For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, September 12, 2018 – In a letter of support sent to Congressman Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee’s 4th congressional district, American Veterans (AMVETS) Executive Director Joseph Chenelly expressed strong support for the bill that would designate the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility Expansion of the Department of Veterans Affairs Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as the “Sergeant John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility.”
Sergeant Toombs served in the Tennessee Army National Guard as a part of the highly distinguished 230th Signal Corps. He deployed to Afghanistan during his 6-year tour, and he returned home bearing the symptoms of Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that worsened after he left the National Guard in 2014. After two years of battling PTSD and failing to receive the necessary treatment at the Murfreesboro VA, at the time one of the lowest-rated VA medical centers in the country, Sgt. Toombs tragically took his own life in November of 2016.
The letter to Congressman DesJarlais read: “AMVETS … supports the enactment of H.R. 2634. We believe passage of this law will provide the nation with an enduring reminder of the importance of delivering quality mental and physical healthcare to our nation’s veterans, especially those in crisis who turn to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.”
Sgt. Toombs’s father, David, met with former Navy Capt. Jennifer Vedral-Baron, the new Murfreesboro facility director following his son’s death. The two discussed her efforts to improve access to healthcare for veterans in crisis and the ongoing construction of a new Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility. During the conversation, Vedral-Baron raised the notion of naming the new building after Sgt. John Toombs, an idea his father supported.
“We thank you for sponsoring this important legislation and will implore your colleagues in Congress to support the passage of H.R. 2634, for the sake of our men and women who served in uniform and need our country to keep its promise to each of them,” the letter concluded.
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years.