After the story of a local veteran being turned away from the Oakwood VA made national news, workers there Monday declined to comment, referring instead to an Atlanta phone number for Veterans Affairs. No one there answered calls from The Times.
Chris Dorsey, a Gainesville native and Iraq War veteran, was told the clinic would not accept new patients. Dorsey suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was seeking treatment after symptoms had recently intensified. After finding no help at a Lawrenceville VA, he filmed his experience at the Oakwood location and put it up on YouTube.
Since the incident, Dorsey was able to get an appointment. But he and other area veterans say they are experiencing similar trouble with the VA.
Charlie Jones, a Vietnam veteran, volunteers at the Oakwood VA location, handing out cookies and other treats to fellow veterans, their families and staff members.
He said he has never had a negative experience at the clinic since he started visiting a year ago.
“I mostly just go to Oakwood for the volunteering. I wouldn’t hesitate to make an appointment if I needed to do so,” Jones said.
“I just think it’s a bad rap, I think there’s a whole lot more to it. I wanted to let the world know it’s not all bad.”