BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Thursday, the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Healthcare System will be celebrating 70 years of service to veterans in Alabama.

The Birmingham VA first opened on the city’s Southside in 1953 and have been serving veterans in the community ever since. Over 71,000 veterans are impacted and served by more than 3,000 employees in the Birmingham VA Health Care System.

The medical center is a level 1A acute tertiary medical and surgical care center, meaning a high level of specialized care is given to veterans that come in. Not only is care provided, but the medical center also performs research, partnering with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

According to their website, the medical center’s mission is “to improve the capability of the VA to provide services that meet the medical, psychological, and social needs of older veterans through research, education and innovative clinical services.”

For the last 70 years, the Birmingham VA has been serving veterans in many capacities all over Alabama, with ten community-based outpatient clinics in nine cities including Anniston-Oxford, Bessemer, Childersburg, Guntersville, Gadsden, Huntsville, Jasper, Shoals, and two in Birmingham.

“The Birmingham VA’s 70th Anniversary marks a significant milestone that would not be possible without our community, who we truly appreciate,” Birmingham VA Executive Director Dr. Oladipo Kukoyi said in a statement. “We are excited to share our rich history with our Veterans, guests, and the City of Birmingham.”

The celebration event will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. It will be located at the 19th Street entrance of the medical center located at 700 19th Street South. The event will also be broadcast on the Birmingham VA Facebook Live.