Built on what had been the site of the Woodlawn School, the home was dedicated on Jan. 6, 1969, with Gov. Lester Maddox and other officials in attendance.
Pete Wheeler, commissioner of the Department of Veterans Service, was also there and was probably more responsible than anyone in establishing the skilled-care and rehab facility.
Over the years, there have been many changes and updates, but one thing has remained the same: the building has always had blue bricks (later tiles) and white struts — and that’s for a specific reason.
From its earliest years, the building has been known locally as the “Blue Goose.” In fact, some Augustans will only refer to it that way, though most probably have no idea where the name started.
Contrary to widespread belief, it didn’t get the name because the building “looks like a goose.” In fact, the name was coined by Dr. Jerry Howington, then a neurology resident at the Medical College of Georgia, who saw the building under construction.
“I said, ‘That looks like a Blue Goose,’” he recalled. “The building was blue, and the word ‘goose’ just came out.”
Howington, whose role in coining the term is memorialized in a plaque at the facility, would later take care of patients at the “Blue Goose.”
Howington’s colleagues started referring to it that way, and over time, the name stuck. Whether you refer to it as the “Blue Goose” or Georgia War, the facility has taken care of tens of thousands of our nation’s veterans and will continue to do so for many years to come.
This Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, the “Blue Goose” will celebrate 50 years of service to Georgia’s Veterans with the annual Veterans Day ceremony and reception to follow. The event is open to the public.