Some would bemoan the $1.5 million hike and the fact that federal regulations governing new Veterans Home construction are the cause.
Some would cringe at the thought that additional land will be required.
Some would adopt a naysayer attitude by assuming the home’s new design is nothing more than unnecessary government interference.
Some would grimace at the reality that additional fundraising will now be necessary to serve up the 35 percent local share of the $22.5 million project.
Some would take offense at losing an estimated 20 to 40 beds in the originally planned 140-bed facility.
Some would adopt a “whoa unto me mindset” and consider the longtime dream to be that ... just a dream.
Not Larry McDaris.
Even speaking with our newspaper on his own time from home at 7 a.m. on a workday, a full hour-and-a-half before reporting in to the office, McDaris voiced optimism that the project would move full speed ahead and that the additional regulations are little more than a “bump in the road” when considering the big picture. He recognizes the value to the home’s residents — the veterans of Cleveland, Bradley County and of America.
The latest development is a double-edged sword, he told us.
True, the construction design changes will require more money and this will mean temporarily down-sizing the number of beds in order to avoid approaching Cleveland City Council and Bradley County Commission members for more money. Each governing body has already pledged $2.2 million to help raise the local share.
Yet, in McDaris’ way of thinking, the design changes could be good.
Because the veterans living in this facility will be better served. Instead of one structure in which residents will live two to a room, the facility will be comprised of about a dozen smaller community-type living centers that would hold 10 bedrooms and a common kitchen. More land will be required for this urban-like sprawl, but property is not an issue in the Bradley County project. A donor has already given approximately 28 acres on Westland Drive, and this is more than enough to satisfy the need for real estate.
While most are turned off by federal government restrictions, McDaris calls these design alterations a “neat concept” because they will give the facility more of a “homey” feel. This in turn will be good for the residents.
In an age where some believe mass production now takes priority over product quality — from toothbrushes to the automobile industry — it is refreshing to hear the local veterans leader’s assessment: “Quality of life is better than quantity of beds. We believe it’s more important now to back off on the size ... and then go back later and perhaps increase the number of beds.”
We’ll repeat the first part of his statement.
“Quality of life is better than quantity of beds.”
Some might argue, and it would be well within their rights, but we believe Larry McDaris’ assessment to be right on. Our country’s veterans deserve the best that we can give them. Granted, the money isn’t always there to give the maximum, but a mindset focusing on a goal is far more desirable than a defeatist attitude.
Yes, the red tape just got a little longer, but the advantages outweigh what McDaris describes as the “interim aggravations.”
We appreciate this can-do attitude. We also applaud his reluctance to automatically beat a path straight back to local government leaders for even more funding.
Let’s give it a chance ...
... And see what can be done, especially by working together.