Happy Birthday Dad! RIP

Today, August 29, 2020, my Dad would have been 70 years old if he had made it home from Vietnam/Cambodia! If I've come to know him, even a little bit, through all of this truly amazing historical adventure I get to live, I'm sure he would be truly humbled and feel quite undeserving to have his name on such a beautiful masterpiece built for his family of much deserving Veterans in their last days.

I've had the pleasure of getting to meet some of the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  One thing I have heard from each one of their mouths is that they did nothing special but my Dad and the guys like him, who didn't get to come home to their families, see their babies, give their lives for someone else, are the true heroes!

I'm sure my Dad would feel the same exact way and be just as humble as they are! I know I'm truly amazed and full of joy! My family and I thank everyone involved in every single thing that went into this Home! We/I can never thank you all enough!

The Copas Family

Opening Summer 2020

I can't wait to cut the ribbon!

Ardie R. Copas State Veterans' Home set to open by summer in Port St. Lucie

Keona Gardner, Treasure Coast Newspapers Published 4:47 p.m. ET Jan. 15, 2020 | Updated 4:48 p.m. ET Jan. 15, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE — After more than four years of planning, the end is near for the $62 million Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Home.

Construction on the 120-bed home at 10700 S.W. Tradition Parkway in Tradition is 75% complete and scheduled to open in late May or early June, said Alfred Carter, chief of staff with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“This is all dependent on certification of the facility,” Carter said. “We must be certified to open by both the Agency for Health Care Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We are working with them to expedite the process.”

The 121,000-square-foot facility is named for Medal of Honor recipient Ardie Ray Copas, a Fort Pierce resident who died in 1970 during the Vietnam War. He was 19.

During action, Copas returned fire but was knocked to the ground when his armored car was hit and four other Americans were wounded. Despite his injuries, Copas climbed back into the burning vehicle and fired his machine gun until the four wounded men were safely evacuated. Copas continued fighting until he died.

More: Rubio calls on Obama to 'keep commitment' to VA nursing home in PSL


Ardie Ray Copas was killed in the Vietnam War at the age of 19. (Photo: PHOTO CONTRIBUTED FROM COPAS FAMILY)

More: Florida veterans now able to receive immediate care from anywhere via 24/7 hotline, video chat

The building will consist of two sections, each with three groups of 20 beds, Carter said. Sixty beds will be reserved for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The home also includes six bariatric rooms and six private rooms. 

Most rooms will be two-person, semi-private rooms, with separate living areas and a shared bathroom. The two sections will flank a main building which will house the administrative offices, a beauty and barber shop, café, chapel and kitchen and dining facilities.

More: Construction starts this summer on Ardie R. Copas veterans nursing home in Port St. Lucie

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Construction crews cut and install the metal roofing for the south wing of the new Ardie R. Copas State Veterans' Nursing Home on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Tradition. The facility will have 120 beds, 60 of which will be reserved for residents with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The facility sits on 28 acres of land donated by the Tradition Land Company. (Photo: PATRICK DOVE/TCPALM)



For admission, a resident must be a Florida resident, honorably discharged from the armed services and have a certificate of need from a VA physician. The home will employ up to 175 people, Carter said. Hiring of key directors begins this week.

Officials estimate there are about 280,000 veterans living in the 75-mile service area for the Treasure Coast, and 118,617 are 65 or older.

For admission information, contact the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Homes Program office, 727-518-3202, ext. 5562.

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A construction worker welds metal piping together as part of the infrastructure for the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans' Nursing Home on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, located in the community of Tradition. (Photo: PATRICK DOVE/TCPALM)

It's coming... (New construction photos March 10, 2019)

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!  Is just really all I can say!  Other than, I believe if I learned anything about my amazing Dad through ALL of this, and the humble, loving, kind, very unselfish, tough, Son-of-a-Gun, he was, he would think this is WAYYYY too much to have his name on!!!

I STILL can't believe this is happening and am so very honored, humbled, amazed and proud...

Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs

Jan. 25, 2019


WOW! The Ardie R Copas State Veterans Nursing Home made it into the 2018 Annual Report! This is so awesome and amazing to me, it truly is coming. Click the link above to see...

Ground-Breaking March 20, 2018

It finally happened everyone! This is REALLY coming to fruition and I'm so overwhelmed, humbled and amazed. Words just can not explain the way I feel about this wonderful place coming alive! My dad would be so happy and feel like it is way too much to have his name on! I already know he would be filled with emotion just as we are...

The ground-breaking is FINALLY scheduled!

I'm so very excited and just can't wait to see my Dad's name on that building and on the signs!  The ground-breaking is scheduled for March 20, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at Tradition in Pt. St. Lucie, FL.  For more information please visit or https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/growth/2018/02/27/groundbreaking-set-march-20-ardie-r-copas-state-veterans-nursing-home-port-st-lucie/377573002/

You can also visit  http://veronews.com/2018/01/12/state-eyes-seamless-opening-copas-home-construction/ for information as well.

We look forward to seeing you all there!