Dole comes home to dedicate new mobile VA Unit (VIDEO)

Former senator Bob Dole greets friends and fans Wednesday at the Russell VFW Post 6240.

Former senator Bob Dole greets friends and fans Wednesday at the Russell VFW Post 6240. (Photo courtesy Brett Akagi)

RUSSELL — Approximately 100 people gathered Wednesday in Russell as former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole returned to his hometown to help dedicate a new mobile VA unit to be used by the Robert J. Dole VA Center in Wichita. The unit will be used for rural educational and health initiatives. It features an area in the front for presentations and a clinical area in the back. The dedication was held at the Russell VFW Post 6240.

“This is going to be good for western Kansas because we don’t have nearly the amount of facilities that they have in larger cities,” Dole said. “This new mobile unit will allow the Dole VA Medical Center to meet further educational and health service needs in rural areas across the state. I am proud to be a part of this initiative as the Dole VA reinforces its commitment to serve all deserving veterans within its boundaries.”

The dedication and ribbon cutting came in the wake of the national Veterans Affairs investigations which included the discovery of secret patient waiting lists at many VA hospitals, including the Wichita facility.

Dole said “90 percent of VA employees are doing a great job:”

dole va bus

New mobile VA unit for use in Kansas (Photo courtesy Brett Akagi)

Dole also said he was surprised by the turnout at the event in Russell.

The Dole Medical Center in Wichita serves 59 Kansas counties. It also operates six Community Based Outpatient Clinics located in Hays, Salina, Hutchinson, Dodge City, Liberal and Parsons. Wednesday’s event comes one day after the 90-year-old former senator visited five northern Kansas communities to meet friends and supporters in the latest leg of his yearlong homecoming tour.

Related story: Dole featured on special holiday edition of The Forum.