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Veterans share stories of service, importance of new VA clinic

Community-based outpatient clinic to serve growing veteran population

By Bryan Goodchild and Colleen Locke

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

November 10, 2021

The state-of-the-art, community-based outpatient clinic for veterans set to open on the UMass Chan Medical School campus will serve a growing veteran population, including Iraq War veteran Laura Curtis.

Curtis, who comes from a family of veterans, served as a psychiatric nurse in the Army Reserve 883rd Combat Stress Control Company out of Devens.

“We help people to understand what can stress people out in the combat environment and we try to do things to mitigate that stress,” Curtis said. “Their families were impacted, they were impacted, and they didn’t feel like people were paying attention to the mental health needs and I said to myself, if there’s something that I can do to provide help for them, then it’s my responsibility to do that.”

Curtis believes the new building, which is scheduled to open to patients on Dec. 15, is an extension of the respect she receives from her VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System care team.

“I know that when I go to the VA I’m going to feel cared for. That’s what I want for everybody that I served with too,” Curtis said.

Judith Pearcy joined the U.S. Navy in 1960.

“I was a very quiet, shy person, so everybody was very surprised that I did it,” Pearcy said.

While stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, Judy Pearcy met her husband, fellow veteran Floyd Pearcy.

The Pearcys, Curtis and World War II veteran Earl Zink talk about their time in the service and describe the care they get from the VA in the video above.

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New VA clinic on Worcester campus nears completion
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New VA outpatient clinic to be built on UMass Medical School campus in Worcester