WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), George Voinovich (R-OH), and U.S. Rep. Michael R. Turner (OH-03) led a letter with the Ohio Congressional Delegation today urging the Obama Administration to place the Veterans Affairs Health Administration (VHA) Archives at the VA Medical Center campus in Dayton.
"The Miami Valley is a natural fit for the VA Archives," Brown said. "Ohio is home to nearly one million veterans and world class VA facilities and the proud military tradition of the region would make it a fitting home to the VHA Archives. This move would promote economic development and solidify Ohio has as the nation's leader in veteran's medical care and expertise."
"Movement of the Veterans Affairs Health Administration Archives to Dayton, Ohio would be a win-win for Ohioans," Sen. Voinovich said. "It would help consolidate files while also providing good paying, much -needed jobs. Dayton has the infrastructure to accommodate the facility and I encourage Secretary Shinseki to select Dayton."
"The Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, one of the three original soldiers' homes, has served Ohio's veterans for over 140 years," Turner said. "The region's long-standing commitment to our nation's veterans and its history of military innovation makes Dayton the ideal location for Veterans Affairs Health Administration Archives. The consolidation of the VA archives to the Dayton VAMC would have a significant economic impact on the Miami Valley."
Currently, the VA archives are kept in multiple locations. When the VHA decided to consolidate its archives into one central location, Dayton was immediately considered as a potential home. If Dayton is chosen, the facility would be open to the public and would be the central location for all records, photos and information gathered by the VHA over the years. It would be housed in two buildings. This complex would bring jobs to the Miami Valley and solidify its reputation as a region with a high-concentration of military and veteran's expertise and knowledge.
The letter cites the community support, synergy with existing museums and archival programs, and historical context as reasons the archives would be well-suited for placement in Dayton. Dayton is home to one of the nation's largest military bases and one of the original U.S. veteran's facilities. The VHA Archives would also complement the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson, which is the world's oldest and largest museum of military aviation - hosting 1.3 million visitors annually.
The VHA archives at the Dayton VA Medical Center would become the anchor of Dayton's West Third Street "Corridor of Innovation" which includes a Wright Brothers' bicycle shop, the home of African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Wright brothers' airplane factory, and a building that was part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. The VHA archives could also work seamlessly with nearby Wright State University, with its nationally recognized Graduate Program in Historical and Archival Administration.
Full text of the delegation letter can be found below:
The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20501
Dear Mr. Secretary:
As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) considers the location for the Veterans Health Administration Archives, we strongly urge you give full consideration to housing the archives at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in Dayton, Ohio.
As you know, Dayton has a long history of service to our nation's veterans and is home to one of the original United States Veterans facilities. The Ohio community has been caring for our nation's veterans since the Civil War era when it housed a branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, a predecessor to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Support for our veterans in the Miami Valley is as strong today as ever. As the home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of our nation's largest and most complex military bases, our community is focused on the needs of our nation's military. The Dayton community holds a deep respect for veterans-this respect is firmly ingrained in local civic institutions and among our community leaders. Our community is proud of the Dayton VA Medical Center and the service that it provides to the men and women who served in our armed forces. Ohio views hosting the VA archives as an extension of that support.
The Dayton region is well suited to supporting federal museums and archives, particularly related to national defense. The National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson is the world's oldest and largest museum of military aviation. With 1.3 million annual visitors, the museum would help generate visitation to the VA archives. The VA archives, if located at the Dayton VA Medical Center, would become the anchor of Dayton's West Third Street "Corridor of Innovation" which includes a Wright Brothers' bicycle shop, the home of African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Wright brothers' airplane factory, and a building that was part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. The VA archives could also work seamlessly with nearby Wright State University, with its nationally recognized Graduate Program in Historical and Archival Administration.
Perhaps the greatest attractions to locating the archives on the Dayton Medical Center campus are the historic buildings themselves. One of the buildings in Dayton under consideration housed the headquarters of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, which opened in 1867 and once had a zoo, library and arboretum. It was in this building that the principal federal support for our nation's veterans was planned and managed. Also under consideration is the Clubhouse which provided space for veterans to relax and where veteran organizations met such as the Grand 43 Army of the Republic, the Union Veteran League, and the Naval Veterans Association.
There is no location in the nation that offers more to the Veterans Health Administration archives than Dayton, Ohio, for community support, synergy with existing museums and archival programs, and historical context. With its impressive record of service to veterans and its history of innovation in military and non-military subjects, Dayton would provide an exceptional home for the project. Finally, with more than 930,000 veterans in Ohio and our state having the fourth largest number of returning veterans from the current wars, Ohio provides a large and diverse constituency who would undoubtedly contribute to the success of this project. We appreciate your consideration of our views.
Sherrod Brown George V. Voinovich Michael R. Turner
United States Senator United States Senator Member of Congress
Cc: Mr. Guy B. Richardson, Medical Center Director
Cc: Ms. Darlene Richardson,
"Historian" at Veterans Affairs