STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Prior to his rally at Covelli Centre Tuesday night, President Donald Trump spoke at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers.
He said he is committed to helping veterans and — while not getting into specifics — hinted that a new VA healthcare facility could be coming to the area.
“In my administration, we will always protect those who protect us,” he said.
Trump spoke to 150 veterans and their families as part of an invitation-only event. Many more wanted to get in, but couldn’t.
The stop is part of American Heroes Week, recognizing those who put their lives on the line to protect Americans every day.
“A day that I won’t forget for a long time,” said Post Commander Jan Brown.
Trump recognized 97-year-old Robert Bishop, an Ohio veteran who served in World War II during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was presented with a certificate recognizing his service.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Bishop said. “I never expected anything like this. And of course he called me a hero. I’m not a hero. I just did my job.”
Trump was joined by Secretary David Shulkin, Department of Veterans Affairs; Secretary Ryan Zinke, Department of Interior and Secretary Rick Perry, Department of Energy. First Lady Melania Trump and White House political aide Omarosa Manigault are also traveling with Trump.
The intimate gathering included a number of local veterans’ organizations.
Trump talked about the new VA accountability law, as well as his administrations goal to improve the health care for veterans.
“That means people are accountable for taking care of our vets,” Trump said. “And if people are not taking care, we hold them accountable.”
Meanwhile outside the Post, neighbors crowded around the cordoned off police tape or stood outside their homes, hoping to snap a picture of the president.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” a neighbor said. “For this area, this area needs some revitalization to get everybody worked up.”