“I’ve cut the ribbons at dozens of community based outpatient clinic openings,” said Dr. Robert A. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health Department of Veterans Affairs. “This is unquestionably the most magnificent community based outpatient clinic I’ve ever been associated with. This facility is going to greatly improve the quality and convenience of care for veterans in this region.”
Several hundred people turned out Friday to witness the official opening of Trinka Davis Veterans Village in Carrollton, a dream come true for the Bowdon businesswoman who wanted to leave a legacy for America’s military service members. Petzel was the keynote speaker.
“Never before has any individual donated funds needed to build a community living center,” he said. “This is an unprecedented first in VA memory.”
Nancy C. Hughes, vice president of the Trinka Davis Foundation, said Davis’ roots were Southern, although she was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived most of her life in New York City.
Hughes said Davis’ brother served in the Korean War, but it was a trip to Pearl Harbor that she took at age 14 that had a huge impact on her wanting to help veterans.
“Finally, she watched the 9/11 attacks on New York City and saw soldiers go off to fight a war and return, sometimes to undesirable medical and living facilities,” Hughes said. “All these events made an indelible mark on Trinka. She decided she wanted to take action, to do something to help our veterans. She formed the Trinka Davis Foundation in 2004, but unfortunately, she died in 2006, before she had an opportunity to fully form her vision to help veterans.”
Hughes said the foundation board took her vision to the Peacock Partnership, an architectural firm in Atlanta, and general contractor Randall Redding of R. K. Redding Construction.
“Peacock created her grand vision and Redding built it to perfection,” she said.
Both 11th District U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey and 3rd District U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland spoke at the ceremonies.
“Without the donation from the Trinka Davis Foundation, this facility would have never been possible,” Westmoreland said. “We can never forget what she did for this community.’
He read a statement he made on Sept. 12 before Congress and had entered into the Congressional Record about the center. He presented a framed copy of the speech to Gary Bruton, the administrator of the Carrollton VA center.
“Trinka Davis was a businesswoman I wish I had known,” Gingrey said. “She realized the struggle that many service men and women faced on return from battle. The foundation exists to support veterans and their families. Though she is not with us, her memory lives on. Thanks to her generosity and her foundation, we’re here today to open the Trinka Davis Veterans Village.”
Gingrey noted the facility will serve about 3,000 local veterans and allow them to receive necessary care close to their homes.
“Prior to the construction of this center, veterans were often forced to drive two hours or more for treatment,” he said. “It’s a long way to Atlanta from Carroll County.”
Gingrey presented a U.S. flag to the center, which was then raised on the flagpole in front of the Carrollton facility.
Charles E. Sepich, network director of the VA Southeast Network (VISN7), praised the people who helped make the center a reality.
“I can’t think of a better setting,” Sepich said. “This is one beautiful day and we have one beautiful building and a staff that has already started delivering care. They are enthusiastic and they have big smiles on their faces.
“I want to thank the Nancy Hughes and the Trinka Davis Foundation for their generous donation to our American heroes. No duty is more urgent than returning thanks to them and what better example is there than this center, and I personally applaud you.”
Following the speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in front of the outpatient clinic and open house tours were conducted by center personnel
Dr. G. Keith Berry, of Carrollton Eye Clinic and an Air Force veteran, was master of ceremonies of the event. Chaplain Valerie Sanders of the Atlanta VA Medical Center delivered the invocation and benediction.
The Carrollton High School color guard presented the colors while Commissioner Pete Wheeler of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, led the pledge of allegiance. Mark Barnes, minister of music at Carrollton First United Methodist Church, sang the national anthem.
The Carrollton High School rifle team performed a demonstration and Terry Lowry, conductor of the Carroll Symphony Orchestra and the Carroll Community Wind Ensemble, led the musicians in a salute to all the armed forces.
The $17 million, 73,900-square-foot center was built from funds donated by the Trinka Davis Foundation, established by the late Katharine “Trinka” Davis, a Carroll County business leader who wanted to provide assistance to veterans.
Outpatient services offered in the 25,000-square-foot clinic include primary care, home based primary care, mental health, physical and occupational therapy, vision, dental, podiatry (foot medicine), audiology and other specialties from visiting medical specialists and tele-medicine through the latest technology in video teleconferencing.
The 42-bed, 48,000-square-foot community living center, which is due to open in the near future, will provide veterans needing inpatient rehabilitation with private rooms in a home-like atmosphere, including kitchen, laundry areas, fitness room, celebration room and courtyard areas.
Patients wanting to sign up for VA services or needing information, can visit the clinic on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number at the Carrollton center to call for information is 404-321-6111, extension 2656 or 2657.