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House votes to name joint VA-DOD clinic after General Gourley
Congressman Farr’s bill to name the clinic passed on a 388-0 vote
WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representative voted unanimously to pass Rep. Sam Farr’s, D-Carmel, bill to name the future joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense outpatient clinic at the former Fort Ord the "Major General William H. Gourley VA-DOD Outpatient Clinic.” The bill, H.R. 272, honors Gen. Gourley for his lifetime of service to his country, his fellow military service members and Central Coast veterans.
“Thanks to Gen. Gourley’s efforts, we broke ground on the new clinic last week on Veterans Day,” said Farr. “He did not live long enough to see construction begin but his service, both as a leader in the Army and as pillar of our veteran’s community, is the foundation on which this clinic will be built. Naming the clinic after him is the proper way to honor his legacy.”
Gen. Gourley, who passed away in 2008, was instrumental in the clinic's development. His interest in designating a section of Fort Ord as a joint clinic for both veterans and service members began when the base closed in 1994. Because of his efforts, the clinic, which is only the second joint clinic in the United States, will serve over 80,000 active duty service members, their families and veterans.
Ground was broken on Veterans Day and the clinic is expected to open in the fall of 2016. The three-story building, 104,000-square-foot facility will provide primary care and specialty care including medical/surgical subspecialty clinics, mental health care, audiology, physical and occupation therapy, ancillary and diagnostic service. The clinic will replace the VA’s existing clinic which is too small to serve the current population and cannot be expanded.
Gen. Gourley's military service began in the late 1960s when he served in Germany, where he shared MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) with Elvis Presley. He later served in Korea and Vietnam. After returning from his tour in Vietnam, he was assigned to the Pentagon and rose to work with then General Colin Powell on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In his retirement, Gen. Gourley worked to enhance life for active duty soldiers and veterans living in Central California by working to improve TRICARE service on the Monterey peninsula; establish a veterans cemetery on the old Fort Ord; make health care more affordable and accessible to military retirees; and placing the groundwork for the joint DOD-VA health care clinic.
The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.
Rep. Farr’s floor speech (video):http://youtu.be/1gPLBLTH26U
Statement on the President’s call to pass immigration reform
WASHINGTON - Rep. Sam Farr, D- Carmel, released the following statement in response to President Obama’s call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform:
“President Obama reminded us today about the generations of immigrants who came to our country to build a better life for their families and in the process helped build a better nation. Unfortunately our broken immigration system has denied that dream to millions of new immigrants. We have an obligation to fix our system, not just for those trying to come to our country now but to also honor the contributions of the immigrants who came before them.
“The need for reform has never been greater. In California, immigration reform means access to the labor force necessary to support our billion dollar agriculture industry. It means financial aid for Dreamers who wish to attend our world class universities. Most importantly, it means compassion for immigrant families by bringing them out of the shadows so they too can achieve their own American dream.
“Over the past month, the American people lost faith in Washington’s ability to work together to solve our problems. Now is our opportunity to restore some of that lost confidence. A bipartisan immigration reform bill has already passed the Senate. A similar bill was introduced by Democrats in the House with 185 co-sponsors. With the support of the Republican leadership, we could send that bill to the President’s desk for his signature by the end of the year. The time for action is now.”
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California accepts $6.7 million federal grant to build Fort Ord veterans cemetery
A copy of the letter can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/1bUStve
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