Site location decision for new veterans home expected in early 2020
World War II veteran Albert Steadman sings Amazing Grace at a ceremony at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home. Steadman calls it his own home.
“They don’t just treat me like a patient," he said. "They treat me like brother and sister.”
Steadman and his family decided it was best he live here after an accident.
“I fell at home and broke my foot," he said.
Alabama has four state veterans homes. Veterans homes like this one help hundreds of people across the state get care.
However, Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Kent Davis said by 2045 there will be a shortage of veterans homes.
“We obviously have an aging population of veterans in the country," Davis said.
The department said a feasibility study found that a fifth veterans home should be in the Wiregrass region.
“All of our homes right now do have a waiting list of several months. Hopefully that will help with some of the waits we see in all of our veterans homes," he said.
The new location will provide care for 175 elderly or disabled veterans. The state and federal government would pay for the project.
The commissioner said they expect to decide the location of the new site in January. Davis expects the new veterans home could open in about three years.
For Steadman, he wishes more veterans could have a home like this.
“I wish there were places like this all over the state," Steadman said.
Betty Robertson visits her dad, Charles Walter Calhoun, who was an original crew member aboard the USS Lake Champlain. He lives at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home as well.
“It is a wonderful facility for us,” Robertson said.
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