Women's Wing opens at VA in Bonham - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Women's Wing opens at VA in Bonham

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BONHAM – The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center has new tool to help women veterans transition from the military to civilian life.

Stephanie Tobar is a US Army Veteran. She's been living at the Bonham Domiciliary for the past month.

She's one of the first veterans to move into the new Deloris F. Clemons Women's Wing inside the Domiciliary.

"My daughter is four. My son's going to be two March 8," Tobar said. "I've spent a lot of time away from them already from being in the military. When they say ‘sacrifices,' they mean it."

The space gives female vets, like Tobar and Ashley Wesley, a chance to rest and reflect away from the riff raff of the rest of the world.

"It's nice to be able to have privacy, to be able to come in here, not to have people knocking on your door. You can concentrate on what you need to concentrate on because we have to figure out who we are," Wesley said.

There are 224 beds in the Domiciliary overall.

Six rooms with a total of 12 beds make up the new Women's Wing.

Wednesday, it was dedicated to a long-time VA employee, Deloris Clemons, who fought for the space the women can now their own. Clemons worked at the Bonham VA for 39 years. She held many jobs during that time. Most recently, she was the director of the domiciliary. She retired in January.

"It is an honor. I don't really feel deserving," Clemons said. "I had the idea. I planted the seed and I kept pushing for it because I knew that's what the female veterans wanted."

In-patient care for the women can last months.

"It gives them a place where they can come and focus on their treatment needs," Domiciliary chief Kimberly Coleman Prier said.

Treatment is often for PTSD, depression, substance abuse or medical rehabilitation.

Wesley was in and out of jail after leaving the Marines in 2007.

She's now in a work program at the VA while she gets treatment. She hopes to land a job at the VA when her treatment is complete.

For more information, visit www.northtexas.va.gov.