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BG Veterans Center will honor the Late Col. Robert E. Spiller

From Crystal Staley/Scottie Ellis

Bowling Green, KY - On April 19, 2023, Gov. Andy Beshear joined veterans, state and local leaders and veteran service organization representatives to announce the new Bowling Green Veterans Center will be named after the late Col. Robert E. "Bob" Spiller, USA Retired.

Col. Spiller is widely known as the driving force behind the Bowling Green Veterans Center. This was a mission he took on after retiring from the U.S. Army and returning to Bowling Green where he volunteered to drive veterans to critical medical appointments in Nashville, which was the closest Veterans Affairs facility. Col. Spiller wanted to see a facility built in Bowling Green to better serve veterans in Western Kentucky.

Efforts have been underway for more than 10 years to make Col. Spiller's dream a reality, and last year, Gov. Beshear joined federal, state and local leaders to break ground on the center. The center will be located in the Kentucky Transpark in Warren County and is expected to be completed in 2024.

"We are thankful for Col. Spiller's service to our country, state and the Bowling Green community," Gov. Beshear said. "Now, we are excited that his legacy of helping others will continue to live on with his name honorably displayed on the new Robert E. Spiller Bowling Green Veterans Center, which he worked so hard to have built."

Col. Spiller was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and came to Bowling Green to attend Western Kentucky University, where he met his wife of 66 years, Bowling Green native Cora Jane Morningstar. Col. Spiller graduated from WKU in 1949 with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in history in 1950. Following his 30-year military career, fighting in the Korean and Vietnam wars, his final assignment was as chief of staff of the Berlin Brigade, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Col. Spiller then returned in 1980 to Bowling Green, where continued his education and extensive career of volunteer and community service work.

"With my parents' passion for helping people, having his name on a facility that is taking care of veterans is unbelievable," said Bob Spiller, the couple's son. "It is the highest compliment."

During the event, the Governor also ceremonially signed House Bill 2, which dedicates an additional $16,630,000 in fiscal year 2022-2023 from the Budget Reserve Trust Fund to previously appropriated budget items to complete construction of the $53 million center.

The veterans center will create 120 new jobs and will be the state's fifth long-term skilled nursing care facility. The 80,000-square-foot facility will provide 60 beds and is being built on 25 acres donated by the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority.

This new center will provide compassionate care for Kentucky's veterans through state-of-the-art equipment, physical therapy and recreational activities. The single-story skilled nursing facility was designed using the federal Department of Veterans Affairs' small-house design, which provides a private suite for each veteran and will include common living and support areas.

"I can think of no better way to honor Col. Spiller than by naming this center for him," said Rep. Michael Meredith of Oakland said. "Generations of veterans will benefit from the efforts of a man who not only had a distinguished military career, but found a way to serve our region and state even after leaving the uniform. This nursing home project would not exist without his work over the past two to three decades. The colonel's dedication and commitment to serving his fellow veterans provided a great reminder to all of us of the sacrifices made for our nation. He and Cora Jane leave an incredible legacy, but they also challenge us to do more for those who have done so much for us."

This story was posted on 2023-04-19 14:01:24
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