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‘Over the finish line’ Local, state, federal leaders cut ribbon on Cleveland veteran healthcare facility

From Local 3 News: Veterans in Bradley County have a new place to go for their specialized healthcare needs.


Local, state, and federal leaders cut the ribbon on the Tennessee State Veterans Home Thursday.


It’s an in-patient service providing healthcare for the most vulnerable veterans.


“This is America. You all are America,” said John Watson, the chairman of the Tennessee State Veterans’ Home board, through tears. “We thank every one of you.”


The long-awaited veteran care home specifically for the specialized needs veterans finally opened Thursday after a decade of people coming together to try and make it happen.


“Everyone persevered, and everyone’s going to benefit from this,” said Rep. Kevin Raper (R-Cleveland).


The $48 million facility had support from the city of Cleveland, Bradley County, and the state and federal governments.


It has 108 rooms, kitchen spaces, a physical therapy room, and outdoor spaces.

The next nearest such facility is in Knoxville.


“Seeing that the project lived on passed individuals,” said Sen. Adam Lowe (R-Bradley County). “There was really no one banner carrier of this. It was something a lot of people in the community bought into.”


The sections are color-coded and named after animals, not using numbers or addresses for patients who may suffer from memory loss or PTSD.


“I just feel like there’s not enough we can ever do for our veterans,” said Raper.


The center’s supporters call it a game-changer. It’s a way to honor veterans who gave everything and have earned the right to quality, peaceful care.


“I’m so proud to be here at this finish line,” said Many-Bears Grinder, the former commissioner for the Tennessee Division of Veterans Services. “As we begin to approach the start line in taking care of this county’s deserving veterans.”


Veterans can apply for a room now. Click here to learn how.