I would like to take a moment to express gratitude to one of Santa Barbara’s unsung heroes. I received a letter from the Santa Barbara VA Clinic that Dr. Joseph Blum has retired after 32 years serving our local veterans.

I have been amazed at the level of care I receive at our local VA Clinic. The whole staff is courteous, efficient and genuinely caring. Here is just one example:

Dr. Blum gave me a referral for a medical procedure at a non-VA clinic, and when I had trouble scheduling the appointment, he went out of his way to personally make multiple phone calls, send emails, and have his staff continue to follow up; he kept me in the loop with phone calls about the obstacles they faced and progress they were making.

There is no doubt that Dr. Blum could have made a lot more money in private practice rather than spending 32 years with the local VA. He served our veterans and thanked us for our service while keeping humanity in the face of mountainous bureaucratic red tape, working in an understaffed clinic with a staggering caseload, and receiving what I assume was a modest salary.

I understand some VA Clinics in this country have come under fire for long waits and impersonal treatment, but I cannot speak highly enough about the way our veterans are treated in Santa Barbara. I see homeless veterans come in wearing filthy clothes and receive the same respect as everyone else.

Thank you Dr. Blum, for your service to our country and to our community. I hope you enjoy a well-deserved retirement.


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