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American Legion Steps In To Help Veterans In Need Of Health Care

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - American Legion volunteers are helping veterans in Northern Colorado get health care this week.

On Tuesday opened what they call a Veterans Crisis Command Center at their post in Fort Collins following the troubles the Department of Veterans Affairs is having across the country.

At the center, CBS4 found veterans talking with nurses, schedulers and legal counsel.

"I think the VA needs to take some steps in order to clear their name and just move forward with the veterans that need (help)," Navy veteran Dustin Huckfeldt said.

For veterans, it provided a chance to get questions answered.

Crisis Center
(credit: CBS)

The American Legion set up the center in the wake of the national controversy over wait times and bonuses at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The VA is in crisis for health care and benefits, which means that we being veterans are in crisis," said Ralph Bozella with the American Legion.

Veterans were stopping in for help with benefits claims and to schedule doctors visits. A representative from the VA was there, too.

"We wanted to listen. We wanted to learn, we want to make sure we're hearing what veterans are concerned about," said Daniel Warvi, a spokesman for the VA.

Warvi told CBS4 he can't comment on claims of problems at the Fort Collins and Wyoming VA facilities while the Office of Inspector General continues its investigation, but he sees the center as a chance to improve communication.

"The veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and all those areas -- they are going to need support, a lot of them, for the rest of their lives, so this can't just be a Band-Aid on the problem," he said.

American Legion Post 4 is located at 2124 County Road 54G in Fort Collins.

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