TOPEKA (KSNT) — Local veterans plan on holding a protest at the Topeka Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The protest was planned after the hospital announced it might be getting rid of its emergency room within the next couple of years.
Veterans are hoping to raise awareness of the protest and hope that by speaking out, they’ll be able to keep the VA the way it is now.
One Topeka veteran, Michael Miller, is a patient at the VA. He has been using their services since the ’90s and since then, things have changed.
“We were told we would be taken care of,” Miller said.
If the VA was to shut down the Topeka location’s emergency room, the closest one would be in Leavenworth which is 60 miles away. For veterans like Miller, he doesn’t want to be treated anywhere else.
“This is their hospital. They can get everything they need there, mental health,” Miller said.
Some veterans use the VA to treat mental health issues like PTSD. They’ve built trusting relationships with the doctors and don’t want to see that go away.
Now they are speaking up to save what they’ve always known by holding a protest.
“It was started after the petition started going around and more people became aware,” Alex Kieffaber, the protest organizer said. “Really just wanting to do the next step. Rain or shine we will be out there.”
The protest will be at the corner of 21st and Gage at 10 a.m. Thursday.