The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 19, 2011

Enid’s newest community

Interest in local VA residential center continues to grow, administrator says

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — In November Greenbrier Village signed a contract with Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Medical Center to provide a VA residential center in Enid.

Three months later, the center has five residents.

Jim Thorpe, Greenbrier administrator, said they have had a great relationship with Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.

“We were hesitant at first to work out something with the VA,” Thorpe said. “I’ve not had anything work as smooth as the VA out of Oklahoma City.”

Richard “Mac” McDonald, of Fairview, was the first person to be accepted to the VA residential center in Enid after the contract was signed.

Richard “Lee” Dulinsky, of Ponca City, was accepted shortly after McDonald.

The others came quickly thereafter, and interest in Enid’s new center continues to grow.

“I get on average two to three calls a day from people interested in the VA,” Thorpe said, adding it’s clear there are many people interested.

But while he hopes the number of residents grows, he doesn’t want it to grow so fast Greenbrier doesn’t have enough staff to take care of everybody.

Thorpe said he realizes military veterans have special needs and it would beneficial to put them together in their own community.

“I need people who are trained,” Thorpe said. “I am hoping our younger generation coming out of high school sees the need to help in that (kind of) area.

“There’s got to be a heart that says, ‘Man, they paid for me and I want to pay for them.’”

Veterans interested in the VA residential center can contact Thorpe at Greenbrier, 233-0121.

When contacted, Thorpe usually directs veterans or families of veterans to the VA Clinic, across the street from Greenbrier, at 915 E. Garriott. The clinic, which can be reached at 242-5100, is a community-based outpatient clinic for veterans.

Thorpe said he wants veterans to know what benefits they are eligible for when applying to the VA residential center, and the VA Clinic can determine your benefits, he said.