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Volunteers from area churches help remodel Smithville building to serve veterans

A former nursing care facility in Smithville is being remodeled to provide services to aging veterans, thanks to the help of Baptist Homes and Healthcare Ministries. Volunteer disaster relief workers from the Clay-Platte and Blue River-Kansas City Baptist associations offered to help with the demolition portion of the remodeling to get the facility ready for contractors to begin work.

Leland Finley of Linden Baptist Baptist Church, Gladstone, disposes ceiling tile removed from the care center formerly known as Smithville Living Center, which is being renovated to become a campus of Baptist Homes and Healthcare. (Pathway photo by Joe Dayringer)

The building previously housed about 100 residents who shared rooms. The $12 million project will convert it to all private rooms, some with both a bedroom and living room. Volunteer assistance may help reduce expenses. “Many of these disaster relief volunteers are veterans themselves,” said Joe Dayringer, disaster relief coordinator for the western Missouri region.

Volunteers spent five days doing some of the preparatory work to get the facility ready for the remodeling. Ninety-one volunteers from about 17 different churches help with the project. The volunteers took down ceiling tiles all through the facility, opening up the ceiling area for the contractors who will put in new wiring, plumbing, heating/cooling and other systems. They sorted out and stored furnishings, beds and equipment. They filled storage units with equipment to be refurbished and recycled and loaded several dumpsters with ceiling tiles to be hauled off of the construction site.

The facility also has a chapel area, which is expected to be renovated and used for the Smithville Baptist Home programs and activities. I also will be opened up as a church for the veterans and their families, as well as for others in the area. Leaders of the facility are preparing for specialized care and services for veterans of armed services as the home is opened in the next couple of years.

Dayringer, a veteran of the Marine Corps and National Guard himself, said many of the volunteers were saying they might need to reserve a room in this veteran’s facility themselves one day in the future.

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