Construction set to begin for new Ocean County veterans clinic Smith: ‘A grateful nation must put veterans first’
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) today joined local and county officials in Toms River to mark the groundbreaking for a new Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic, which will replace Ocean County’s Brick clinic that Smith secured in 1991 but can no longer accommodate the large veterans population in the area.
“A grateful nation must put veterans first and ensure that their sacrifice is tangibly recognized in both word and deed,” said Rep. Smith, who has authored more than a dozen laws improving educational, homeless, health care and other benefits and services for veterans and their surviving family members.
“By providing world-class comprehensive medical care including primary health care, dental care, women's health care, mental health counseling, and physical therapy, this new clinic will help fulfill the solemn promise made by President Lincoln that we must ‘care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,’” said Smith.
Smith, who played a critical role in establishing the Brick VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, said the new Toms River clinic “will nearly double the size of the Brick clinic, providing a venue for significantly more medical and support staff.”
As part of his push for a VA outpatient clinic for Ocean County, Smith authored three amendments passed by the House of Representatives to establish the clinic in Brick.
When the Brick clinic reached capacity, Smith personally convinced then-Secretary Anthony Principi to open a new VA clinic in Fort Monmouth by 2003.
Additionally, in 2014, Smith was part of a leadership team to require the VA to authorize new leases for clinics like the one in Brick, needing to upgrade and expand its successful operation.
Slated to open in the spring of 2024, the new 68,000-square-foot Toms River clinic located on Hooper Avenue will provide more appointments, better access and enhanced services for the tens of thousands of veterans living in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
“The Toms River VA Clinic is designed to better meet the unique healthcare needs of an ever-growing veteran’s population in Ocean County and the region and better serve veterans by its proximity to other services,” said Smith.
“Bottom line: more veterans served with services they need with fewer wait times,” Smith said.
PHOTOS: Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) speaks at the groundbreaking for the new Toms River Veterans Affairs clinic. Smith is joined by Berkely Councilman Jim Byrnes, Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato, Ocean County Commissioner Bobbi Jo Crea, Commissioner Deputy Director Ginny Haines, Commissioner Gary Quinn, Plumsted Mayor Bob Bowen and Manchester Mayor Bob Hudak.