VA Medical Center turns 60

The Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center today marks its 60th year in the Grand Valley.

Over those six decades, said Terry Atienza, director of the medical center, the center has changed to keep up with the times.

“Our facility is of vital importance to veterans living on the Western Slope,” Atienza said. “And because we have a number of veterans living in this area who are in rural areas, we have to work diligently to provide care to them. As a direct result of the advancement of VA’s
TeleHealth technology, we are no longer limited to bringing patients to their care in the Grand Valley. We are now able to actually bring the health care to the patient across the Western Slope.”

The center officially serves a veteran population of 37,000 in the Intermountain West, but the actual number could be as high as 45,000, center spokesman Paul Sweeney said.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary, seven employees of the center are writing letters to the person or job position they believe will be around in 40 years. Those letters, in envelopes bearing Forever Stamps, will be placed in a time capsule, which will be opened in 40 years, or on the center’s 100th anniversary.

Representatives of U.S. Rep. John Salazar and Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall will deliver greetings at the commemoration this morning.

The anniversary will be observed at 10 on the Community Living Center Patio, which is to the left of the main entrance to the medical center, 2121 North Ave.

The center was built after the end of World War II on land donated by the city of Grand Junction.


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