Veteran and wife reunited after four months apart

Lela Ann Kirkman shows us pictures from her visit.


A veteran, who is a long-term resident at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, was finally able to see his wife after four months. 


What You Need To Know

  • Lela Ann Kirkman finally got to see her husband, Dennis Kirkman, after four months
  • She’s advocating for the VA to allow more frequent visits
  • She doesn’t know when she’ll get to visit her husband again

Lela Ann Kirkman visited her husband, Dennis Kirkman, last Friday.

Dennis Kirkman, a Vietnam vet, is a long-term resident at the Community Living Center at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury.

Before last Friday’s visit, the last time Lela Ann Kirkman saw her husband was in July. The VA is limiting visits due to COVID-19.

Kirkman said she is frustrated because she and her husband are both fully vaccinated.

After Spectrum News shared their story earlier this month, Kirkman said she received a call from the VA to schedule a visit. While she was able to see her husband, she still did not get to hug him. During the visits, she’s required to be socially distance.

“It’s been a year and a half since I’ve touched him,” Kirkman said. “But I was happy to see him. I was happy to get the visit. He was happy, too.”

She’s advocating for these visits to become more frequent, saying they should be scheduled at least two times a month.

“The veterans do need not to be forgotten and some of them are, but Dennis will never be forgotten,” she said. “Every time I can visit, I am there.”

The VA said visits for long-term care residents are scheduled by appointment and vaccination status is not taken into account. Each visit is about 30 minutes long.

Kirkman said she doesn’t know when she’ll get to see her husband again.



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