CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The American flag hanging in Dr. Gina Puzzuoli’s new office is faded and worn, but the three signatures splashed across it back in 1969 are still clearly visible, as well as the word “Saigon” — the place where three friends went to war and only one came back.
“My friend was the only one of them who came home from Vietnam,” she said. “When I came to work here, he came to me and said, ‘I want you to have this.’ I said, ‘That’s not the flag, is it?’ He insisted that I keep it, and I didn’t know this, but he was dying of colon cancer. When I took the job here, I thought this would be a pretty good place for it to be housed.”
The flag is one of more than a dozen pieces of wartime memorabilia donated by Puzzuoli that adorn the new Veterans Affairs health clinic in South Charleston. The clinic, which is roughly three times the size of its predecessor in Kanawha City, will allow the VA to treat more veterans and offer more services in the Charleston area, a move that should keep more veterans from having to travel to Huntington for some services.
“The main focus of us moving here is so that we can expand our services and provide services more quickly to veterans where they are, instead of having them travel to Huntington…