Montana State VA Director Dr. Judy Hayman spoke to KGVO News and celebrated the 10,000th Montana veteran to receive at least the first COVID 19 vaccination, but she also provided more information about her agency and her staff.

“It's taken a team of incredibly dedicated and devoted VA employees to vaccinate 10,000 veterans,” said Dr. Hayman. “We vaccinated in I believe 13 sites across the state. We've gone from Billings to Havre and from Missoula to Kalispell.”

Hayman praised both her staff and the veterans they served throughout the state.

“Our VA Montana staff have just been absolutely incredible,” she said. “One of the things that the pandemic has shown us is what a great team of employees we have, and that the veterans themselves have also been absolutely incredible. A veteran in Havre brought in doughnuts for our staff because he was concerned about our staff.”

Dr Hayman was asked about the progress on the new David J. Thatcher VA clinic currently under construction on West Broadway.

“It's incredible,” she said. “The architects have done a fabulous job, and the last I've heard is that construction is ahead of schedule. We're also really excited because we're going to be able to hold an official in-person grand opening so that veterans can come in and take a look before they have their first appointment. We were going to make a big splash with the grand opening.”

Dr. Hayman provided a brief preview of some of the services to be offered at the new clinic.

“We're adding services there,” she said. “We're expanding physical therapy and we'll have a lot more telehealth specialty health services available. We're in the process of looking to hire a chiropractor so we can have a chiropractor on site, and we've added an audiology staff. It enables all of our VA staff in Missoula to be in one location.”

The $31 million dollar clinic will be approximately 60,000 feet and take up nearly eight acres.

The clinic is expected to open this winter.

 

LOOK: 100 years of American military history