Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Texarkana Clinic celebrates 20 years
The Texarkana Community Based Outpatient Clinic celebrated its 20th Anniversary Wednesday, Oct. 29. The event included guest speakers from community leaders and Veterans as well as a dance performance by a dance group.
As the Texarkana CBOC falls under Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, leadership from the main facility was also in attendance.
Susan Rayburn, RN, provided a 20-year account of the clinic, a history she has been apart of since the beginning. She presented a slideshow to the audience that chronicled two decades of service.
“I started with the clinic on its first day and we stood up the clinic with only five nurses. We started off with 1,000 Veterans and now we have more than 5,000. We love our Veterans here in Texarkana and our motto is ‘Putting our Veterans First.’”
After the slideshow, Seniors Participating in Community Events (SPICE), a dance group, performed a line-dance to “The Boogie Woogie Boy of Company B” and other classics.
Because the Texas-Arkansas state line divides Texarkana into two cities, Mayors from Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas were present to speak at the event.
“You know when an organization does a great job when they meet two pieces of criteria and I’ll tell you what they are,” Wayne Smith, mayor, Texarkana, Ark, said. “I drive by this clinic almost every day and the parking lot is almost always full. The next— in my time as mayor I have never received one negative complaint about this clinic.”
“A Veteran’s service does not end when he or she leaves the military,” Bob Bruggeman, Texarkana, Texas, said. “Often times they come home and they serve their communities.”
Earl Daniels, Vietnam War Veteran, gave the keynote address. The Stamps, Arkansas native gave a moving speech about his experiences in the military and his relationship with the Texarkana clinic.
“The Veterans only want to be treated with kindness,” Daniels said. “And the clinic here has treated me with nothing but kindness. Why did God put us here? Because he wanted someone to love and you love him back by loving your neighbor. They’ve shown me that here. The people here have taken me in and made me feel wanted and needed.”
Daniels shared how his family moved to Los Angeles from Arkansas and how he eventually came to enter military service during a time of conflict.
“I was born near here, Earl Daniels said. “I joined the Navy accidentally. People ask me ‘how can you join the Navy accidentally? I tell them that I tried to join the Air Force. I walked in and there were all these people. An Army recruiter and a Marine Corps recruiter came in and took fifty to sixty guys apiece, then the Marine Corps recruiter turned back and said, ‘The rest of you are going to the Navy.’ I had grown up in Arkansas my whole life. I didn’t know what the Navy was.
“I had even tried out for the Olympics. Out of three hundred people only three made the tryouts. I was one of the three. Then they said that they were only taking two. I bet you can guess who was the third,” Daniels added, laughing.
Daniels also cleared the way for others in his career field. “I was the first black man in electronics in the Navy and I had some problems, but I loved America so much that I didn’t pay attention to any of it and the clinic here has made me feel like I’m worth something.”
The Closing speaker was Dr. Beverly Greer, director, Texarkana CBOC.
“Our Veterans give their lives and we give our lives to our Veterans,” Greer said. “My father is a Veteran and he is about to turn ninety-one years old. In my time in the VA I have served Veterans who fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf, Somalia and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). We’ve been serving the Veterans of this community for twenty years and hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to serve them for twenty more.”