A new 120-bed veterans care center in Fauquier County will be named for the Puller family, honoring the legacy of Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, one of the most highly decorated Marines in U.S. history; his son, Lt. Lewis B. Puller Jr. and former state lawmaker Linda T. “Toddy” Puller who pursued legislation to aid veterans.
Fauquier County, the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority and Vint Hill Village donated the land at no cost to the state, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.
“The new veterans care center will be a state-of-the-art facility providing skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/demential care, and short-term rehabilitative care,” McAuliffe said.
“I am also very pleased to announce that this care center will be named the Puller Veteran Care Center in honor of the multigenerational commitment by the Puller family to military service and veteran advocacy.”
Construction is to start in late 2017 and be completed in late 2019. A similar center is planned for Hampton Roads. Together, funding for the projects is estimated at $96 million.
The Veterans Care Center in Northern Virginia will be the state’s third. The Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke opened in 1992. The Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond opened in 2008.
Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, a native of West Point, was a legendary Marine who was awarded five Navy Crosses.
His son, Lewis Burwell Puller Jr., was grievously wounded in Vietnam when he stepped on a land mine in 1968. He later won the Pulitzer Prize for “Fortunate Son,” his autobiography. Lewis Puller Jr., took his own life in 1994.
His widow, then-Delegate Linda T. “Toddy” Puller said at the time: “To the list of names of victims of the Vietnam War, add the name of Lewis Puller. He suffered terrible wounds that never really healed.”
The state senator, D-Fairfax, retired in January. She served in the House of Delegates from 1992-99 and had served in the state Senate since 2000.