BONHAM — The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center held an opening ceremony for the Deloris F. Clemons Women’s Wing at the Bonham Domiciliary,Wednesday. The new wing provides residential drug, alcohol, psychosocial and health recovery programs specialized for women veterans.

BONHAM — The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center held an opening ceremony for the Deloris F. Clemons Women’s Wing at the Bonham Domiciliary,Wednesday. The new wing provides residential drug, alcohol, psychosocial and health recovery programs specialized for women veterans.


The Bonham Domiciliary has traditionally housed more men than women, with women occupying only eight of the Domiciliary’s 224 beds. For women trying to focus on treatment — whether that be for addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder — being one of a few women out of many men can make recovery difficult, the Center’s officials said.


"This new space is designed for women to feel safe and comfortable with a more peaceful environment," said Army veteran and women’s wing occupant Stefanie Tobar. "Because women, … we are a little more emotional beings, so having our own space … makes us feel secure in our recovery, which is so important as veterans, because we worked with a lot of men when we were in the military."


The Bonham VA is working to make the facility more accessible to women, said Chief of the Domiciliary Kimberly Coleman Prier. The women’s wing is part of those efforts, as is gender-specific programming tailored to the needs of women veterans.


Another unique feature of the women’s wing is it allows women in treatment to have a space for their children to come visit them. Visitation from children was not as easy before the wing opened, Prier said.


Namesake of the wing Deloris Clemons recently retired from 39 years of service at the Bonham VA. Clemons was instrumental in helping the idea of a women’s wing come to fruition.


"We began having focus groups with the female veterans, and I would attend those meetings and would ask them, ‘What can we do? What do we need to do to improve so you get the care you need?’" Clemons said. "And it became evident that what they needed was a personal, private, secure unit for them."


Tobar came to stay at the women’s wing when it first opened 35 days ago. She had previously stayed in the Domiciliary last year, pre-women’s wing.


"It’s night and day," Tobar said. "The last time I was here, I was anxious all the time. I had nightmares. And now, I sleep fine. I’m happy and I’m doing well."


Female veterans interested in the services of the Doris F. Clemons Women’s Wing of the Bonham Domiciliary can call 903-583-6335, Prier said.