Letter From the Chairman — A Year in Review
As we come to the end of another holiday season and year, it is important to not only look forward, but to also reflect on the accomplishments, blessings, and growth of the past twelve months. Throughout 2022, the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) has continuously worked to provide Veterans, Military Members, and their families in Texas with the highest quality care and the best benefits in the country. Here are just a few of the highlights from a year dedicated to supporting our Veterans.
Hosting an Opening Celebration in Fort Worth
In October, the VLB celebrated the soft opening of the Tuskegee Airman Texas State Veterans Home in Fort Worth, the 10th Texas State Veterans Home to be built in Texas. During the ceremony, the VLB was honored to be joined by a surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen, General Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse, who was presented with an award recognizing his selfless service in defense of our freedom. This new home will be more than just a facility, more than brick and mortar. It will truly be a home for our bravest heroes who will be cared for by dedicated staffers and highly skilled nursing professionals.
Expanding Outreach to Veterans
At the beginning of the year, the VLB and its marketing partners Proscalar and 1820 Productions received national recognition for several of their digital marketing campaigns. Intended to raise awareness about the benefits available to eligible Texas Veterans, the VLB’s digital advertisements won eight Platinum Awards and four Gold Awards from the AVA Digital Awards which recognizes creative excellence and the production of digital communication products. The VLB was incredibly honored to be recognized for our commitment to implementing innovative and creative measures to reach out to a new generation of Texas Veterans.
100th Unaccompanied Veteran Laid to Rest at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery
In March, U.S. Army Veteran Private First Class (PFC) Billy Noel Myrick was laid to rest at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, marking the 100th Unaccompanied Veteran Burial at the cemetery. This solemn milestone represents the VLB’s unwavering dedication to ensuring no veteran is ever left behind or buried alone, and the continuous attendance of these ceremonies by individuals and Veteran organizations from our communities demonstrates the reverence Texans have for the life and service of our Veterans.
Enhancing our Texas State Veterans Homes
This past spring, the VLB was proud to announce we received a grant of over $450,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for structural improvements to three of our Texas State Veteran Homes (TSVH). The funding was earmarked to replace the roofing at the Ambrosio Guillen TSVH in El Paso and the Alfredo Gonzalez TSVH in McAllen, as well as replace the flooring at the Ussery-Roan TSVH in Amarillo. Providing a welcoming home and exceptional long-term care to our nation’s heroes is one of our top priorities here at the VLB, and with this crucial financial support from the VA we will ensure that our facilities continue to serve Veterans for years to come.
Celebrating the Lives of Our Veterans
One of the ways the VLB works to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of Texas Veterans is through our 100 for 100 campaign, which celebrates Veterans becoming centenarians. In July, World War II Veteran, Army Sgt. Archie Thomas asked the Tyler community to send him 100 cards for his 100th birthday. In a stunning display of support for this incredible Veteran, Sgt. Thomas received over 1,000 birthday cards from all corners of our state and nation. The debt we owe our courageous Veterans can never be fully paid, but the VLB is grateful to be able to support programs that uplift Veterans and highlight their achievements.
This past year, the VLB has reached many goals and remained steadfast in our commitment to improving the lives of Texas Veterans. As we usher in 2023, we look forward to setting new goals and furthering our ambition to provide the best Veteran benefits and care in the nation.
From everyone here at the VLB, we wish you a blessed holiday season and a Happy New Year.