County Executive Pat Ryan locally led the effort to keep the facility open. In March, he held a rally with veterans and community leaders demanding that the facility remain open
In April, County Executive Pat Ryan joined by then Congressman Antonio Delgado, held the only public hearing in the nation about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommendation to close VA facilities around the country
KINGSTON, N.Y. - Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan applauds the news that the VA at Castle Point Medical Center will remain open. The news comes after a bipartisan coalition of Senators announced plans to block the recommendations for closure, calling the process that led to the report “flawed and unneeded.”
“This is a huge win for the Hudson Valley, and for veterans and their families across the nation,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “The outcry from veterans and residents on the ground helped end a proposal that was simply unacceptable. However, the fight is not over. Now we must push even harder for real investments to strengthen our regional VA services. As County Executive, I will continue to advocate for my fellow veterans and work to ensure that they receive the care that they need and deserve.”
“We are relieved to know the Veteran community and their families’ voices were heard; the closure of Castle Point would have been devastating to the Hudson Valley. This was not just a fight for a building, it was a fight for our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and, most importantly, our families,” said Kevin Keaveny, Executive Director of the Hudson Valley National Center for Veteran Reintegration and Gavin Walters, Director of Vet2Vet of Ulster County. “This unprecedented victory demonstrated that a community that stands together remains stronger together.”
Before being blocked in the United States Senate, the Veterans Administration realignment report called for the closure of Castle Point VAMC and proposes downgrading to an outpatient clinic (CBOC) to serve the region, which would have removed all inpatient services and closed an existing fully-occupied senior living center (CLC).
In March, County Executive Pat Ryan held a rally with local veterans, elected officials, and community leaders regarding the recommendation to shutter the facility. At the time, County Executive Pat Ryan, a West Point graduate and combat veteran, called for the preservation of a VA medical center level facility in the Hudson Valley along with adding essential services related to mental health, substance abuse recovery, burn pit and other toxic exposures, and more. Shortly afterwards, County Executive Pat Ryan, joined by then Congressman Antonio Delgado, held the only public hearing in the nation about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommendation to close VA facilities around the country.
Ulster County has over 11,000 veterans who currently access VA services at Albany Stratton Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and Castle Point VAMC. Currently, the Ulster County Veteran Services Agency transports thousands of veterans annually to both of these locations. Veterans in Ulster County, depending on where they live, already travel up to an hour for these essential services.