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Staff Worried About the Fate of Talihina Clinic

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Employees of a veteran's center in Talihina say they're "panicked, scared, shocked and uneasy" because of a proposal to close the center.

An email obtained by The Oklahoman from employees to area lawmakers and the Oklahoma Veterans Commission also says moving could endanger the health of residents.

Talihina Mayor Don Faulkner said losing the center's 268 jobs in the town of about 1,100 would be devastating. He compared it to the effect on Oklahoma City if Tinker Air Force Base, Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy all closed.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Shane Faulkner said closing the center is under consideration, but that no decision is imminent.

Faulkner said the center would be required to remain in southeastern Oklahoma and that McAlester and Poteau could be possible locations.