Veterans need to be put first


Veterans Day is a time to remember the sacrifices of veterans who have gone before us, thank those veterans still on our midst, and exhort each other and our children to live up to their examples of selfless service for the common good.

The sentence, “The price of freedom is observed here” is spelled out in large letters at the entrance of our long term care Community Living Center. There are are no words that can adequately express what veterans’ sacrifices have meant to the nation.

For the men and women at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Medical Center and its community outpatient clinics, every day is Veterans Day as we proudly serve and care for nearly 20,000 of America’s heroes each year. In addition, over 210 veterans call the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center their work place, and another 220 plus Veterans give of their time and energy to volunteer at our facility.

We have a single mission – to keep the promise of Abraham Lincoln to care for those “who shall have borne the battle.”

There are 1.3 million veterans without health insurance yet many of them would be eligible for VA health care, which meets the coverage standards required by the Affordable Care Act. Veterans may explore the benefits of VA health care and eligibility requirements by going to

Our vision is to be leaders in rural health care focused on excellence and putting veterans first. Our patients have a special place in our hearts. They are more than “patients” – they are “our veterans.” Please take time this week to thank a veteran for his or her service and sacrifice!

James W. Rice

Director for the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain