Two thirds of Montana’s Congressional delegation, along with the Lieutenant Governor were all in Missoula on Friday for the groundbreaking ceremony of the David J. Thatcher VA Clinic on West Broadway near the Missoula International Airport.

Dr. Judy Haman is the Executive Director of the VA Montana Healthcare System.

Dr. Haman said this clinic will offer state of the art care for Western Montana’s veterans.

“We’re very excited to announce our new, expanded David J. Thatcher VA Clinic,” said Dr. Haman. “It’s going to be state of the art, technologically savvy, with more space for our wonderful staff and it will also help our partners with the Veterans Benefit Administration.”

Senator Steve Daines said Thatcher’s story is of a 100 percent American hero.

“David Thatcher has one of the greatest American and Montana stories that I’ve ever heard of,” said Senator Daines. “He was a Doolittle Raider, and then he comes back to Montana and lives his life in relative obscurity, carrying the mail. Talk about a great American hero. It was never about David Thatcher; it was about his service to our country and he lived that way until he took his last breath on earth.”

Senator Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, was excited to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This is about making sure that we live up to the promises we made to our veterans,” said Senator Tester. “Our veterans can come get top notch health care, making sure that the VA can hire top notch nurses and docs, and that they have enough room to work in. The other clinic was nice, but any veteran who has been there knows it’s a great clinic, but it’s undersized. The population has grown, the demand has grown and quite frankly it’s really important that we build these kinds of facilities to meet the needs of our veterans, so it’s a great day.”

Lt. Governor Mike Cooney was at the event, as well, and noted the sheer size of Montana, with a large percentage of veterans needs a facility like the one being built in Missoula to honor David Thatcher.

“Montana is 147,000 square miles and we have an incredibly high percentage of people who have served our country in the military,” said Cooney. “It makes delivering services that much more difficult. This facility will help to bridge that gap and give services to veterans throughout the State of Montana.”

The new $31 million David J. Thatcher VA Clinic will be located at 3885 West Broadway and will be approximately 60,000 square feet in size and situated on eight acres.