New Veterans Center offers therapy, career resources

By Matt Daray


A new center will offer veterans ervices they won’t be able to find anywhere else in southern Illinois.

Marion VA Medical Center opened the Illinois AMVETS Veteran Center Wednesday to provide veterans with state of the art healthcare. The center includes mental health services, substance abuse assistance, physical rehabilitative services and a career resource center.


Paul Kerby, AMVETS Department of Illinois commander, said he is proud of the center and hopes it can help veterans in the southern Illinois area.

“At the Illinois AMVETS, our motto is veterans serving veterans,” he said. “The resource center will house some of the best physical and mental health resources local veterans can find.”

Frank Kehus, Marion VA medical center interim director, said he expects the new AMVETS center to be a crucial part of the medical center.

“This facility will improve the quality of life for veterans, now and for years to come,” he said.

Kehus said the veterans center was funded by a $3.9 million donation from AMVETS. The 16,000-square foot building will offer services for post-traumatic stress, mental health intensive case management, prosthetics and more, he said.

Aquatics therapy and cardiac rehabilitation will be added to the center in the near future, Kehus said. The Marion Center will also add more facilities within several years, creating a new mental health facility and room for more veterans who need to stay at the facility, he said.

Cheryl Weglewski, Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation president, said she is thrilled to see the center’s completion since it took several years to develop the idea and construct the facility.


“I’ve been working with it since its inception and believe me, when you get to go inside and look at what they accomplished, you are not going to believe it,” she said. “Our veterans deserve this. Our veterans need this.”