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Veterans Protest Outside LR Memorial Hospital

Since the government shutdown Arkansas Veterans Affairs employees have been furloughed for four days. These employees are in charge of helping Arkansas veterans tap into the services and benefits they need.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - As the days pass, the government shutdown becomes increasingly more serious, according to veterans. Especially they said, as we get closer and closer to the end of the month since many of them rely on disability checks.

Employees of the VA office also attended a rally Saturday. Some are continuing to process claims for free.

"I served two years, seven months, 18 days and 12 hours," said Johnny Lee Patterson who said he remembers every minute of his time in Vietnam.

He said the effects of the shutdown, like the Veterans Affairs offices closing, is a slap in the face to men like him.

"I mean we protect our country," said Patterson. "And we deserve better than this, what we're getting from our Congress."

As far as walking in we are not able to assist veterans from the office," said Jann Avent.

Avent is an employee of the VA office and says most veterans who don't have internet access rely on walking in to the offices to file their claims for benefits. She also said that fellow employees are processing those claims on their own time.

"Right now they're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts because that is the right thing to do," she said.

They decided protesting outside the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital where many of their brothers in war seek treatment was the best place to be heard.

"I hope they listen and stop this. They need to stop it now," said Patterson. 

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