The Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council heard from the Tennessee State Veterans Homes department and State of Tennessee Real Estate and Asset Management members during a meeting Thursday.
Tennessee State Veterans Homes director Ed Harries, STREAM director of facilities and capital projects Christopher Remke and State Veterans Homes plant operations director Taylor Wyrick presented to the group.
Earlier in the day they met with local veterans home land donor Steve Williams.
“I think we moved further in the last hour than we have in the past 2 1/2 years, I really do,” Williams said.
A visit to Williams’ proposed site for the veterans home by the state officials was planned for today.
“It looks very positive. We had a great meeting today,” Williams said.
He said the meeting had served as part of local efforts “to pull all of this together” and work through some state concerns with the proposed site.
“I’m here to try to keep Cleveland moving along,” Remke said.
During the SETVHC meeting, the council heard updates on the Clarksville home and a review of the floor plan and layout of the Montgomery veterans homes. Harries referred to the Clarksville facility as “huge.”
“The building for down here will be even larger, mainly because the VA requirements are requiring more square footage, than the home in Clarksville,” Harries said. “It’s going to be nice.”
The Montgomery home features interconnected houses with 12 bedrooms each, a kitchen, fireplace and community areas. Each building is designed to give a home, rather than institutional, feel.
“The Cleveland project will have larger bedrooms. The VA has increased the requirement. These (Montgomery) bedrooms are 175 square feet. The Cleveland bedrooms will be 225 square feet per bedroom,” Wyrick said.
The nurses station is designed more like an office and staff is encouraged to interact with the veterans. Wyrick said the office has a window facing the center of the home, allowing nurses to monitor the area to see if anyone needs assistance.
Wyrick said the veterans home also features a community center with areas for events.
The level of care each veteran needs will be considered when the building is first filled, Harries said. However, it is impossible to keep it that way as rooms that had already been occupied become available. He said the separate housing buildings of the facility will be gradually filled, starting with the first so staff can acclimate. Harries said the certification process and Veterans Affairs inspections are done during this phase.
Also during the meeting, local Veterans Council chairman Cid Heidel announced the formation of an award the council will be giving annually on Memorial Day. This year’s recipient has been selected by the executive committee and will be honored during the Memorial Day celebration at the Bradley County Courthouse. Heidel said beginning next year the council will accept nominations from the community. The award will be given to a member of Bradley County or a surrounding county who has dedicated time to veteran-oriented projects and programs.
Updates were given on the council’s fundraising efforts in connection with its annual golf tournament. So far $11,000 has been raised, according to council treasurer Aubrie Lackie.
Bradley County Veterans Service officer Joe Davis said Daryl Patterson, a retired TV sports announcer, has agreed to participate as the event’s local celebrity golfer.
The golf tournament will be on June 7, at the Chatata Valley Golf Club. Registration starts at 7 a.m. with the actual tournament starting at 8 a.m. Registration can also be completed by calling 728-7149.