Urban Lock visits the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Jefferson City at least every six weeks to have his hearing aids serviced.
Without the near-to-home convenience of the Department of Veterans Affairs facility, now at 3430 W. Edgewood Drive, it's not a certainty Lock could receive the services he needs.
The new clinic, which opened Jan. 28 after a half-mile move, expands on the previous location at 2707 W. Edgewood Drive. It increases the footprint from 7,625 to 10,476 square feet.
It also provides room for more services and more programs than the previous building.
Lock, a 78-year-old U.S. Army veteran, said he didn't need any health services early Thursday morning. Instead, he was there to rub elbows with other veterans, talk to doctors and administrators, and celebrate a grand opening of the clinic. More than 50 veterans fanned out in the clinic's lobby and conference room to enjoy coffee, pastries and fruit — and to talk about the health care they receive at the facility.
"I come here quite often. These are really nice people," Lock said.
Emil Fischer, an 85-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, said he was a surgical technician in the Korean War, and as such, he appreciates good health care. Having traveled back and forth to Columbia for treatment before the VA opened outpatient clinics, he appreciates the convenience of the new location.
It has only been in recent years that one of Bernard Goodin's legs began to bother him. Goodin now walks with a walking stick. He enjoyed the coffee and conversation Thursday morning, but he was at the clinic for treatment on his leg, which was injured while he served more than 50 years ago.
A man driving a forklift loaded with ammunition — 5-inch projectiles, each weighing 52-57 pounds — ran over the Navy man's leg as they were working in 1963 in New Jersey. Despite Goodin's injury, he recovered and remained in the service more than 20 years.
"It never bothered me until I got older," Goodin said.
Dave Kurre, who was a Navy Seabee (Construction Battalion) during the Vietnam War, said he appreciates the way staff at the clinic treat him.
Kurre is grateful for the convenience of the clinic because he's "had a lot of things go wrong with me over the years," he said. "(And the VA clinic is) only about five minutes from the house."