History of vet’s home significant PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:
Attention: To Our Neighbors
We Jensens have been very much involved with veterans affairs for nearly 20 years. We have been closely, personally involved with the VA facilities of Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha and Minneapolis. This has been a positive experience, also one that makes us care deeply about events affecting the facilities, the staff, but most of all the veterans. Please listen as we tell you about the history of the Grand Island Veterans Home.
It is Nebraska’s oldest and largest home, established in 1887. A resolution is recorded in the Senate Journal of the State of Nebraska Twentieth Regular Session -- Lincoln, Neb. -- Jan. 4, 1887. (1) “That it is the sense of this Senate that a suitable building be erected and grounds provided for the care and comfort of the old soldiers of Nebraska in their declining years.” (2) “That a committee of five be appointed to confer with a committee of the House on indigent soldiers and Marines to take such actions as will look to the establishment of a State Soldiers Home.”
The Legislative Bill 247 was  passed March 4, 1887 for the establishment of a soldiers home, stipulating that not less than 640 acres be donated for the site. The Grand Island Board of Trade had a meeting with the citizens of the city, held in the Bartenbach Opera House. Within 36 hours, $25,600 was pledged for the purchase of land, which was originally located three miles north of Grand Island.
On Oct. 20, 1887, Gov. John M. Thayer placed the cornerstone of the new Soldiers and Sailors Home. Oliver P. Duncan was the first Civil War veteran admitted on June 28, 1888.
Originally, only Civil War Union Army veterans were admitted. Later, it was decided that we are one country, and Confederate Army veterans were also admitted. Eventually, veterans serving in all the wars and conflicts were eligible. In 1969, the name was changed to Nebraska Veterans Home to reflect all branches of the service.
We are avid students of history and we consider this an epic narrative. As we drive by the Nebraska Veterans Home, we appreciate ever more what has taken place.
In the matter of moving the home to Kearney, we are most disappointed that the people of Central Nebraska were not informed and allowed to voice their concerns. In our household, we Jensens represent (1) a veteran, (2) professional nurse, (3) taxpayers. We feel that we should have had a vote.  As a veteran, maybe Earl would one day need the services at the home. As a nurse, Diann wonders about transporting every ailing patient from Kearney to the VA Clinic in Grand Island; or are those veterans expected to give up the doctors they know, too? As taxpayers, we both think that $50 million is important to consider .
The only hope of changing the governor’s plan to move the Veterans Home is to communicate to the following address: US Dept of Veterans Affairs
Atten: Eric K. Shenseki 810 Vermont Ave.
Washington D.C. 20420 Thanks for listening.    
Earl and Diann Jensen

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