Reflections on the dedication of the Veteran's Administration Green House homes

By / Posted on October 22nd, 2011

103 y.o. veteran Melvin Long attends the dedication of The Green House homes

After a week of rain it was a sunny,bright day to celebrate the opening of the Green House Homes. Freedom, and Liberty House, in the VA Illiana Health Care System. Terry Simonette, Robert Jenkens, Susan Frazier, Lisa Maxwell, and Bill Keane joined the veterans and the extraordinary VA team and much of Danville for this long awaited event. Also joining to celebrate were Christa Hojlo, National Director VA Community Living Centers, Veterans Health Administration and the catalyst of Culture Change throughout the VA system and Congressman John Shimkus. After many thoughtful and moving speeches, Congressman Shimkus ended by saying he would make his remarks quickly since 103 year old Melvin Long, along with the other nine veterans that were moving in, had waited long enough.

The participants followed the veterans into their new homes, which were streaming with sunlight and gleaming as a result of the VA team working the through the night to prepare for the opening. While we know the Va project will teach us many things, the design itself already establishes some important new concepts in architecture for Green House homes. The bedrooms have been pulled away from the hearth area and allowed us to connect The Green House home more to the community on the outside and achieve more interesting exterior views, without sacrificing the intimacy of The Green House home setting. We’re grateful with the openness of the design relationship with Perkins Eastman since it enabled us to consider and use the experiences from 113 previous Green House Projects and apply them in Freedom and Liberty House.

Making today especially exciting is that this is the first of five VA Green House developments, which means the Danville project will be followed by Green House projects in North Chicago, Milwaukee, Tomah, and Tuscaloosa. As Christa Hojlo noted, the excitement of today was unparalleled as VA staff from throughout the system came to the event to wish their colleagues well and congratulate them for this wonderful contribution to Veterans throughout the Illiana area.

(blog posting prepared by Robert Jenkens and Susan Frazier and typed by Terry Simonette in a car traveling from Danville to Indianapoiis)