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Veterans Voice


NORTHAMPTON — The VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System in Leeds has hired five new mental health professionals.

The hiring follow an effort by the Department of Veterans Affairs to hire 1,600 new mental health professionals nationwide, as outlined in President Obama’s 2012, Executive Order to Improve Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members and Military Families.

“I am proud of the hard work our staff has completed to bring these new staff members on board,” said Roger Johnson, director of the Leeds medical center. “We have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning veterans. We must ensure that all veterans have access to quality mental health care when needed. We are not slowing our efforts, and will continue to actively recruit for any vacant mental health positions for the future so veterans will get the care they need.”

As of May 31 the VA had hired a total of 1,607 mental health clinical providers nationwide. Additionally, the agency has hired 2,005 mental health clinical providers to fill existing vacancies.

“Meeting this hiring milestone significantly enhances our ability to improve access to care for those veterans seeking mental health services and demonstrates our continued commitment to the health and well-being of the men and women who have served the nation,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Meeting this goal is an important achievement, but we recognize that we must continue to increase access to the quality mental health care Veterans have earned and deserve.”

Mental health professionals interested in seeking employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs can obtain information at www.vacareers.va.gov.

Veterans and their families interested in learning more about the mental health services provided by VA can go to www.mentalhealth.va.gov.

Calling the roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette May 30 through June 12. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

Daniel W. Connor, 56, Florence, d. June 9; U.S. Army, 1976-79.

Richard Campbell Moodie, 64, Northampton, d. June 8.

James H. Weaver, 69, Hadley, d. June 6; Vietnam War; U.S. Army.

Richard A. Witherell 60, Westhampton, d. June 5; Army National Guard.

Alan F. Holt, 65, Southampton, d. May 30; Vietnam War; U.S. Air Force.

Joseph “Joe” Czeropowicz, 94, formerly of Northampton, d. May 16; World War II; U.S. Army, 7th Field Artillery, first lieutenant, European theater.

Veterans Voice appears on the first and third Saturday of the month. Readers are encouraged to submit questions, story ideas, announcements, military photos with captions and other materials of interest to veterans. Send submissions to Veterans Voice, c/o James Lowe, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Box 299, Northampton, MA 01061; or email jlowe@gazettenet.com.

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