Counties compete for new southeast veterans home

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Ten Wiregrass counties are battling it out to see who will have the state’s fifth veterans home.

Barbour, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike are all battling to be the location for a new veterans home.

News 18 spoke to two locations that plan to submit a proposal.

“We’re going to go after it as hard as we can,” said Ozark Mayor, Bob Bunting. “We’ve assembled a great team to work on ours. I’ve actually been working on it since it was announced last November.”

Competition is fierce as each location brings its best to the table.

“We have two really fine medical facilities or hospitals here and medical care (and) retail,” said Dothan Mayor, Mark Saliba. “Medical (is) two of our biggest strengths.”

Meanwhile, Ozark boasts its location.

“There’s no question, we have the best location,” Bunting said. “The best east and west travel system, the best north and south travel. (It’s) easy access to get here.”

One veteran told News 18 that, no matter where the veterans home is built, it will help Wiregrass veterans — especially homeless veterans.

“We need somewhere for the veterans—especially when they’re disabled,” said veteran John Colvin. “You find a lot of veterans who are homeless around here. Right here in Dothan.”

Local veteran organizations say the new facility will provide for veterans that may have been forgotten.

“Instead of the veteran going to the hospitals, they are bringing the hospitals to the veteran,” said veteran John Holladay. “That’s a small way of showing our veterans the respect and the loyalty that this country should have been doing all along.”

According to the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA), the veterans home “will be approximately 182,000 square feet and provide skilled care for 150-175 elderly or disabled veterans.”

The counties’ proposals are due to the ADVA on August 15.

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