Military veterans in Clay County are getting a new Veterans Administration outpatient health clinic.
76-year-old Gary Newman started the Clay County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He said right now, the thousands of veterans who live in the area have to go to the VA clinic in Jacksonville for routine health care.
“Most of us World War II and Vietnam veterans, Korean veterans, we’re at an age where travel is pretty hard for us sometimes,” said Newman.
Newman said many Vietnam vets have chronic heart and respiratory conditions brought on by their exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical that was dropped from airplanes.
“There were other issues, too. There were burn pits where they burned human waste in these big barrels. And the smoke—many of the veterans were exposed to that,” Newman said.
Newman’s organization worked with Northeast Florida Congressman Ted Yoho to convince VA officials that the new clinic in Orange Park is needed.
The VA is renovating a two story building on College Drive. It’s expected to open in 2020.