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VA to host veteran appreciation events

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System invites central Minnesota veterans and members of the public interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at the VA to attend the veteran appreciation events scheduled at the St. Cloud VA's Community Based Outpatient Clinics, Feb. 15-17, during the National Salute to Veteran Patients.

Veteran Appreciation events are scheduled for the Montevideo CBOC on Feb. 15, the Max J. Beilke CBOC in Alexandria on Feb. 16, and the Brainerd CBOC on Feb. 17. The events run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at each location.

"The National Salute to Veteran Patients gives everyone a chance to let those who have given so much to our nation know that they are not forgotten," said St. Cloud VA Health Care System Director Barry Bahl. "We'll serve simple refreshments and invite all veterans receiving care at the clinics to stop by for a few minutes of Valentine's Day cheer."

At each of the events, veterans who are not enrolled for VA health care can obtain information on eligibility and how to apply for enrollment.

"We encourage veterans to bring along a fellow veteran who is not enrolled for VA health care so they can learn more about the VA and what benefits are available to them," Bahl said.

Bahl said he hopes visitors will also learn more about the important roles volunteers play at the VA throughout the year and perhaps pursue volunteer opportunities.

"Our volunteers are an important part of our health care team and the National Salute program is a great way for people to learn more about helping the veterans we serve at the Community Based Outpatient Clinics," Bahl said. "Visitors are often surprised at how varied our volunteer opportunities are."

Citizens are invited to send "Dear Veteran" Valentine's Day cards and letters.

Citizens, young and old, are once again sending Valentine's Day cards and letters to VA facilities simply addressed "Dear veteran."

Bahl said they are being distributed to Veterans throughout the health care system. People can send Valentine's Day cards to the St. Cloud VA or directly to the CBOCs at the following addresses:

St. Cloud VA Health Care System

4801 Veterans Drive

Attn: Voluntary Services

St. Cloud, MN 56303

Montevideo VA Outpatient Clinic

1025 North 13th Street

Montevideo, MN 56265

Max J. Beilke VA Outpatient Clinic

515 22nd Ave E

Alexandria, MN 56308

Brainerd VA Outpatient Clinic

722 NW 7th Street

Brainerd, MN 56401

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the VA, call the Voluntary Service office at (320) 255-6365.

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at As always, have a great week.