Almost 500 Veterans, employees, politicians and community partners gathered recently to commemorate the construction of the new Orlando VA Medical Center with a Topping Out ceremony.
The day was touted to be important for the VA and the local partners in what will be called “Medical City”, however, it was especially important for every Veteran living in East Central Florida.
“This new hospital underscores our commitment to providing the best quality health care to our Veterans. The words on the front of the building reaffirm the honor, appreciation, respect and dedication we have for our Veterans.” said Joe Battle, the medical center’s associate director and construction executive.
During the ceremony, Battle read a quote from President Lincoln which read in part “Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
In addition to federal and elected officials in attendance, Phil and Maureen Miller, the parents of Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Robert Miller, came out to mark this historical occasion on behalf of their son who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan. When introduced, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
The event concluded with the crowd yelling “Raise That Beam!” instructing the crane operator to officially mark this day as one that brings the VA closer to opening the doors of this world class facility.
“I am humbled to be able to play a small role in bringing this hospital to our Veterans. They have earned this and much more. There’s no way we can repay them for their sacrifice, but providing them with the best healthcare possible is a step in the right direction.” said Timothy W. Liezert, the medical center’s director.
The $665 million medical center, sitting on 65-acres is slated to open in late 2012. It will feature a large multispecialty outpatient clinic, 134-inpatient beds, 120-community living center beds, a 60-bed domiciliary and administrative and support services.