Prepared Statement

MAJOR CHARLES R. SOLTES, JR., O.D. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BLIND REHABILITATION CENTER

Congressional Record Statement of Senator Daniel K. Akaka

Madam President, I am pleased that the Senate is passing H.R. 4360 by unanimous consent. Major Soltes was truly an inspiration to all of us, and I am proud to support this legislation. Major Soltes deployed to Iraq in 2004 and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our great country after the vehicle in which he was traveling ran over an improvised explosive device. Throughout his career in the Army, he assumed many leadership positions, received numerous military decorations, and was instrumental in establishing a free medical clinic for the local population in Iraq.

It is particularly fitting that we are naming the VA blind rehabilitation center in Long Beach, CA, after Major Soltes. He was from Irvine, CA, a graduate of the New England College of Optometry, and completed his residency at the prestigious Brooke Army Medical Center. He also served as the Director of the Optometry Residency Program at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1999, Major Soltes became the clinical director of Irvine Vision Institute, an optometry specialty center where served until his voluntary deployment to Iraq.

Major Soltes leaves behind his wife, Sally Dang, O.D., and three young children. Dr. Dang is a low-vision optometrist who received her training at the West Haven VA Blind Rehabilitation Center after graduating from the New England College of Optometry. She has recently volunteered to provide low-vision services and care for blinded veterans to fulfill a promise she made to her husband before he deployed to Iraq.

Major Soltes was a dedicated Army officer, and an outstanding clinician, educator, and military optometrist and naming the Long Beach VA blind rehabilitation center in honor of him will be a fitting tribute to his lasting memory.


-END-

April 19, 2010


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