04/02/09 — Biden uses local projects as national examples

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Biden uses local projects as national examples

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 2, 2009 1:46 PM

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Vice President Joe Biden speaks to firefighters and their families at the Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Station Wednesday afternoon to deliver the news that the department will receive $100,000 of stimulus funds toward a new station.

Vice President Joseph Biden visited Wayne and Duplin counties Wednesday to announce federal stimulus package money being made available to the Goshen Medical Center in Faison and the Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Fire Department.

Goshen is receiving $636,000 and the fire department is getting $100,000, Biden announced.

The vice president was accompanied by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

In Faison, Vilsack told the gathering that Biden had chosen to come to eastern North Carolina because it represented the heartland of the country.

"Vice President Biden had many choice as to where he could spend his day. But he chose to be here and I think it tells you a lot about this man. He chose to be here because he understands the importance of rural communities to the value system of this county. He appreciates that you all appreciative and celebrate every day a sense of community, a sense of connection that is at the core of the American value system.

The money will allow Goshen to increase staffing and add 4,800 new patients, 1,500 of whom lack health insurance.

"I went to the secretary and I said give me a place what is one of the best examples that we can show the world, the nation as to why what we are doing with the stimulus package is worthwhile and people are getting their bang for the buck that it really makes a difference," Biden said.

Turning to Dr. Greg Bound, the center's CEO, Biden added, "Doc, he said we need to come and see you. All of you are helping create a better reality for the people in this neighborhood. It is great to see first hand how great together you all work."

"We are here today for the purpose of trying to help everyone in this community reclaim their vital role in our society," Biden said. "We are trying to make rural America stronger."

Biden called Goshen a model that will be replicated and would serve as laboratory as "to how things can be done more efficiently" and how health care can be delivered more quickly with quality.

"I am standing in a textbook example of just how to make that happen, how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is already serving families and creating more jobs," Biden said. "I don't have to look any further than this clinic to see recovery in action."

In Pikeville, Biden stood before of a crowd of more than 100 people and announced the $100,000 grant. He also told them of his respect for firefighters.

"Every aspect of my life," he said, has been affected by firefighters.

"I literally not only owe my career but I owe my life to you," the vice president said. "I really owe you guys. I genuinely do," he said.

He said that his admiration came from times he has had experience with firemen -- such as the time they saved his sons during a serious accident, the time he had them transport him to a different hospital when he had suffered an aneurysm and the time they got his family out quickly when lightning struck their home.

"I really owe you guys. I genuinely do," he said.

Biden said that he wanted to come to rural communities because "it's about going to the places where the roots of our values come from."

"This is community -- the definition of community," he said.