Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network recruiting volunteers

Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Dennis Davis speaks during a conference about the Veterans Transportation Network at the Beckley VA on Monday. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

During the next regular session of the West Virginia Legislature, officials hope to secure funding to establish a nursing home for veterans in Beckley.

“We need a nursing home for veterans here in this part of the state,” said Dennis Davis, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance. 

Davis said the Department of Agriculture donated property in Beckley for the facility, but the funding is not yet in place.

“We want to take advantage and build that,” he said. “Hopefully by working with the Legislature, we can get that.”

Although blueprints have not yet been drawn, Davis estimates $12 million will be needed for the facility. 

"We have to come up with 35 percent, and the VA will provide the remainder," Davis said Monday during a meeting at the VA focused on volunteer transportation for veterans. 

State Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, asked Davis if he has a plan in pushing the facility forward. 

Citing several failed bills in the Legislature, Baldwin said, "I'm open to all new ideas."

Davis said he had hoped to reach out to Gov. Jim Justice before the last regular legislative session about the nursing home, but due to unforeseen circumstances in Clarksburg, he had to reprioritize. 

His strategy now, he said, is to ask Gov. Justice before the 2020 session if he would propose funding in the state's budget for the Beckley nursing home. He also wants to communicate with other lawmakers to try and get the funding passed through both chambers.

"That's my approach to it." 

West Virginia currently has one VA nursing home located in Clarksburg. According to press materials, the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility has a full-time physician on staff and registered nurses available around the clock. 

At the facility, there are 100 beds available, along with a 20-bed unit for specialized memory care needs. Amenities include courtyards, billiards, outdoor gardens, a chapel, a library, walking paths and more. 

For more information, call 304-626-1600 or visit veterans.wv.gov.  

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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