PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art home for veterans on Veterans Day.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo hosted the state's Veterans Day ceremony and a traditional ribbon cutting Saturday at the home in Bristol, Rhode Island. Veterans began moving in last week, prior to the ceremony, and completed the move earlier this week.
The new 208-bed home allows veterans to live in cottages equipped with a private bedroom and bathroom. There's a central location for social activities and the chapel, salon, coffee shop, library, medical examination area and other services.
"Over 16 major trades have contributed to building this beautiful new home for our honored Veterans, and the pride in their work is evident in every detail," Raimondo said. "I'm proud that Rhode Island is now leading the way in recognizing the sacrifice of those who've served our great nation. Our veterans deserve nothing less."
Rhode Island is one of the first states to use this new community living concept for veterans' long-term care, said Kasim Yarn, the state's director of veterans affairs, who attended the ceremony Saturday.
"It dispenses with the traditional, institutional model," he said in a statement Friday. "This is what our veterans have advocated for. And with our veterans' population being overwhelmingly earlier-era veterans, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, we're ahead of the curve. They deserve nothing less."
The veterans had previously lived at a home dating back to 1955, on the same site in Bristol.
U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin visited the new home in May to help dedicate it. He said it sets the standard for the way the nation should be caring for veterans and praised the state and federal partnership that helped move the $121 million project forward.
Construction began in 2015. Members of Rhode Island's congressional delegation and other state officials joined Raimondo at the ribbon cutting to honor veterans.