OXFORD, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A local, historic veterans facility held a celebration yesterday in honor of reaching an incredible milestone.

The New York State Veterans Home at Oxford celebrated its 125 anniversary.
In the 1890’s, the Women’s Relief Corps convinced New York State to establish a home in which a veteran could be admitted while also being accompanied by their spouse.

Before the home was created, the spouses of veterans were left to care for themselves.

Hundreds of people attended the celebration including the Oxford Town Historian Vicky House, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, and the New York State Commissioner of Health, Mary Bassett.

Bassett spoke about the origins of the home; she says that the idea originally came from a poem.

New York State Commissioner of Health, Mary Basset says, “It was describing a Civil War veteran who having found a place for himself in his old age, was unable to bring along with him his wife, Betsy.”

The ceremony began with a presentation of the colors by the Oxford American Legion Honor Guard, followed by a bagpipe performance of the national anthem.

Sherwood Buckland, one of the residents at the home said a prayer, and then Civil War re-enactors from the 137th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment gave a gun salute.

The New York State Veterans Home at Oxford currently cares for over 100 residents, employs over 300 people, and has an economic value of over 20 million annually.