Bill introduced to name Peoria VA clinic for Bob Michel

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[JUNE 19, 2004]  WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, has introduced legislation that would honor former House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel through the naming of the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Peoria, Ill., after the former congressman. The legislation would officially name the facility the Bob Michel Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

"I know Bob was very committed to opening this VA clinic and providing our veterans with quality health care," said LaHood. "I cannot think of a better way to honor his legacy than to name the Peoria clinic after Bob Michel."

Michel, who joined Speaker Dennis Hastert in France earlier this month for ceremonies remembering the 60 anniversary of D-Day, was a decorated veteran from the European Theater during World War II. He was a member of the Army's 39 Infantry Regiment, serving in England, France, Belgium and Germany. He fought on the beaches of Normandy and continued through the Battle of the Bulge. During his service he was injured by machine-gun fire, which earned him the Purple Heart. Michel also received two Bronze Stars and four Battle Stars.

A decade after his military service, Michel began his distinguished congressional career. Starting in 1957 and continuing for 38 years, he served the citizens of Illinois and the entire nation as the congressman from the 18th District of Illinois. Michel established himself as a leader in the House, serving six years as minority whip and culminating his career as the House Republican leader from 1981 until he retired in 1995.


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With his background as a veteran, Michel knew the need for quality health care for those who had served in the military. With the same character and conviction he used during his military service, he helped lead the charge to establish the VA outpatient clinic in Peoria. Michel was successful in obtaining the funds for this facility, which opened in 1979.

LaHood hopes the legislation, which is co-sponsored by the 18 other U.S. House members from Illinois, will be carried by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in the Senate.

[News release from Rep. Ray LaHood,
18th Congressional District]

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