On Monday, July 28, the American Legion, the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization, will hold a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dewey Lowman Post 109 in Arbutus for veterans to discuss the quality of care they are receiving at the Baltimore Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
The meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at 1610 Sulphur Spring Road. It will be the fifth held across the nation by the organization, following recent reports of long wait times and mismanagement at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that led to a delay in receiving medical care for veterans.
The site was chosen because with 200 parking spaces, it will be able to accomodate a large group, said Bob Haney, past commander of the American Legion Dewey Lowman Post 109, which has just over 1,000 members.
"There is a a large need for this," said Dick Paranto, the administrative officer for the Legion Post 109, which was founded in 1934. "Especially in the cohort coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
"So many of these guys have PTSD," said Paranto, an Army veteran who served in the Korean War. "A lot of them came back when the country was in a recession and they don't know where to go.
"We encourage all veterans to show up," he said.
More than 2,100 veterans have used crisis center services at events held throughout the month of June in Phoenix, Ariz., Fayetteville, N.C., El Paso, Texas, Fort Collins, Colo., and St. Louis, Mo., according to American Legion information.
"We're ready for whoever walks through that door," said American Legion spokeswoman Verna Jones .
A crisis center will be held at the location during the following times:
• noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday; July 29,
• 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 30;
• 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 31;
• 8 a.m. to noon Friday, August 1.
Medical care and assistance with filing VA claims will be among the services offered to veterans, Jones said.
Representatives from other community organizations and resources, including representatives from the VA, will be in attendance, Jones said.