Southern Arizona VA reacts to Shinseki resignation - Tucson News Now

Southern Arizona VA reacts to Shinseki resignation

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Southern Arizona VA held a memorial service to remember veterans on Friday, the official date of Memorial Day observance.

The ceremony took place just hours after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced his resignation.

Southern Arizona VA Chief of Staff David Emelity said he and most of his staff think he did a good job during his tenure.

"He's a very dedicated secretary and veteran so we were kind of sad to see him go. I feel he just needed to respond to political pressure but I believe he was doing a good job," Emelity said.

In regard to weeks of negative attention from alleged mismanagement at the Phoenix VO, Emelity said every VA hospital is a separate entity with its own director and management team.

"You can have problems in one area but it shouldn't reflect on other hospitals like Southern Arizona VA, where I think we do an outstanding job," Emelity said.

Dozens of guests filled the auditorium at the Tucson VA for the memorial service as they paid tribute to the men and women who have served in the military.

Donald Alff served in the U.S. Army and the Air Force in the 1950s and visits the Tucson VA regularly for treatment and to volunteer.

Alff said he has had 16 major surgeries, including hip and shoulder replacements. He said he feels for veterans who have had to wait for medical attention, but said in his experience, the Tucson VA treats its patients well.

"You don't have to worry about 'am I going to be able to get in?' Am I going to be taken care of? You don't have to worry here because that thing doesn't happen. They take well care of you," Alff said.

The Southern Arizona VA has enrolled nearly 60,000 veterans for treatment, according to Emelity.

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