Collins veteran's home strives for excellence

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - Nestled along Highway 49 in Collins is a place where the greetings are always warm, the service is always moving and where an older generation of some of the country's heroes call home. Like Stanley Jones, 91.

Jones says, "It's a nice facility, you can't beat it for nothing."

And it's a place Landa Oglesby calls more than just work. As administrator of the State Veterans home, Oglesby oversees the day to day operations of what it takes to run the 150 bed home away from home dedicated to veterans.

"I think we give the best care here and I think that's what sets us apart, you know, one, we have veterans here but it's all about the care that we give," said Oglesby.

"Number one, our priority is the veteran," said Veteran's Service Officer June Meeler who says that care helps with the transition from life as they once knew it. "Them being placed in a home is a big ordeal for that family and for that veteran to go in to, it's quit of a change."

"That's what I like about it, it's really clean and we've got some good help here, sure have," said Jones.

"It tells me we're doing something right to make them feel loved and make them feel like they are somebody," said Oglesby.

The home, which opened about 13 years ago, is primarily funded through the state, and like all other state programs, budget cuts are becoming all too common. In fact, Oglesby says 5 of them so far this fiscal year. The cuts even scaled back the home's two to three outings a month to just one.

"It has affected us tremendously. We've got our budget to where we didn't cut our staffing at all because it takes everybody here to operate the facility," said Oglesby.

For Oglesby and the rest of the staff, the benefits of the job far outweigh the challenges.

"Everyday I look forward to going out there talking to them, give them a hug, shaking their hand or listening to them tell me a story about something they did in their life," said Oglesby.

And the stories, much like the care, are a constant flow.

"Here they come in and they find each other that, oh, we're in the same branch, ok you're my brother again. So they get to bond again," said Oglesby.

Bonding through the nations colors, in a place most live out the rest of the lives.

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