Patty in the News

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray has done it again.

She has a long record of being a champion for veterans in our region and her influence has helped them once more.

Thanks to her, a new outreach clinic will open at the VA Medical Center in Walla Walla that is designed to give readjustment counseling and other mental health services to soldiers who have served in combat.

Walla Walla is one of only 28 sites selected for the expanded service. Primarily, it will help veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological health issues. The services are free to vets and their families.

The Vet Center outreach program was established in 1979 by Congress after recognizing many Vietnam veterans were still having readjustment problems. The centers are staffed by small teams that include social workers, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, counselors and other mental health professionals. More than 70 percent of Vet Center employees are veterans themselves, many of them having served in combat zones.

Now this program is being expanded, and Walla Walla is one of the chosen locations.

Those who risk their lives serving our country deserve as much support as we can offer. The life they lead in a combat zone is one most of us can't even imagine.

When a soldier returns, the body may be intact but the mind may be damaged, even if the damage is hidden.

These new services are necessary to help veterans return to a normal civilian life.

Getting this expanded counseling program in Walla Walla is a big deal, and we have Murray to thank for it.

– Tri-City Herald