by Jeff Hanson
On 6 JUN 2013, hundreds of Veterans and their guests attended a momentous event as the last Veterans home in the state was formally dedicated. Officially known as the Central Utah Veterans Home – Payson, it is the final such home that will be constructed in Utah.
Terry Schow, then-Executive Director for the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs who was instrumental in getting the home built stated, “I’m sure it gives all of your hearts much pleasure to be here at this event today. We would not be here today without the great leadership we have had and people who have been dedicated to raising funds for this facility.”
The home initially was going to be built in Spanish Fork, but the land deal there failed and the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs began looking at other options. Payson city Mayor Rick Moore, and Farmland Reserve, the real estate arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stepped up and donated the necessary 10 acres for the project and ground was broken on 14 DEC 2011.
The Central Utah Veterans Home is a 102,000 square foot, 108-bed skilled-nursing facility, which was funded by the State of Utah and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Avalon Health Care provides the facility services which include skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, long-term care, hospice care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, behavioral health programs, and therapeutic recreation.
With Terry Schow officiating at the event, the colors were presented by the American Legion Post 48 South Utah County Honor Guard, the Spanish Fork American Legion Post 68, the Springville American Legion Post 28, and the Payson VFW Post 12061. Jalon Watts sang the National Anthem, and Governor Gary R. Herbert and Rebecca Lockhart (Speaker of the House) gave remarks.
“No one knows the cost of war like these military Veterans and their families,” said Gov. Herbert. “They have provided us with our freedom and liberties, that we often take for granted. Today we say thank you. We need to make sure that when our Veterans return we have jobs for them and help them matriculate into society. We also need to provide for their healthcare needs. That is what we are doing today, providing them a home away from home.”
Speaker Lockhart stated, “I remember being here in a very cold day for the groundbreaking . . . We mourn for those who are lost during war but we also need to be concerned about those that come home and this care facility is an attempt at that. My hope is that our Veterans will find help and healing here.”
A variety of patriotic musical numbers was performed by the 23rd Army Band Brass Quintet, and Payson Mayor Rick Moore then addressed the audience: “I am honored to have this facility in Payson,” he said. “I have strong feelings about Veterans, they are a special group. I am glad they could be given this beautiful facility. We plan to help make it the best in the state.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony concluded the event and those who wished were given tours of the facility.