Part 1: East TN veterans hoping for VA hospital closer to home

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- They served our country, but thousands of veterans in East Tennessee say we're letting them down when they get back because the specialized healthcare they need is too far from home.

Dave Neubauer can't understand it - a Navy airman, Neubauer was honorably discharged in 2007. While serving, he tore a muscle in his knee and has had two surgeries. But now it's flaring up again.

"Sometimes I don't pay attention to it, I don't feel it. But then there's sometimes I'll step on it wrong and it'll shoot straight up to a 10 and I'll feel like I can't walk anymore," said Neubauer.

But to get help, the nearest VA is more than two hours away. Trips to Johnson City, Nashville or Murfreesboro so inconvenient and uncomfortable, he tries to avoid them altogether.

"You drive up there, they assess your situation, you drive back home. Then you have another appointment you have to drive to for a consultation, drive back home again. And by the time you're all said and done with everything you've had about three or four different appointments in Johnson City. And I think it's more hassle than actually having the pain itself," said Neubauer.

Like thousands of veterans, Neubauer is calling for the VA to bring a hospital to our area. Tonight at 11, we'll show you who's fighting for the cause, and how a local VA Medical Center would impact our veterans.

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