Veterans Hotline: Telehealth Clinic set to open Friday

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Dedication ceremony

When: 1 p.m. Friday

Where: 551 Tucker St.

Speakers

Mistress of Ceremonies: Kris Baugh, acting chief of customer relations services

Invocation: Reverend Phillip Gibson Jr., co-pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church

Pledge of Allegiance: Bill Harding, Moffat County Veterans Service officer

Opening remarks: Michael W. Murphy, M.D., Medical Center director

Welcome to Craig: Don Jones, city of Craig mayor

Remarks: Lee Logan, deputy director of VISN No. 19

Matthew McCombs, staff assistant to U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar

George Delahanty, field representative with U.S. Congressman John Salazar

Brian Meinhart, area representative with U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard

Ribbon Cutting: Dr. Michael Murphy, Lee Logan, Debra Nicholas-Olson, and Bart Taylor

Music: Home Town Harmony

Closing remarks: Dr. Michael Murphy

Special thanks: Kris Baugh

— The Craig Telehealth Clinic ribbon cutting, dedication ceremonies are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at 551 Tucker St. The public is welcome to attend.

Invitations were sent to veteran organization members and service organizations that required a RSVP.

For the local veterans in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties, plus those along the Little Snake River in Wyoming, here is the contact information:

• The phone number is 970-824-6721.

• The fax number is 970 824-9439. The mailing address is Craig VA Telehealth Clinic, 551 Tucker St. Craig, CO 81625.

• Operating hours are Monday through Friday. This is an appointment only clinic at this time. If veteran use warrants, it can become a full-time facility.

They will not accept walk-ins unless they are scheduled shot clinics. It is also not an emergency care facility. If you need immediate emergency care, go to the nearest ER and get the treatment you require.

The only additional thing you need to do is state, "I am a veteran currently receiving care at a VA medical facility."

We have requested that The Memorial Hospital in Craig add that statement to its ER admitting form. If you answer "Yes," TMH representatives will call the VA authorization center for this area so that you can be covered/reimbursed by the VA for this emergency treatment.

If you have time or can offer this info by yourself, please do so. There is a 24-hour notification period from admission that must be met. Otherwise have your family members request that the VA Authorization center be called at 1-888-795-0773.

Clinic designated as Emerald Team

The Craig clinic has been designated as the Emerald Team.

There are currently 400 vets from Northwest Colorado who maybe assigned to this team. They will be served by the following VA personnel:

• The part-time nurse is Robbie Fentress.

• The full-time RN is David Newman.

• The primary care provider, in Grand Junction, is Bart Taylor working under internist Dr. Hunter.

When the veteran is in Craig, Bart will be in the Telehealth room in Junction to visit via video link. Several of the diagnostic tests can be linked directly to him via the Telehealth system.

First patient seen

The new VA Telehealth clinic saw its first patient on Monday. In order to test the equipment and communication links, a few appointments were scheduled prior to the opening.

The first client seen was Richard C. Shelton from Phippsburg. Rich served in the U.S. Navy during the 1960s and is a Vietnam Era vet.

Profile on full-time RN

David "Dave" Newman is the full-time RN at the new VA Telehealth Clinic in Craig.

He was born in Gunnison and has relatives in Parker and Pueblo. He is married to Ruth and has three children, who are residing in Montana until Dave can secure housing in Craig.

Dave transferred to Craig from the Sheridan, Wyo., VA and previously worked at the VA in Nashville, Tenn. He has also worked for Indian Health Service in Shiprock, N.M., and Crow Agency, Mont.

Dave retired from the Montana Army National Guard in July 2007 after 24 years, which included Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard service. Dave was primarily an Infantryman, although he also held a 16P MOS (SHORAD, Chaparral) and served as a commissioned officer both as a combat medical-surgical RN and as an Infantry Officer.

He began his career as a rifleman, RTO, and then M-60 machine-gunner in the Virginia Army National Guard, 116th Infantry "Stonewall Brigade."

After two years, he enlisted in the Regular Army and was first stationed with the 9th Infantry Division "Old Reliables" at. Ft Lewis, Wash., then was stationed on the DMZ in Korea while in the regular Army under the 2nd Infantry Division.

He made "Buck Sergeant" while in Korea. He returned home in 1988 and enlisted into the Army Reserve, 80th Division Infantry Training where he completed Drill Sergeant School at Ft Jackson. He moved up to Senior Drill Sergeant and was "on the trail" at Ft Jackson and during Operation Desert Shield, conducted basic training at Ft Bragg, which was a first for Ft Bragg since Vietnam. His unit was alerted for mobilization for Desert Storm but the war ended before that occurred. He had completed RN school by this point and was commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps. He served six years in the AMED in the Army Reserve in units in Huntington, W. Va., Greensboro, N.C., Albuquerque, N.M., and Helena, Mont.

He missed the mission, esprit, and cohesion of the Infantry, so in 1999 he transferred to the Montana Army National Guard and received his Infantry Commission. He served as platoon leader for all three platoons of Co A-1-163rd Infantry "The Griz Battalion" as well as Detachment commander in Lewistown, Mont., and Company XO. He was activated and deployed in 2001-2002 to Bosnia where he was an infantry Platoon Leader conducting peacekeeping operations.

His unit was activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. As the senior lieutenant in the Battalion, he was made the Battalion Scout Platoon Leader for the 1-163rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion. He led the ground assault convoy from Kuwait through Baghdad to FOB McHenry, in the Sunni triangle in November 2004, and conducted constant operations until departing Iraq in November 2005. His proudest accomplishment in Iraq was to bring every member of his platoon home alive. He was honored to receive the CIB and Bronze Star in Iraq.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans' benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only. Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

Comments

Blake 7 years, 2 months ago

It's great to see a veteran, who understand and sympathizes with veterans, actually work in the VA clinic.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that in addition to Lt Newman (Dave) earning the CIB and Bronze Star in Iraq, he was also awarded the Purple Heart.

As the story goes, he was the platoon leader in a scout platoon and his was the lead vehicle in a recon when an IED blew up his Hummer. Then entire front end blew off and I think the vehicle did a back-flip. Apparently, Dave jumped out of that hummer as mad as a hornet shooting at any Iraqi smiling or smirking at him. After the dust settled, he discovered that he had a broken tail bone, which made the rest of his tour in Iraq extremely painful to endure. But, he refused to leave his men behind and stuck with it until the end. It's great to have a selfless leader serving the veterans of Craig.

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