The official dedication of the Brookings Veterans Administration clinic drew dignitaries, medical personnel, elected officials and those hoping to be elected, veterans and many well-wishers.

The Marine Corps League of Curry County provided the color guard and music.

Michael Shaputus, manager of the Bandon and Brookings Clinics, served as master of ceremonies, introducing VA officials, Audrey Golden representing local veterans, and Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield.

Welcome was extended by George Marnell, director of the Roseburg VA Healthcare System.

The invocation was presented by Wayne Knox, chaplain of the Roseburg health system.

Following the pledge of allegiance, led by Golden, Marnell spoke about the actual opening, on a rainy day in January.

He talked about the efforts that have been extended to make health care more available for veterans from Curry and Del Norte counties.

Its a work in process, he then said. You havent seen anything yet.

He said recruiting continues for a nurse practitioner and other staff to be hired specifically for the Brookings Clinic. Currently the clinic is staffed on a rotating basis by personnel from the Bandon clinic.

He thanked Golden for her volunteer work providing transportation for veterans to Bandon, Roseburg and Portland.

He noted the continuing need for that transportation for those who require surgery or treatment not available locally.

He introduced the new kiosk on display at the clinic, and Dave Algood from the Eugene Clinic, one of the creators of the kiosk.

The kiosk is the prototype of a new information system which will provide easily-accessed information for all clinic visitors.

There is good, bad, and ugly, he said, promising ever increasing quality of care.

DeFazio told the veterans that he will continue to work for additional funding to ensure making good on promises made to service personnel.

This is the third clinic opened in my district, he said. And one of the first in the country to serve two states.

He added, The volunteer efforts have been tremendous and are still needed.

I am so thrilled to be here today to honor those who have served our country.

Marnell and William Galey, MD, Director of VA network 20, presented DeFazio with a plaque recognizing his continuing efforts on behalf of veterans.

Galey spoke next, acknowledging the imperialistic way weve taken over another state San Francisco may be next, he said to laughter.

He included the geographic magnitude of the northwest network, with a widely spread population, and the bombing by Nobuo Fujita during World War II, the only manned attack on mainland United States

He said the northwest VA network wants to be good stewards to provide quality care and customer service to even the remote and nearly housebound veterans.

He admitted the organization is far from perfect, and spoke of the good life we all enjoy because of the sacrifices of life and limb made by the veterans.

Other local dignitaries present included Brookings Mayor Bob Hagbom, and members of the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce ambassadors.

A special guest of honor was one of the few remaining veterans of World War I, Al Cook, who is still telling jokes at 101.