BRISTOL, R.I. – After more than two years of construction and close to a decade of planning, a new and modern veterans’ facility in Bristol is officially ready for veterans to move in and take advantage of everything it has to offer.
To assist with the move, 17 volunteers from U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA) lent a helping hand Tuesday by moving the physical and occupational therapy equipment.
“The Rhode Island Veterans Home (RIVH) reached out and asked us for help with moving into the new building,” said Senior Chief Quartermaster Henry Nichol, a faculty advisor assigned to SEA. “We’ve been looking for ways to give back to the community and this was the perfect way to kick that off.”
Many of the residents participate in physical and occupational therapy on a weekly or even daily basis. To minimize the disruption to resident’s day-to-day routines, the move needed to be swift.
“With having these guys here to help us, the move happened in under two hours when it probably would have taken us a few days to do it,” said Vhari Neale, a physical therapist assistant at RIVH. “They were highly efficient in what they were doing and I was very impressed by it.”
The new home will allow veterans to have their own rooms, bathrooms, and access to a “Main Street,” which connects the different housing clusters together and leads to places like a barber shop, bank, library, gym facilities, doctors’ offices, and physical therapy.
“With the move, some of the veterans have been enthusiastic about wanting to be part of the physical and occupational therapy we offer here,” said Kara Biller, a registered occupational therapist at RIVH. “It’s opening up their curiosity to see what else is available to them as well as try out new things.”
While the transition may be difficult for some, Biller said the response from residents has been positive.
“It’s a big change for everyone, not just the residents,” said Biller. “It’s going to take a little while for everyone to adjust, but we get to do it together which will be beneficial to everyone.”
The official ribbon cutting for the new home will be on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The physical and occupational therapy department will officially open on Nov. 13.