BECKLEY, W.Va. — Governor Jim Justice was in Raleigh County on Tuesday for the grand opening ceremony of the relocated Beckley Veterans Counseling Center.
The new facility, which will be operated by the Veterans Administration, is located on Grey Flats Road. The counseling center was established in 1988, and serves about 16,000 veterans in Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Boone, Wyoming, Nicholas, Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties.
Director of the Beckley VA Medical Center Stacy Vasquez attended the event. She said her work with veterans over the years has a deeply personal connection due to her own experiences as the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran who had difficulty adjusting to civilian life after his service.
“I was born in 1972, just behind him returning from Vietnam, and I know that he struggled with going to the V.A. for the psychological treatment that he really, really needed….and the Vet Center was a safe space for him to do that,” she said, adding, “One of the most important parts about the Vet Center is that they put other veterans together, so they can talk about their experiences, and really share openly and honestly.”
During the previous legislative session, Governor Justice worked with state legislators to exempt veterans’ retirement income from state income tax, a $2.7 million combined savings for West Virginia’s veterans. William Cusson, a Beckley resident and Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart for his service, joined Governor Justice to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the center.
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold and representatives of the offices of U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also attended Tuesday’s ceremony.