Governor Justice cuts ribbon to new Veterans benefits office in Parkersburg

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 12:13 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - West Virginia Governor Jim Justice visited St. Joseph’s Landing in Parkersburg on Thursday to cut the ribbon on a new West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance benefits office.

The new benefits office replaces Wood County’s previous WVDVA location in the county courthouse, with a larger, more accessible headquarters. Rather than the upper floors of the courthouse, the new benefits office rests on the first floor of St. Jo’s in what used to be a pediatricians office.

“We needed more space, and we needed to be a little more accessible from the place we had prior to this, which was pretty confining,” said WVDVA Cabinet Secretary Dennis Davis. “A lot of our veterans are challenged from an accessibility stand point. This, as you can see, is pretty accessible. We are on the first floor, not on the third and fourth floor, and the offices and hallways are wider.”

The new benefits office is in the same building that houses St. Joseph’s Recovery Center and WorkForce West Virginia’s Adult Learning and Training Center. A news release from the governor’s office says state officials hope the building will become a “one-stop-shop for veterans' needs.”

Governor Justice, who spoke to a small crowd of masked onlookers just before the ribbon cutting, says he wants to do everything he can to help veterans.

“Tears come to my eyes to think that our state, our state has not already stepped up. Are you kidding me? It is a drop in the ocean of the dollars that we spend in our state and these are the very people, I’ve said it until I’m blue-green, the very people that ask so little and have given so much,” said Justice.

Just before Justice spoke, Davis praised the governor for his willingness to work with and help veterans, but Justice says that should be expected.

“I really appreciate our secretary saying all the good stuff that has happened, but we needed to do it, and we need to continue to do it. It is what is expected of us,” said Justice.

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