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05-06-03, 11:43 AM
VA Arranges Celebrity Visits for Hospitalized Troops
WASHINGTON (April 30, 2003) - The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) made arrangements for actresses Bo Derek and Jennifer Love Hewitt to
visit troops in Bethesda Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical
Center recovering from injuries and wounds sustained during Operation Iraqi
Freedom, Saturday, April 26.

Hewitt volunteered to join Derek on the tour. The time was
well-spent lifting spirits, bringing encouragement and thanking men and
women for their sacrifices.

"It was an amazing experience. Getting to meet people who've given
so much for our country really puts things in perspective and makes me
appreciate all that they've done for us and all that I have so much more,"
Hewitt said.

"Veterans deserve our unfailing respect and attention for the
sacrifices they have made," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony
Principi. "I think it's important for our men and women who serve and have
served in uniform to know that the nation supports them. We appreciate this
heartfelt gesture made by Bo and Jennifer."

Derek routinely visits hospitalized veterans, and she most recently
attended VA's 17th annual Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic held in
Snowmass Village at Aspen, Colo. earlier this month. This rehabilitation
program is open to all U.S. military veterans with spinal cord injury or
disease, certain neurological conditions, orthopedic amputations, visual
impairments or other disabilities, who receive care at any VA facility.

As National Honorary Chairperson for VA's National Rehabilitation
Special Events, Derek shares VA's commitment, helping to spread the good
news about VA's rehabilitation programs and highlighting the courageous
veterans who take part in the Winter Sports Clinic.

"I was grateful to have had the opportunity to thank them myself for
their service and sacrifice," Derek said of her visit with the troops
Saturday. "I was humbled by their courage. They humanized the war for me
and that helps me appreciate them and their families that much more."
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