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Oswegatchie supports veterans proposal

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Add the town of Oswegatchie to the Operation Veterans campaign bandwagon.

Meeting last night, the town board voted 5-0 to endorse a local campaign to get the federal Veterans Administration to open a hospital at the vacant Pritchard Pavilion at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. Also wanted is a VA nursing home at the former St. Joseph’s Nursing Home at Lafayette and Franklin streets.

Campaign organizer Joseph M. Cosentino has been inside both buildings and said they are worth fixing.

“They’re not as bad as everybody thinks they are,” he told the board.

Operation Veterans is looking for a closer alternative to the VA hospital and nursing home in Syracuse. Many of St. Lawrence County’s estimated 10,000 veterans travel to Syracuse often for medical treatment. It is both time-consuming and often unfulfilling.

“It’s full in Syracuse,” Mr. Cosentino said. “There’s no room in Syracuse.”

The board members want the VA services here.

“We have a whole new generation of soldiers who’ve lost limbs and stuff,” said Councilman Michael G. Stoner. “That’d be something else to turn that place (Pritchard) around.”

“That would mean a lot to the vets up here,” said Councilwoman Lillian LaRose. “Can you imagine the ones who’ve been traveling?”

The Ogdensburg City Council and town and village boards in Lisbon, Heuvelton, Waddington and Morristown have all endorsed the local VA hospital/nursing home proposal.

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