Preston, MN

Ceremonies marking the groundbreaking of new Veterans Homes in three Minnesota towns

Paula Carlsen

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PRESTON, MN - Breaking ground implies setting growth plans, changing dirt, planting seeds, creating an optimal environment, and reaping the benefits of their dedication and hard work for farmers. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, or MDVA, is doing the same as it breaks ground on three new Veterans Homes spread across the state.

Preston, which is around 40 miles southeast of Rochester, Minnesota, held its groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, August 9. Two more communities, Montevideo in the west and Bemidji in the north, will hold groundbreaking ceremonies on August 23 and 26.

Over 250 guests gathered under sunny skies and a large tent to mark the formal start of construction on this 54-bed skilled nursing facility near Highway 16 and Golfview Drive. The facility, which will be built atop a 15-acre bluff, is set to open in mid-2023. Preston is Minnesota's only city with both a Veterans Home and a Veterans Cemetery.

The new Homes locations will all be built to mirror the natural characteristics of their surrounding communities. Several windows will let in natural light throughout the facility and provide a range of inviting outdoor views, including a well-appointed, fenced-in courtyard.

Residents will also have access to private units with private baths, tiny Resident "households" to foster a connected, communal atmosphere, and a Town Center with a coffee shop/café, theatre/meeting room, dining room, meditation room/chapel, and club room. The ultimate goal is to provide Veterans with a living environment that feels like home.

Gov. Walz emphasized the significance of having long-term care facilities to support Minnesota's Veterans living in all parts of the state. He also discussed Minnesota's long history of assisting more than 312,000 Veterans, particularly as they age, and the effects of their service may cause health issues.

Congressman Hagedorn, State Sen. Miller, and State Rep. Davids all agreed that veteran's problems have historically brought people together from all walks of life and all political stripes.

"When we build a facility, we are not only a service provider to Veterans and an employer to local residents, but we are also an active and caring member of the community," stated MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke. "We look forward to enhancing the Preston area (and Montevideo and Bemidji as well) with our presence."

Residents, political officials, local business and civic leaders, donors, and representatives from Veterans Service Organizations have spent more than a decade promoting and fundraising for constructing a Veterans Home in their community. They are now reaping the advantages of their dedication.

For more information on the new home and to be kept up to speed on job possibilities, go to MinnesotaVeteran.org/FutureHomes or email NewHomesJobs@state.mn.us.

Visit MinnesotaVeteran.org/careers to learn more about available positions.

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