OPENING OF VETERANS
HOME DELAYED UNTIL MAY
BY SUSAN BURGESS
With pandemic-induced supply chain shortages
still plaguing just about every industry, the opening
of the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing
Home in Tradition is delayed until May. Previously, state
veterans officials hoped it might open in the fall of 2021.
“We anticipate full licensure of the Ardie R. Copas State
Veterans’ Nursing Home by April 1,” said state Department
of Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Steve Murray. “Our
goal is to admit our first residents in the state veterans
home during the month of May, with the goal of having
eight residents by May 31.”
Little by little more patients will be added until the
home is full and the staff reaches 175.
Murray said there is a waiting list of veterans from an
approximately 75-mile radius who are hoping to move into
the Copas home.
Final outfitting of the home is underway, he said. The
120-bed home includes two large residential wings, each
split into three halls with 20 beds per hall. Sixty of the beds
are for Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Residents can enjoy gatherings and entertainment in the
St. Lucie Room along with memorabilia on display, get
a haircut in the salon, eat in the café, gather at tables, on
couches or in front of fireplaces to talk with friends and
family or visit the chapel.
Patios for each wing give veterans a place to relax outside
and even do a little gardening in raised garden beds
if they like. The $58 million home on 28.5 acres is designed
to provide veterans with a friendly relaxed atmosphere
where they can readily feel at home.
The home is named after Vietnam war veteran and
Medal of Honor recipient Ardie Ray Copas from Fort
Pierce, a machine gunner who died in Cambodia in 1970
at the age of 19 while protecting four wounded men trying
to escape from the enemy. His daughter, Shyrell Copas,
helped persuade the state to name the home after her dad.
The county’s application to build the home was accepted
by the state in 2014, ground was broken in 2018,
and there have been numerous delays, including the
supply chain and hiring difficulties that occurred once the
pandemic got started.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is paying 65%
and the state, through the Florida Department of Veterans’
Affairs, is paying 35% of the $58,446,960 cost. E
32 Port St. Lucie Magazine
The Ardie R. Copas State
Veterans Nursing home
is getting the finishing
touches and is expected
to welcome its first
residents in May.