Senate approves bipartisan legislation to name Galesburg VA clinic after Lane Evans

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced that the Senate unanimously approved legislation that would name a veterans facility in Galesburg, Illinois the “Lane A. Evans VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.” U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) has led the effort in the House of Representatives to honor the legacy and public service achievements of the former Congressman from Western Illinois. The bipartisan legislation is supported by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation.

Evans – who represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District for more than 20 years – was known throughout his career in Congress as a champion of veterans’ issues and served as the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for a decade. After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Evans passed away last month at the age of 63.

“The best way we can honor the memory of Lane Evans is to continue his work on behalf of America’s veterans,” Durbin said. “Given his lifetime of service, it is a fitting tribute to remember our great champion of veterans by naming the VA medical center in Galesburg, Illinois in Lane Evans’ honor.”

“As a veteran, Lane Evans saw firsthand the need for better community-based care for our nation's servicemen and women,” Kirk said. “Renaming the Galesburg facility in his honor will serve as a fitting tribute to a man who spent more than two decades giving a voice to veterans throughout Illinois and the nation.”

“The dedication of a VA facility in the heart of the region Lane Evans represented is a fitting tribute and acknowledgement of his career-long fight to ensure all veterans get the care and benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Bustos. “I applaud the Senate for passing legislation today to name the Galesburg VA Clinic after Lane and will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this done in the House and signed into law.”

A Rock Island native, Evans joined the U.S. Marines Corps at age 17, just two weeks after he graduated from high school. When he returned home following his service, Evans used the GI Bill to earn a college degree, graduating magna cum laude from Augustana College in Rock Island before receiving a law degree from Georgetown.

First elected to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District in 1982, Lane Evans went on to serve 12 terms before retiring in 2007. Evans was the first chairman of the Vietnam-era Veterans’ Congressional Caucus and the first Vietnam-era veteran to serve as ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, a post he held for 10 years.

In his first term, Evans led the effort to create a pilot program establishing community-based veterans centers to help veterans with job and marriage counseling and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The program has since grown to include hundreds of veterans’ centers around the country. His record on behalf of veterans earned him the praise and respect from veterans’ service organizations and his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle.