Harker Heights: Veterans center reopens after renovations

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) A center that helps veterans rebuild their lives has gotten its own long- awaited upgrades.

Every week about 100 veterans walk through the doors of the Killeen-Heights Veterans Center at 302 Millers Crossing seeking comfort through therapy.

The center teaches coping skills and gives them PTSD support, and after a two-week renovation project, it will be able to offer even more.

A fresh coat of paint, new floors, new equipment and furniture are breathing new life into the community-based center.

Therapy rooms used to be filled with bulky chairs, and it was tough to clear space for more active therapy.

Now that the rooms are more open, new programs will start in November that include trauma yoga and music programs.

"Research has shown that music therapy is very helpful for memory enhancement and for activating learning centers in the brain,” says center Director Kimberly Bayes-Bautista.

“We're going to try this for the first time to see if this will help our veterans- some of those who are suffering from traumatic brain injury or other memory deficits."

The center also plans to create group couples therapy courses, but staff feel that the renovations also make the space more inviting for loved ones who currently come in for marriage and family therapy.

"There’s more space to fit more people and not feel overly crowded, as well as young children that come in,” says Amanda Baker, a licensed marriage and family therapist who works at the center.

“We now have toys and stuff like that so that we can utilize play therapy to help kids understand what their parents are going through and kind of help them process and get on their level," she adds.

The federally-funded make-over cost around eighty-thousand dollars, and the renovation work was contracted through veteran and disabled veteran- owned businesses.

Veterans and their families are invited out to a "Give Thanks” celebration which will be held at Carl Levin Park from noon to 4 p.m. Friday.

There will be a chili and dessert cook-off along with a special presentation for female veterans and veterans of the Persian Gulf War.

Anyone interested in receiving services can get more info during the festivities or come straight to the center and check out the new upgrades.

For more information, call (254) 953-7100.