Johnston County veterans hold groundbreaking for new center

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TISHOMINGO, Okla(KXII)-- After over a decade of fundraising, committee members held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Johnston County Veteran's Center.

"I'm very pleased to see our community and our government and all of our supporters, our veterans have come together to make this possible," Stan Sewell.

Stan Sewell, chairman of the center, says their original building burned down 10 years ago.

Since then, he and other veterans have worked to get a new center built.

"It's a historical day, not only for us but we're gonna have an eclipse today," Sewell said.

"It's a joy, a joy in our heart we're happy that we've been able to come this far," Vickie Luster said.

The Center will be used to educate students about veterans, and for American Legion and VFW meetings.

It'll also be used as a storm shelter.

Congressman Tom Cole attended the ceremony and thanked veterans for their service, state officials were also in attendance.

"This is really an impressive project for a community this size, there are cities in Oklahoma that are much richer and bigger that could never ever accomplish this task and Tishomingo has done it,"OK state senator Frank Simpson said.

The five-thousand square foot building is expected to cost about a million dollars.

They've already raised a little over $600,000 without using tax dollars.

All money raised has been solely through fundraisers, and community events.

But it wouldn't have been possible with out the help of local Senior Corps RSVP veteran volunteers who assisted with community outreach and fundraising to help spread the word about the new center.

"It's one of our missions is to support our military and our veterans families as well as the administrations mission," director of senior corps Deborah Cox Roush said,"so there's no place I'd rather be on Eclipse Monday than in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, honoring these veterans and I wanna come back when it's built."

Construction begins next month.

Sewell says they hope to have it open next year.

"From a grateful American we certainly thank our veterans who are serving, who have served and who have given it all," Cox-Roush said.