MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The largest concentrations of veterans in the state of Tennessee are in Fayette, Shelby and Tipton Counties, but there is not a nursing home for veterans in the area.
The push to raise money and get a veterans home built in Shelby County has been ongoing for years, and dreams are closer to coming true.
The wounds of war can be severe both physically and emotionally, and retired Army Captain Bob Walker, who spent two years in combat in Vietnam, experienced it firsthand.
“There’s about 18 things different health issues a veteran can be experiencing because of agent orange alone take that into account. Plus you have PTSD some people are dealing with," Walker said.
Walker lives in the Mid-South - an area with the most retired veterans in Tennessee - but the closest veterans home to Shelby County is 100 miles away in Humboldt, Tennessee.
More than two years ago, Tennessee secured 25 acres in Arlington to build the West Tennessee Veterans Home
Approximately $21 million has been raised by the state, and with local contributions as well as individual donors, and they expect to receive matching funds from the federal government to complete the funding for the project.
“The target would be to open in 2021 even if its a soft opening with so many beds and a rehab opening up,” David Spencer of the West Tennessee Veterans Home said.
Spencer is an Army combat veteran and one of the organizer’s raising funds for the West Tennessee Veterans home.
“We have to direct our attention now to the care of the veterans and what we can do to help the veterans,” he said.
The third annual Veterans Gala will raise funds for veterans’ needs in the community in partnership with the American Legion Riders Memphis Post 1.
The gala will be held May 4 at the Great Hall in Germantown. Click here for ticket information.