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Dear Save the VA,

We write today to reiterate our support for the efforts to maintain the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Hot Springs, South Dakota, as a source of medical care and treatment for our nationís veterans. We appreciate you gathering today to lend your own voices to this effort.

Since the VA announced plans to close the Battle Mountain hospital and residential rehabilitation center in December of 2011, we have heard nothing but opposition from the veterans in South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming that this facility primarily serves. Rather, our tribal communities, state and national veteran service organizations, historic preservation groups, and other stakeholders have rallied behind the facility. They have embraced the quality care the staff and these facilities provide, which continues despite being hamstrung by the efforts and choices of VA leadership.

Despite claims from former Secretary Shinseki and Secretary McDonald that services would not be eroded during the scoping period of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, our constituents tell us that medical care continues to be cut. We have been assured that no final determinations have been made on the matter, yet earlier this year the VA, in its budget submission for Fiscal Year 2016, appeared to describe plans for closing the facilities before the EIS was complete. It is no wonder that area veterans distrust VA leadership.

We have worked to protect the Hot Springs facilities from closure, and we will continue to support efforts to keep the facility open. We believe strongly that the VA and area veterans would best be served by an effort to return the Hot Springs VA to its former level of operations and staff and by engaging local veterans and communities in ways to make operations and services both more meaningful and efficient for the next century.


Senator John Thune
Senator Mike Rounds
Representative Kristi Noem



Media Coverage:
Black Hills FOX
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
KCSR - Chadrad
Rapid City Journal
Hot Springs Star
KOTA Territory News 10:00


Author Mary Ellen Goulet's book "Reveille in Hot Springs: The Battle to Save Our VA" is available through Amazon.com or at Black Hills Books & Treasures.

"Reveille in Hot Springs" is a compelling read from cover to cover, culled from a year and a half of taking testimonials from veterans who have been treated at the Hot Springs VA. The original testimonials were sent to Washington, D.C. along with Save the VA's counter-proposal and this book represents only a sampling of the thousands of men & women who served our country. From WWII to OIF/OEF, the voices of the veterans echo one sentiment: Protect our VA.

Kirkus Reviews called "Reveille in Hot Springs" an "infuriating, stinging rebuke to politicians who leave returning soldiers to their own devices" and that "Readers may come away from this collection believing that the government should be cloning it [the Hot Springs VA] in every state."

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 Save the VA is an organization based in Hot Springs, South Dakota, dedicated to protecting the legacy of the 107-year old Battle Mountain Sanitarium National Historic Landmark VA Medical Center & Domiciliary in our community, which has been threatened with closure by VA administrators.

Battle Mountain Sanitarium was the first and only of the original National Soldier's Homes built for the short term healthcare needs of Civil War veterans instead of a retirement home, and is therefore the precursor to the entire Department of Veterans Affairs. The Hot Springs VA has been modified and updated throughout a century to care for America's veterans, becoming renowned for its successful PTSD & Substance abuse treatment facility in a beautiful, calm, and healing rural environment in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Save The VA's War Chest
Stands At:
$19,523.05 as of 10/2/2014

If you would like to contribute to Save the VA financially, please contact our treasurer Scott Haden at (605) 745-4140.

              Mailing address:

               Save the VA Campaign
               P.O. Box 851
               Hot Springs, SD 57747


Follow Save the VA on Social Media. Facebook, Twitter & YouTube accounts may contain videos and posts with opinions that may not reflect the opinion of Save the VA as a whole and are solely the opinion of the individual speaking.



The Save the VA Executive Committee currently consists of 15 primary members. They are, in alphabetical order: Don Ackerman, Bryan Brewer, Amanda Campbell, Don De Vries, Barb Fetters, Justin Gausman, Rich Gross, Scott Haden, Stu Marty, Karen Meston, Bob Nelson, Ray Palmer, Bruce Rampelberg, and Pat Russell.

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