New Texas Veteran's Home treating East Texans, creating jobs

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A Veterans Home will be built right off Highway 155, just north of the U.T. Health Science Center that's located off Highway 271.

Bringing skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, even Alzheimer's services to east Texas. Right now, veterans still have to hit the highway for that kind of health care.

"Too many people have to go to Houston or Shreveport or Dallas and a lot of us can't afford to travel back and forth," said Vietnam veteran, Pat Musslewhite.

But, Dr. Kirk Calhoun, president of the U.T. Health Science Center, said that is all about to change. The new home will accommodate more than 100 veterans. The blue prints show how it will contain a cluster of 10 cottages. Each of those with 10 private rooms and a communal dining area for a more home-like and comfortable setting.

"Large screened-in porches, walking areas and trails for those who are residing there and just a very country-like environment," described Calhoun.

For veterans like Pat Musslewhite it couldn't come soon enough. He said he has seen too many friends go because they can't get treatment here at home.

"We've lost of lot of members up here, just in the past, say, five years," he said. "I couldn't even begin to count the members that we have lost. They have to move off. We've had some move up to Paris, Oklahoma."

The home is to be built on 20 acres donated by the Health Science Center. Dr. Calhoun said he is anxious to see it open in late 2011.

"[It] should really be a wonderful celebration at that time when the units become available to the East Texas veterans who have served this country so well," said Calhoun.

Not to mention, Calhoun said it will also create some 100 new health care jobs.

He said it is being funded in part by stimulus money. $12 million from the federal government and another $6 million from the Texas Veterans Land Board.

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