A new hospital in Anchorage Alaska has been named to honor Texas Legislative Medal of Honor recipient Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal American hero. Kyle was immortalized in the film “American Sniper” based upon his life and heroic tours of duty in in Iraq.
The Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital is an intensive inpatient treatment facility designed to help veterans in need of mental health assistance. Kyle was murdered in Texas in 2013 by Eddie Ray Routh, a Marine Corps veteran who suffered with PTSD. Kyle and Chad Littlefield were attempting to help Routh in dealing with his PTSD by befriending him and taking him shooting. Routh ambushed the two men at the shooting range and killed them.
The new hospital is part of North Star Behavioral Health System, according to the Alaska Dispatch News article by Tegan Hanlon. The parent hospital system, Universal Health Service operates more than 220 acute care and behavioral health centers across the nation.
Allen Miller, an Army veteran who serves as the founder, chairman and CEO of Universal Health Services, said this is the first facility they have named in honor of a person. He said “very impressed by the American hero, American patriot Chris Kyle.” He also said he did not appreciate some of the negative things that had been said about Kyle after the movie came out.
“I, personally, was infuriated that he, who put his life on the line protecting all of us, was called a murderer,” Miller told the Dispatch News. “I wanted his name and accomplishments not only to be remembered by those of us for a short time, but for many others for years to come.”
Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, flew in from Texas for the hospital’s dedication ceremony. Before cutting the ribbon to officially open the new treatment center, Taya spoke to those gathered to honor both her husbands and the veterans this hospital will serve.
She said that Miller and his company wanted to provide an opportunity for veterans and active duty military to receive care in their hometown. She said the hospital is taking a holistic approach to dealing with the patients mental health issues by focusing on diet, exercise and family involvement.
“The fact that Mr. Miller, who came up with the idea, is so patriotic and really heartfelt about it. … This wasn’t a marketing ploy. This was a true act of the heart,” Taya Kyle told the audience. She recounted that her husband had always wanted to travel to Alaska. He was finally able to achieve that goal the year before he died when they, and their children, went on a cruise with their parents to Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka. She said he told her he wanted to come back.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin added her support for the hospital’s effort to help veterans and honor Chris Kyle. Palin posted to her Facebook page that she was “very proud that Alaska is the new home of the Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital to serve the over 100,000 active duty and retired military Alaskans. Taya Kyle continues to inspire, giving of herself carrying on Chris’s legacy of service to our country, his fellow veterans, and their families.” She also thanked Mrs. Kyle for her ongoing efforts to carry on her husband’s legacy of helping his fellow vets.
“According to 2014 statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 73,400 veterans lived in Alaska. Verdie Bowen, director of Alaska’s Office of Veterans Affairs, said roughly 27,000 military personnel, including National Guard members, live in the state,” Hanlon wrote in her article. Bowen said that many of these Alaska veterans and active duty military members are currently sent out of state for treatment.
Read more about the new facility and how it will work in Halan’s Dispatch News article.