Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Public Relations Director Shane Faulkner has issued the following response to recent social media posts concerning the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center:
“On Monday, several images were posted on social media purporting to depict mistreatment of veterans in the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center. Likewise, allegations were made in the same social media post claiming that the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center is inadequately staffed.
“The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is unwavering in our commitment to our heroes in the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center, and we take all such claims very seriously. These allegations are under investigation.
“On the matter of staffing, without question, the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center has current vacancies for which we are actively recruiting; however, we applaud the efforts of the Veterans Center staff who are working longer and harder to ensure that the needs of our veterans are met.”
Six area legislators have also weighed in on the social media posts. They are state Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton; state Sen. Chris Kidd, R-Waurika; state Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton; state Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin; state Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton, and state Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton.
The legislators released the following joint statement:
“We take all allegations of veteran abuse and mistreatment at state facilities very seriously, and we appreciate the leadership of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs taking action to investigate and remedy the situation.
“We urge families to come forward with concerns of mistreatment as they are able. We encourage those families to be party to and maintain community committees that promote the welfare of their veteran residents at ODVA facilities.
“Further, we encourage any executive order relating to long-term care visitation to consider solutions to enable families to safely check upon the treatment of their loved ones in state facilities and other elder care facilities.”