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SAM RAYBURN MEMORIAL VETERANS CENTER
SAM RAYBURN MEMORIAL VETERANS CENTER. Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center was established in Bonham in 1948 as Bonham Veterans Administration Hospital. The facility was planned to provide general medical and surgical treatment and nursing-home care for veterans. In 1943 members of the Bonham Chamber of Commerce and other interested citizens sought to secure the location of a Veterans Administration hospital in the city. On July 9, 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony was held near the site of the original Fort Inglish. Samuel T. (Sam) Rayburn, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, served as principal orator at the event. The hospital, directed by D. L. Bell until 1955, admitted its first patient on November 1, 1951, and was formally dedicated on November 11. John Connally, then secretary of the navy, spoke in 1961 at the hospital's tenth anniversary. By 1973 the hospital had a capacity of 401 beds, including 230 domiciliary, 71 hospital, and 100 nursing-home care units. The facility housed 368 patients at that time, and its staff, headed by Ira J. Carter, included eleven full-time, thirteen consulting, and four attending doctors, as well as thirty full-time nurses. The institution was one of two Veterans Administration hospitals in the state (the other is in Temple) that provided domiciliary beds to veterans who had no homes. On September 16, 1973, the hospital was renamed Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center. In 2002 the center had a capacity of 370 beds. Its 400 employees provided general medicinal and psychiatric care to veterans in an area covering four counties in northeastern Texas and two counties in southeastern Oklahoma. Long-term rehabilitative services and extended care are provided in facilities that include a 136-bed nursing-home unit and a 224-bed domiciliary. The center also maintains an expanding ambulatory-care program that includes a mental hygiene clinic and an alcohol treatment unit for outpatients. In 2002 the institution registered 101,000 outpatient visits and 867 inpatient admissions.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Floy Crandall Hodge, A History of Fannin County (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1966).
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