By Bill Derby
In ceremonies held Monday morning on the grounds of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center the Department of the Interior representatives presented a bronze plaque designating the Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers a National Historic Landmark.
Thirty-one of the 54 buildings on the grounds have been given this historic designation. Opened in 1904, the former Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, is significant under National Historic Landmark (NHL) Criterion I as a property that is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to our past, and NHL Theme IV, shaping the political landscape; governmental institutions, under the area of Health and Medicine.
Guests were welcomed by Mr. Lance Godsey, Navy veteran and Mountain Home VA healthcare system education specialist and newly named Medical Center Director, Dean B. Borsos.
Congressman Phil Roe spoke on the significance the Mountain Home VA has played in the region and local communities including the important addition of the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine.
As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Congressman Roe has played a major role in dedicating his energy in taking care of America’s veterans. Since entering Congress and the Congressman has introduced many bills and enacting legislation to insure adequate funding within the VA system.
Congressman Roe said, “As an Army veteran and physician, I believe we have no higher commitment than to take care of our active duty military, their families, and our veterans. This National Historic Landmark designation along with the historical importance of Mountain Home is the very example of that commitment.”
The National Historic Landmark presentation of the bronze plaque was made by Sula Jacobs, Superintendent Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Sam Osborne, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
The Mountain Home VA historic district occupies 247.1 acres. The former Mountain Branch was incorporated into the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which provides domiciliary, nursing home and hospital and out-patient services to veterans.
The presentation of colors was by the David Crockett High School NJROTC.