'This is unbelievable': Tennessee State Veterans' Home soon coming to Cleveland

(IMAGE: WTVC)

County and state leaders broke ground Wednesday on a $47 million project that will provide care for qualified veterans.

The new Tennessee State Veterans' Home is in Cleveland and will soon be built.

Officials say it's been 16 years in the making.

A group of friends all with different stories, brought together by history.

Terry Hollenback served in Vietnam in 1967-69 and watched Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony.

Doyle Huges is also a Vietnam War veteran who served as a Combat Medic from 1969-1970.

We met with the group at City Cafe in Cleveland where they shared a meal and memories.

“Went to Vietnam in January 1966, stayed a year, and thank the Lord I only got one cut on my eye," Tommy Townsend shared.

They’re members of Disabled American Veterans.

On any day they have a lot to talk about, but Wednesday there was even more.

"This is unbelievable today. I mean just fantastic that this is finally reality," Hollenback explained.

The nursing facility will be 110 thousand square feet.

It will provide 108 beds for nearly 50,000 veterans who live in the six county area.

Hughes says this has been a long time coming.

"They don’t have to go to Knoxville or Murfreesboro or to Nashville or to Atlanta, they have one here in their backyard. It’s easier for them, it’s easier for the family, it’s just a great thing," Hughes said.

It’s important to point out, this facility will be an intermediate and skilled nursing center, but will not offer doctors appointments or therapies on an outpatient basis.

The Bradley County Commission and Cleveland City Council passed resolutions in 2003 to support a nursing facility for veterans in need of long-term care.

An anonymous donation of $3 million was pledged in 2006, and the City of Cleveland and Bradley County have since contributed more than $2 million each.

A place where veterans — like this group — can soon be together and receive the help they need.

We’re told construction is estimated to be completed by the summer of 2021.

Depend on us to keep you updated.

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