DANDY GYM VETERANS' STRUGGLE PAYS OFF AS NEW FITNESS CENTER OPENS.Byline: Lisa M. Sodders Staff Writer
NORTH HILLS - The veterans asked for a new gym.
What they got Friday, after years of lobbying the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Affairs is a term of the business that deals with the relation between a government and its veteran communities, usually administered by the designated government agency. and numerous politicians, was a new, $1.7 million Therapeutic Fitness Center at the Sepulveda VA.
``I think it looks great; I'm impressed,'' said Air Force veteran Martin Light, 70, of Van Nuys. ``It'll save us from dying a couch potato's
About 200 veterans, community leaders and elected officials turned out Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the refurbished center, which was damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake The Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM Pacific Standard Time in the city of Los Angeles, California. The earthquake had a "strong" moment magnitude of 6. and closed by VA officials in 1999.
The reopening ceremony comes just six months after the initial groundbreaking.
``We're our own best doctors,'' said Steven Palmer, 80, of Panorama City, one of the veterans instrumental in efforts to repair the gym. The facility will strengthen more than just muscles, he said.
``When you come here, there's the camaraderie ca·ma·ra·der·ie
Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends; comradeship.
[French, from camarade, comrade, from Old French, roommate; see comrade. . We need each other, because we speak the same language.''
The opening follows nearly three years of broken promises and bureaucratic bu·reau·crat
1. An official of a bureaucracy.
2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
bu delays to fix the gym and make it earthquake-proof. Initially, VA officials had promised to repair the gym but instead closed it indefinitely in 1999 after determining it was too expensive to keep open.
The situation began to change after a lengthy campaign by local veterans, numerous columns by the Daily News' Dennis McCarthy Dennis McCarthy may refer to:
On Friday, the hardwood-floor gym had been refurbished and smelled of new paint, but a swimming pool had been filled in to help stabilize the structure. Plans are in the works to raise private funds to build a new pool, said Charles Dorman, acting director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. .
Berman praised the members of the North Hills Veterans Advisory Board as a dedicated group ``who called my office, stopped me in the street and fought like tigers for the goal.''
McCarthy was honored for his columns, including a wry comment from Berman that the gym was ``no doubt a just and noble cause, but with somebody who never lets you forget about this just and noble cause, it forces you to concentrate.''
While pleased with the results, Darion Dubois, co-chairman of the North Hills Veterans Advisory Board, said, ``It's a celebration we didn't have to have; they never should have closed it in the first place.''
Dubois, 64, of Van Nuys said the veterans aren't going away, either. Next on their list, after the swimming pool, is a fight to make sure the veterans who use the Sepulveda facility continue to get services, too many of which have been transferred to the West Los Angeles
``The veterans were soldiers who protected our rights; the VA needs to protect the veterans.''
(1 -- color ) After years of lobbying, the new Therapeutic Fitness Center opened Friday at the Sepulveda VA Hospital.
(2 -- color) Veteran Jerry Kirschenbaum checks out the new gym at the Sepulveda VA Hospital on Friday.
(3) Vietnam veteran This article is about veterans of the Vietnam War. For the French psychedelic musical group, see Vietnam Veterans.
Vietnam veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War. Clifton Mitchell visits the exercise room at the fitness center at the Sepulveda VA Hospital.
Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News