Oregon veterans react to Shinseki resignation

, Posted: Fri, May 30 2014 at 3:59 PM, Updated: Fri, May 30 2014 at 10:24 PM

Medford, Ore. -- After mounting pressure from Veterans' groups and members of Congress, Eric Shinseki resigned Friday as Veterans Affairs Secretary.

He was under scrutiny for a recent report on long and sometimes deadly delays for veteran's healthcare.

"I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances," said President Obama.

Earlier Friday morning Shinseki publicly apologized to all vets and their families for what's been found in Phoenix, Arizona which included delayed health care, with waits of more than 100 days.

All covered up by senior officials.

"I extend an apology to the people whom I care most deeply about and that's the veterans of this great country to their families and loved ones who I have been honored to serve for more than 5 years now," said Shinseki.

Vets say those delays aren't just in Phoenix, even Oregon veteran's are sounding off. 

"When the army asks us to go do things, we don't get the chance to say no, you know, they're orders. They send us to far away places to do bad things for them and when we come home, we signed on the dotted line, this isn't like free healthcare we're asking for, this is in our contract," said veteran Jesse Sankokirchen.

Sankokirchen has a rare form of blood cancer. He went to the V.A. in Portland.  He said the service there was good on the diagnostic side.

But when it came to following up with his medical care, he said the VA in Roseburg told him to go home and let the process take its course.

"The VA healthcare system is in a horrible mess," said one veteran who wanted to remain anonymous, who also experienced delays. 

Vietnam veteran and Oregon Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson says change is necessary and the promises made to veteran's shouldn't be broken.

"They did their duty and served us, and we need to do our duty and honor and serve them," said Richardson.

Deputy VA secretary Sloan Gibson will temporarily step into Shinseki's position while the White House searches for a permanent successor.

The focus now shifts entirely to what went so wrong in Phoenix, and to a much bigger job: ending long waits for care in the vast VA system .

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