By: Department of Pennsylvania Public Relations

The Pennsylvania American Legion is concerned about the decision the VA, specifically VISN 4, has made to spend nearly $1 million to customize an upscale office space and add an executive fitness center for their employees, who work at the Del Monte Building located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. This allocation of funds may not be in the best interest of local veterans in the VISN 4 division which include New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, and of course Pennsylvania.

We acknowledge there are many budgets that encompass the operation of a department as complex as the VA including office renovation but the VA was designed for patient care and veteran benefits. In 1865 President Lincoln called upon Congress in his second inaugural address “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” The VA itself adopted that statement as their core mission. The Pennsylvania American Legion expects the VA to uphold that promise and at the same time, be sensible in their decisions concerning taxpayer money earmarked for the care of the American veteran.

The concern of many veterans including the 200,000 Pennsylvania Legionnaires is how does an executive fitness center and prime real estate for office space benefit the local veteran? This comes the same year a therapeutic pool was closed at a local VA hospital due to lack of funds.

Pete Wasco, Department Commander of the Pennsylvania American Legion, stated “I can grasp the fact that many executive offices are more appealing than the average office space but I would expect the VA to be mindful of the duty bestowed upon them to care for the veteran and their family. We expect our VISN 4 to be less extravagant for the executives and more sensible with the finances of the VA, especially with the federal deficit forefront and our soldiers still in harm’s way.”

The Pennsylvania American Legion is an advocate for Veteran’s benefits and services and believes the VA Health Care system is the best absolute care for our veterans. A “System Worth Saving” is a task force established by our national organization to ensure our veterans get access to the high-quality health care and benefits their intended to receive.