Former Sycamore building renamed after local fallen hero

Lester Hamond Family with Governor Rauner.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner dedicates a new Illinois Veterans Home healthcare facility after a local veteran.

After closing its doors more than a year ago, the former Sycamore Healthcare center was acquired by the state and now has a new name.

The renaming comes as crews are working to rebuild a former nursing home to serve as a temporary housing site while new buildings included in the Master Plan are being built.

Friday’s ceremony gave members of the community a firsthand look at the progress being made on the renovated building.

Governor Rauner said, "Today we take a special step, today we celebrate a true American hero, a true Illinois hero and true Quincy hometown hero.”

Lester Hammond Hall is name after the late Lester Hammond who sacrificed his life in the Korean war.

"Enrolled in the Army at a young age and went off to defend democracy in Korea,” Governor Rauner explained.

Hammond was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and heroism.

His family filled the front row at Fridays ceremony.

"We are grateful that Lester had courage and the honor to serve his country proudly,” said Lester’s nephew Brad Richmiller. “It is always nice when someone takes the time to honor a hero, Lester was a true American hero."

More than 100 names were submitted for recommendation in the process.

To date, 12,000 thousand volunteer hours have been served in this Master Plan process.

The Plan comes after 12 residents died from the legionella disease contracted at Illinois Veterans Home in 2015.

"We have taken a major step in improving the quality of healthcare and the living conditions for our heroes here in the Quincy Veterans Home with this new building and enhance the quality of their health care experience,” concluded Governor Rauner.

The Master Plan is on track and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

The new building will open to residents at the end of January.

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