GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After six years of construction, the new Grand Rapids Home for Veterans finally opened on Thursday.
Army veteran Robert Troosc made sure he was one of the first to see it.
“Oh, I feel great about today. Something I’ve been looking forward to,” Troosc said during an interview with FOX 17. “Ever since I got here I’ve been talking about it.”
It was a dream fulfilled, he said. The 90-acre, 33,000-square-foot facility is also his new home.
“It’s just a beautiful facility. I mean, it’s a place where any one of us would be happy to call home, and our veterans deserve no less,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after the ribbon-cutting event. “It’s exciting that this is the second one that I’ve been able to cut the ribbon for. We’re going to continue working to make sure that we support those who have served our country.“
Whitmer also toured the facility that’ll house 128 vets. Officials said it’ll mainly be used for short-term and long-term physical care, which’ll include rehab and therapy.
They added that the facility was also specifically designed to meet the veterans' physical and emotional needs.
Army vet Belinda Coronado said life after the service can be tough for some veterans.
“Homelessness in veterans is high [and] not having food especially in this time of COVID,” Coronado said. “And then mental illness, PTSD, depression and the long-term effects of war and the wear and tear on your body.”
She said vets can also battle rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and other diseases. The pandemic made life worse for some.
“Because of COVID the isolation was awful for people struggling with any kind of illness or ailment,” she said.
So, she considers the facility to be a win for veterans.
Troosc agreed. He believes that when your environment is good, you feel good.
“I’m looking forward to being with my friends here again, being able to visit more and have more self-worth,” he said. “If you’re in a facility, you feel real low, where in a home like this you feel freedom.”