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City hosts Marine Corps League convention

May. 05, 2013 @ 12:34 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marines from around the state converged on the Pullman Plaza Hotel for the Marine Corps League State Convention Friday and Saturday. Among the items on the conference's two-day agenda was a flag-raising ceremony, memorial service to honor fallen brethren and a business meeting with updates from the VA Medical Center and Hospice of Huntington's veterans program.

The Marine Corps League is a veteran/military association for active and former Marines that promotes that Corps and assists those in need.

"Our state convention brings together Marine volunteers from all over the state," said Rick Shank, commandant of the Huntington detachment of the Marine Corps League. "These guys are really something. They're all volunteers, and they're a proud group of Marines dedicated to helping other Marines and veterans from all branches."

Shank said guests from Hospice of Huntington and the VA Medical Center would offer updates on programs affecting veterans and ways the volunteers can be involved.

Attendance at the weekend's events ranged from 85 to nearly 150.

"We're always looking for ways we can support the vets in our local community," Shank said.

Pamela Smith, associate director of the Huntington VA Medical Center, discussed the medical center's expansions and more than $40 million in renovations and equipment purchases. She said a dialysis clinic is in the works, the center is relocating its emergency room for better access and shuffling administrative offices to make more room for primary care. Smith added that the Huntington VA's budget is in good shape, operating without a deficit.

"We want to be good stewards of the resources we need to provide you what you need," Smith said. "We want to continue to maintain our facilities to provide you the best possible care."

The event concluded Saturday evening with a banquet featuring Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams as guest speaker.

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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