HOME SWEET HOME
Innovated nursing center designed to
create a community for veterans
BY SUSAN BURGESS
Port St. Lucie Magazine 19
The new Ardie R. Copas
State Veterans Nursing Home
in Tradition is almost ready
to welcome its new residents, thanks to
the end of pandemic-induced delays.
The long-awaited milestone, marked
recently by an open house at the skilled
nursing facility in western Port St.
Lucie, gave visitors their first look at an
impressive interior and outside patios
where men and women can enjoy
companionship and activities with their
It is named after 19-year-old Ardie Ray
Copas from Fort Pierce, who died in 1970
protecting four wounded men while they
escaped from enemy fire in Cambodia
during the Vietnam War. Spec. 4 Copas
was a machine gunner. His daughter,
whom he never had a chance to meet,
accepted his Medal of Honor from President
Obama in 2014.
“I’m overjoyed that my dad’s name
will be remembered in this way,” Shyrell
Copas said. “He will continue to be able
to help his brother and sister veterans.”
The next step will be to accept resident
applications in the fall. Staff hiring is
ongoing, with a good response from a
late July job fair held at the facility, said
Steven Murray, state Department of
Veterans’ Affairs Communications Director.
COVID-19 previously got in the way
of hiring health-care workers because
most already had jobs. An administrator,
Steven Rule, has been on hand for a few
months and the residential admissions
coordinator and human resources director
have also been hired. >>
After years of planning, the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans Nursing home opens this fall on West Tradition Boulevard in Port St. Lucie.
The nursing home will be named after Spc.
4 Ardie R. Copas, seen in his daughter’s
favorite photo of him.