Local veterans are fighting a new battle. Taylor County Veterans Services Officer Joe Collins wants to turn the old hospital building into a nursing home for our nation's veterans.
Joe Collins says, "We have a helicopter pad out there. We have a real nice, brand new hospital that can take care of the veterans if they needed to be hospitalized. We're 25 miles from the Gulf, so it would be safe form hurricanes."
Thomas Turnipseed, a U.S. Army veteran, says, "I think it's a fantastic idea. We're so short anyway; the veterans got the short end of the stick for some time now."
The old Doctors' Memorial Hospital in Perry has been vacant for three years. The county commission has agreed to hold off on selling it while a committee of veterans does the research and paperwork required to seek the approval of the Florida Legislature.
Sixty five percent of the nursing home would be state funded and 35 percent federally funded.
Joe adds, “I think they allocate around $15 million. In the days of tight budgets and constraints, it makes more sense for them to spend approximately one-third of what it takes to renovate this hospital."
Collins says area veterans are under-served due to a shortage of facilities. He says a veterans’ nursing home in Taylor County would also serve Lafayette, Dixie, Madison, and Jefferson Counties.