Lahontan Valley VA Clinic celebrates grand opening

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FALLON, Nev. (KOLO) - "I can't say enough about it as far as the help they've given me," says John Geringer about the Lahontan Valley VA Clinic in Fallon.

Geringer is a Vietnam War veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been a patient at the clinic for ten years. Now, he will be going to the new facility on New River Parkway that just officially opened and replaces the old clinic in Fallon.

At nearly 10,000 square feet, officials say the clinic is about twice the size of the old clinic. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it will serve the growing number of veterans in six highly rural counties in Nevada which include Churchill, Eureka, Lander, Lyon, Mineral and Pershing, and constitute a 60-minute radius of travel from Fallon.

Geringer says if a veterans clinic didn't exist here, "We wouldn't have anybody to turn to," he says. "Nowhere to go. We wouldn't have the help that's been offered."

That help can be critical for patients in the area. Leslie Quinley, who manages the clinic, says it saw a 21 percent increase in patients last year.

"Every week, we are having more and more patients," says Quinley. "Whether they lived here previously, they moved here, or they're just now seeking care. I don't know if I know the answer to that but I just know that the need is there."

Officials say the clinic, which is formally known as the VA Lahontan Valley Outpatient Clinic, currently provides care and service to more than 2,500 veterans.

Geringer, who served in the Army, says he hopes having the clinic in a new building will entice veterans who need help, but aren't seeking it.

"The services that are offered are only going to help if we can get them in," he says.