The U.S. Senate has approved naming the the local Veterans Affairs clinic in honor of the man instrumental in opening the clinic The Senate Thursday approved renming the Havre clinic the Merril Lundman Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. A similar measure already had been approved by the House of Representatives, and the proposal is now in the desk of President Barack Obama for his signature. Sen. Max Baucus was a co-sponsor of the bill, proposed by Montana’s Sen. Jon Tester. “This is great news,” said Baucus, D-Mont. “I only wish Merril was here to celebrate with us. His dedication to his country and his fellow soldiers is inspiring, and it is truly fitting that his legacy will live on through the clinic. “I couldn’t be more proud to have had a hand in making the Havre VA clinic a reality for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country, and it is icing on the cake to know it will bear Merril’s name, forever,” he added. Lundman began collecting signatures and contacting the members of Montana’s congressional delegation, the governor's office and the Veterans Administration in 2007 in his effort. At that time, veterans from the Hi-Line typically had to travel to Great Falls to receive their government-subsidized medical treatment. Several thousand qualifying veterans live in the counties around Havre. Lundman said he saved as much as $13,000 a year in prescriptions alone by using VA services, but that the savings was offset by having to travel to use The services. Lundman began his signature and letter-writing campaign after the VA selected Lewistown and Cut Bank to receive new clinics, but passed over Havre in the process. He died Dec. 22, 2007, one month before Montana’s Rep. Denny Rehberg announced that the VA would open a Havre clinic. The clinic opened in the medical complex just east of Northern Montana Hospital in January 2009.
Senate Oks naming clinic for Lundman
Published: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
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