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Letter to the editor: VA Clinic should be renamed for Kingston
Ted Harris mug


This Veterans Day I would like to remind everyone of an old friend Jack Kingston. Seven years ago, the Hinesville VA Clinic opened to provide services to over 10,000 veterans in our area. I believe it was one of seven new VA facilities that our former congressman Jack Kingston brought to the first congressional district.

I would like to purpose that the veteran community and the powers that be, ask The Dept. of Veterans Affairs to change the name to the Jack Kingston VA Clinic. We all know that his 20 years of public service to Liberty County is worthy of this very high honor.

As a 100 percent service-connected disabled veteran with mental health issues, I would like to share with you my experiences at the clinic, the house that JACK built!

In my 30 years in the VA mental health system, Dr. M. Patel, the VA pharmacist is the most extraordinary humanitarian I have ever met. Her steps echo through the building in the early days at the clinic. The kindness, and tender loving care, the dignity and respect she showed each veteran gave all of us hope. Because of watching her work with others, I wanted to live and not die!

Last week I heard the old click clack of her shoes as she walked around to let everyone know that she was going to help a veteran. The busier the better as far as she was concerned.

Dr. Evetta Borden and RN Patricia Daniels are in the VA podiatry department and both are well known throughout the community. They’ve worked with me for the past two years with a wound that won’t heal because of my diabetes. Because of her I still have all of my toes and foot.

RN Jennifer Taylor has taken care of my pill boxes for two years. In the lab there’s a living vampire there to collect your blood. He is full of jokes and sure to get a smile out of every veteran he meets.

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has adapted to the Covid Crisis through the use of technology. I attend some of the appointments and group meetings with VA supplied iPad. I am mostly impressed with the VA telephone town hall meetings where veterans with serious problems have them resolved by top VA Administrator who assign them to different agents to get veterans help immediately.

Dr. Joseph Cole is the psychiatrist who assigned me a new drug a year in a half ago which woke up my brain. The effects were immediate and I started writing again. It has been a vast improvement in my mental health, ability to function and my quality of life.

Kathy Russin is a high caliber social worker with a vast amount of knowledge, experience and wisdom. I was in a bad place when we first met two years ago. For the last year and a half, she visits me and my wife Patricia at our home. She has changed our lives for the better. I have hopes and dreams again.

My book The Three Mentors is being made into a screen play at this time and is being reviewed for a possible TV miniseries on Netflix, Hulu or Showtime. All because of Kathy’s support and encouragement.

The department of Veterans affairs is fulfilling our nation promise to us.

If you are drowning in a sea of desperation and despair, a sea of tragedy hopelessness, I understand because I have been there. Call the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-2738255 press 1.

 Ted Harris, Midway

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