Opinion: New VA Hospital for Tulsa serves a public and personal mission to columnists

An architect’s vision of the new Veterans Affairs hospital in downtown Tulsa

Kayse Shrum

From Dr. Kayse Shrum

Earlier this month, Congress approved final funding for a new veterans hospital and paved the way for construction to begin soon on the downtown Tulsa Center across from the Oklahoma State University Medical Center campus and the Cox Business Center.

This is exciting news for our city, our veterans, and for me personally.

Growing up in the loving home of a proud combat veteran, I learned from my father about honor, service, and hard work. I also learned of the personal sacrifices he and so many of our veterans made and the lifelong tribute they must take as a result of their service to our nation. Building a new veterans hospital in Tulsa is more than a construction project for me. It is a mission, a passion and a debt that we must repay these men and women who have given their country their youth, vitality and their best.

As any veteran will understand, the advancement of this new veteran affairs hospital in the United States has required exceptional community teamwork. The nonprofit that designs and builds the hospital, Veterans Hospital in Tulsa LLC, is owned and administered by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. This spring, we will announce the names of other generous private donors whose contributions totaling $ 10 million have qualified this project for the first time.

The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences provides the core structure, facilities, and ultimately common medical services. The state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa also played a vital role in making this project a reality. The state contributed $ 35 million worth of the existing Kerr-Edmondson building and land around it on Seventh Street and Houston Avenue, and the city of Tulsa provided $ 8 million for a parking garage for the hospital.

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