By Terry Rogers
On April 29, 2004, funding was approved to build a 150-bed veterans home which was built off of Airport Road in Milford. The home was dedicated on Delaware Day, December 7, 2006 and the first residents were accepted in June 2007. On June 12, 2017, the home celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception attended by federal, state and local dignitaries which included U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Governor John Carney, State Senator Gary Simpson, State Representatives Harvey Kenton and Charle Postels and Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe.
“This is probably the most important way we can provide service to our veterans,” Governor Carney said. “Providing them with quality care at a time they need it the most, in the twilight of their lives.”
Senator Tom Carper, himself a United States Navy veteran, credited his service to the country as one of the reasons he has been successful over the years. “When people ask me why I was so successful, I give them three reasons,” Senator Carper said. “First, my sister and I chose great parents. Second, the Navy. Third, I surrounded myself with people smarter than me. When this was first planned, we knew we had hundreds of veterans in need of homes. We partnered with the federal government to build this facility. This is a home, not just a facility. We will continue to support veterans in the years to come. Not because of the words in the Constitution, but because of the men and women who served, who risked their lives, who gave their lives to make those words on the Constitution real.”
Representative Earl Jacques who chairs the Hosue Veterans Affairs Committee, said that the veterans home was more than brick and mortar. He said that the home was about service to those who served the country. “I will turn to Representative Rochester who is here to support us,” Representative Jacques said. “We need a dental clinic. For our residents to wait up to six months for a dental appointment is too long. I want all of you to know that my colleagues in government are there for veterans. They step up to support veterans causes as much as they can.”
In 2008, the home received a substandard two-star rating from the federal government and, in 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services found several areas where the home was not in compliance. Although some of the infractions were minor, such as failing to post statements regarding resident’s rights to file complaints, there were some that were considered serious. That same year, William Peterson took control of the facility and has been credited with turning it around which was acknowledged at the ceremony to thunderous applause.
Mayor Bryan Shupe said that he was proud to be a leader in a community that takes care of its veterans seriously. “My wife and I are business owners and raising a little girl,” Mayor Shupe said. “We, like many people, are able to make our own decisions and make a life for ourselves because of the sacrifices made by our veterans. We need to take the call to care for our veterans as a top priority.”
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