VA Secretary speaks in Memphis

VA secretary addresses veterans
The secretary spoke for about 30 minutes addressing an audience full of American veterans from across the country who largely felt good about his message. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
The secretary spoke for about 30 minutes addressing an audience full of American veterans from across the country who largely felt good about his message. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - The secretary of Veterans Affairs was in Memphis on Wednesday to address veterans about what is being done to help them succeed despite ongoing problems with the organization.

The secretary spoke for about 30 minutes addressing an audience full of American veterans from across the country who largely felt good about his message.

Although, local veterans are still a bit skeptical.

"We're counting on those people, on the ground, closest to the veterans to share their innovative solutions that will help solve our problems in serving veterans," secretary Robert McDonald said.

McDonald recognized problems, offered solutions, and expressed his commitment and passion to fix them.

"Let me assure you I'm getting some unvarnished truth about how things work out there. Some good, some bad, some mixed. I'm learning what we need to keep doing and what we need to do better," McDonald added.

Veterans were optimistic following his speech, citing the quick appointment of McDonald and new legislation passed to help fund Veteran Affairs.

"He has more authority now than any other previous secretary has had to go in and put his foot down so to speak. And folks know now that they could lose their job if they don't do their job," J. D. Rice with the U.S. Army said.

Several Mid-South Veterans still feel in the dark and want answers about what's happening locally.

"In my mind it's really a national disaster, this should have never happened and we need to get it straight," audience member Gary Gilbert said.

McDonald will be in Memphis on Thursday as well, touring the VA Medical Center, one of the hospitals where audits showed excessive wait times for appointments.

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