for years.

So far three people, including the Phoenix VA hospital’s director and associate director, have been placed on administrative leave.


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