Groundbreaking ceremony for veterans center
On this day in 1948, ground was broken for the Bonham Veterans Administration Hospital. The facility was planned to provide general medical and surgical treatment and nursing-home care for veterans. 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 and was formally dedicated in November 1951. John Connally, then secretary of the navy, spoke in 1961 at the hospital's tenth anniversary. In 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. It provides long-term rehabilitative services and extended care in facilities that include a 136-bed nursing-home unit and a 224-bed residential unit.