U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie visited VA facilities in Cheyenne on August 15 as part of his goal of reaching more of the country's veterans.
During his visit, Secretary Wilkie toured the Cheyenne VA Medical Center, the VA Benefits Office and the Vet Center.
Wilkie said he is impressed with the facilities and wants to do more to help Cheyenne reach the region's rural veterans.
"I need to get more resources into Cheyenne where they can get their vehicles out into more corners of the state. And that is a very different outreach program from what you would find in a New York City or a Miami or Dallas," he said.
Officials from the Cheyenne VA say it serves only a third of the veterans in its service area and that they would like to expand its tele-health program to reach more veterans.
Wilkie said he wants to do more to support internet connectivity in the region so veterans can take advantage of those tele-health services.
"We can fund all the tele-health we want, and I've got over a billion dollars in the budget for that, but if there's no connectivity up in the northern part of the state then all the tele-health in the world isn't going to make any difference," he said.
Wilkie added he wants the VA to do a better job of addressing veteran suicide rates through outreach. He encourages veterans to use the VA's crisis hotline at 800-273-8255 if veterans need support.
"I want people to know that's out there, no matter where they live. So if they need us and they are in trouble or stress, we can do our best to get out to help them," he said.