Groundbreaking for New Veterans’ Facility [Commentary]

September 5, 2006

As I have mentioned several times in this column, I feel very fortunate to serve as the Ranking Senator on the General Assembly’s Select Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Passing legislation that assists and honors the brave men and women who have served our country is one of my great privileges as State Senator.

It was my honor to attend the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the new state veterans’ health care facility and home in Rocky Hill. Governor M. Jodi Rell was also in attendance, as were members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation and several of my legislative colleagues. It was truly an historic day for the State and its Veterans to officially mark the beginning of construction on the new $33.8 million, 125-bed residential health care facility.

The new building will be 87,000 square feet and have five residential wards. In addition, it will house a 25-bed Alzheimer’s unit with its own dining room and private courtyard. Each of the five wards will also have a hospice room so veterans can spend their final days among friends and family. Among other features of the new building will be an occupational/physical therapy department, pharmacy, library, and chapel.

To its credit, the state is investing $46 million in both its federal and state funds into the new State Veterans’ home this year. Connecticut’s state funding actually represents the most state funding provided to the Veterans’ home in 60 years.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, who I have worked with several times and has appeared on my local cable television program, was of course in attendance for the groundbreaking. She has been a fine leader of our efforts to improve the lives of Veterans, including the awarding of service medals for war-time servicemen and women. I commend her for her outstanding work on this new facility.

If you have any additional questions, please call my office toll-free at 1(800) 841-1421 or e-mail me at [email protected]