(WTNH Video) Sen. Kissel, Legislators Listen to CT Veterans’ Concerns About VA Facility

November 13, 2014


ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH)– The state is taking a long, hard look at the Department of Veterans Affairs after a hearing Wednesday at the VA facility in Rocky Hill.

Vets were invited to speak out about their living conditions, and they had a lot to say. A lot of allegations were kicked around by veterans at the facility, and now it’s gotten the attention of decision makers in Hartford.

Crumbling buildings and windows that aren’t in much better shape.

“Screens are broken,” said one veteran. “They’ve got wood up where the windows should be.”

This is the state of the Rocky Hill Veterans Facility as shown by a veteran to state representative Christie Carpino.

Carpino was in Rocky Hill as part of a legislative hearing, a group of lawmakers is investigating complaints about the facility. They came wanting to hear from the vets, and this group of lawmakers got just what they wanted.

“It’s scary to be on a compound where you see constant death and it’s swept up under the rug like it’s okay,” said another veteran.

Not everything the vets had to say was negative.

“This place has been a blessing to me,” said a vet.

But the majority of veterans brought up problems ranging from staff training, to perceived bullying by state workers, to the asbestos and black mold that has been found in the facility. Vets say the biggest issue has been the staff itself and its treatment of the vets.

“These people feel like they’re not being respected, that they’re not being treated fairly,” said a veteran. “That’s the problem.”

All of it was enough for lawmakers to agree that changes need to be made to the Rocky Hill facility.

“For institutional changes to occur, we need to be on top of it long term,” said one lawmaker.

“This is unacceptable and we’re going to make changes,” said Carpino, R-Cromwell.

We contacted Commissioner Joseph Perkins earlier, he said he did not want to comment because he wanted this hearing to be all about the veterans.

A full report is expected sometime next month.