And to add a couple of hours of travel time when a person isn’t well, she said, isn’t a pleasant thought.
The closest alternate VA facilities are in Saranac Lake, Plattsburgh, Westport and Massena, which are a minimum of 35 miles one way for most vets, their families and caregivers to travel.
Some say the added travel puts undue hardship on those needing services, especially during North Country winters.
That was the issue for Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh), who contacted Weiss to ask her to reconsider her decision.
“The primary concern has been the added travel burden that the closure would impose,” the congressman wrote.
“Many patients seeking routine medical care are elderly and on fixed income,” he said, adding that the additional travel “could compound the severity” of their medical conditions.
Petition signatures are still being collected, and blank forms are available at the American Legion in both Malone and Brushton, at Green’s Store in Bangor and at the Malone VA clinic.
“We have close to 1,000 signatures, and we’re not going down without a fight,” Shanty said. “The VA says the number of vets has decreased, yes, because World War II vets are dying. But what about the veterans of the Gulf War and the ones who are serving now? What are they going to do down the road?
“This is a bad decision to make,” she said. “Veterans did not shirk their duty when they were called.”
Email Denise A. Raymo:email@example.com