Today is a day for everyone whom has gone forth to serve his or her country. Yet the new Veterans Affairs Outreach Clinic in the Juneau Federal Building downtown sees every day as a day for retired servicemen and women.
The clinic opened a few weeks ago as a source for primary care, screening services, mental health services, specialization referrals and other medical services. Clinic Manager Elizabeth Bochynski said since opening, the clinic has been overwhelmingly busy and the veterans have shown great support in finally having a clinic so close to home.
"There was a tremendous need because it cut down on the need for travel to Anchorage or Seattle for the same treatment, but some still need to travel for special treatment," she said.
She said in just a few weeks, veterans have come in from all over Southeast Alaska, including Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Haines, Petersburg, Skagway, Excursion Inlet and even Yakutat, which she said came as a surprise to her.
"We're thrilled they're happy to see us and happy to be serving these guys and gals. They're a very special group and they've done so much for us," Bochynski said. "It's an honor to be able to serve them."
She said the clinic is designed to pay tribute to veterans and give them the best attention. She said they not only have medical services at the clinic, but also information notices that apply to them, such as a warning flyer for scams that target veterans.
The conference room is adorned with various service emblems because, as Bochynski put it, "We see them all," as the clinic has seen patients from the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.
Lt. Cmdr. Marc Randolph, public affairs officer for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Juneau, said he's seen a massive amount of support from the veterans who visit the building. He describes having a local VA clinic as a big boon to local veterans.
"That's been the perception I've had talking to folks who are retired and coming in and out of building," he said. "The interaction I've had with local veterans has been really positive. They're thrilled to have the opportunity to use some of these services locally rather than having to travel to Anchorage for that same service."
Bochynski said working with veterans is exciting and it's always a thrill to hear about the amazing things they've done.
"You never know what's going to catch you off guard with these stories," she said.
Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at email@example.com.