LETTER: Hot Springs needs to fight for VA hospitalTo the Editor: Fall River, which meanders through the center of the sleepy little town of Hot Springs in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, is fed by the warm spring waters and was first valued by Native Americans for its healing qualities.
By: Frances Stokes, Hot Springs
To the Editor:
Fall River, which meanders through the center of the sleepy little town of Hot Springs in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, is fed by the warm spring waters and was first valued by Native Americans for its healing qualities. After the town was established, many spas were built and people came from all over the world to bathe in the waters.
Hot Springs was a natural and fitting site to establish a VA Center to heal the spirits and bodies of wounded soldiers. In 1907, the Battle Mountain Sanitarium opened its doors to its first patients. Thousands of men and women came to the Hot Springs VA Medical Center to be healed. They received excellent care from the doctors and other medical professionals here. During the same year, the first interment was made in the Battle Mountain Sanitarium National Cemetery.
Recently, Hot Springs was rudely awakened by news that most services are going to be phased out within the next five years. The facts have been deliberately overlooked and Stephan DiStasio has not told the whole truth. The people of Hot Springs want the truth to prevail and we want the VA Hospital to stay. There are many veterans who prefer this facility to any other and they deserve the best care that can be provided.
Now we need support to keep the Veterans Hospital in Hot Springs, where it provides services to surrounding states and Indian reservations. Our nation promised our veterans the best care we could give them. Now we need to listen to them and heed their voices. They are telling us that moving services to Rapid City would impose a hardship on them. The veterans and “The Veterans’ Town” have formed a sacred trust over the years, and the veterans want to receive their care in Hot Springs.
If you, too, believe that EVERY veteran deserves medical care, please support the Hot Springs VA hospital by writing letters, making calls to your representatives and signing petitions.