Medal of Honor recipient speaks for vets, surprised by neighbors

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - More people sounded off Wednesday night over the increasingly controversial VA Hospital location site off Brownsboro Road.

While some neighbors worry about traffic and say the Veterans Administration should just refurbish the current site on Zorn Avenue, others strongly disagree.

The meeting was about an environmental assessment of the location.

The crowd was surprised when a Medal of Honor recipient showed up asking neighbors to consider the needs of the vets.

It was the usual fare over the VA Hospital Brownsboro Road location. First, residents wanted to know why the VA had incomplete information when it conducted its traffic study. Other neighbors had environmental concerns over flooding, drainage, lighting and sound barriers.

Hospital officials explained why renovating the old Zorn Avenue property isn't an option: Not enough space---200-thousand square feet short of current needs, old systems and old problems. One of the biggest issues for vets and their families? The hill where parking is inadequate and most days impossible.

Vets worried the complaints over the project will hurt them most. "We've got to get off dead center and make a decision or we're going to see this thing go downtown," one veteran told the crowd.

And then, a surprise speaker walked up to the microphone with a heart felt plea for vets. It was Kentucky's own Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Dakota Meyer.

"I understand it's going to inconvenience you in your life in some way," Meyer said, "but as veterans, it wasn't an inconvenience to us and our families when we went out and fought for you to be free in the United States of America and live in a free country." A group of older veterans gave Meyer a standing ovation.

Meyer told WAVE 3 News, he feels it's his responsibility to speak on behalf of veterans and their needs. "There are so many of my friends coming back who gave so much and to be honest with you," he said, "I came here and I can't believe how these people are acting!"

Dates for future meetings about the VA site haven't been set.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.