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.
by Jacqueline Peterson
The Southern Utah Veterans Home dedication ceremony commenced on 23 MAY 2013 at 1300 hrs., with the presentation of the colors by American Legion Post 69 and the Boy Scouts of America Special Troop 1685. The entire audience of hundreds fell respectfully silent. The Vista Rising Stars, a youth performing arts group from Vista Charter School in Ivins, performed the National Anthem. Korean War veteran Bill Stay led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a prayer from Pastor Rick Nerud of Calvary Chapel in St. George.
Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Gregg Buxton, former director of the Utah Division of Facilities Management D, former Rep. Dave Clark, Rep Don Ipson, Terry Schow, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, Dennis McFall, Deputy Director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, and Mayor Chris Hart each delivered an impassioned speech on their personal experiences in the vision, planning and ultimate completion of the home.
After one last inspiring musical number from the Vista Rising Stars, it was time for the highlight of the afternoon. Led by Terry Schow, wielding a giant pair of wooden scissors, a group of leading figures in the project cut the red ribbon strung across the building’s main entrance, officially dedicating the Southern Utah Veterans Home – Ivins. The crowd cheered, exchanged congratulations, shed a few tears, and marveled at the impressive result of over a decade of dedicated work.
The home is a 102,000-square-foot comprehensive care facility with 108 beds in the housing building plus a separate administration and service building. After years of lobbying by Utah legislators and the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, the grant for the construction was approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2005 and funded in 2012. The total cost of the facility is more than $19 million and has created approximately 160 new jobs in the community. The State of Utah provided 35 percent of the construction cost, while the federal VA State Home Program provided the other 65 percent. The city of Ivins donated the 10 acres of land upon which the home was built.
Terry Schow said it is “with special gratitude and thanks to the many hundreds of individuals, families and companies who have come together to provide this beautiful facility for our Veterans. There is no greater tribute than to give back to those who have given and continue to give so much. Today we dedicate the Southern Utah Veterans Home to serve for many years to come those who served each one of us and preserved the freedoms we enjoy today. The community built this house and the community has come together to honor these selfless ‘ordinary’ men and women by providing them a place to call home.”