Lexington VA renamed after two local veterans

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- The VA center in Lexington was renamed in honor of two local veterans who dedicated their lives to serving our country.

It was a morning of song, dance and celebration at the Leestown VA Thursday as staff, veterans and politicians came together to celebrate the official renaming of both Lexington campuses.

“We’re excited to share this day with you, our renaming day, a day where we officially become bonded with two inspiring veterans,” said Emma Metcalf, director of the Lexington VA Health Care System.

Those veterans are Franklin R. Sousley of Flemingsburg and Troy Bowling of Lexington, two marines who served in World War Two and now two marines whose names will forever replace the VA’s Leestown and Cooper divisions.

“I think it does just emphasize the importance that we place on every veteran and every veteran who is willing to serve,” said Cynthia Breyfogle with the VA MidSouth Healthcare Network.

Sousley was one of six marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, seen in that iconic photo.

He died in action less than a month later, something his family says makes this renaming even more important.

“We want his name to go on and for them to do this at a VA facility, I mean it represents him and all the veterans and we are very proud and honored that they done that,” said Dwayne Price, Franklin Sousley’s Nephew.

Bowling also served in Iwo Jima, making it back to Lexington after the war where he dedicated his life to volunteering at the Lexington VA all the way until his death in 2017.

“I think he would be very honored and humbled that everything has happened the way it is and how it fell into place,” said Brooklyne Adkins, Troy Bowling’s granddaughter.

Congressman Andy Barr was one of the main reasons this did fall into place.

He is the one who introduced a bill for the name change that was signed into law by President Trump earlier this year.

“We give credit to the veterans who brought to our attention the idea of renaming this VA facility in honor of these two great patriots. They are the ones to be credited for this very special day,” said Rep. Andy Barr, (R) 6th Congressional District.

Dozens of those veteran were on hand and thousands more will walk through these newly renamed doors for years to come.

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