Gov. Heineman, Rep. Terry Open
New Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home
(Lincoln, NE) Gov. Dave Heineman today officially opened the new Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home in Bellevue. The Governor called the home the result of our state’s strong commitment to the veterans who risked their lives to preserve our freedom. Congressman Lee Terry joined the Governor at the dedication.
“This facility is ‘home’ to the members living here,” Gov. Heineman said. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility, and more importantly, members are receiving the quality care that they so richly deserve.”
Gov. Heineman called the great partnership already established with the Offutt Air Force Base community a powerful gesture that the veterans of tomorrow are helping the veterans of today. ‘Move buddies’ volunteered their time to help one-on-one with a member during the July 14 move to the new Home. Most of the volunteers were active duty airmen and airwomen from Offutt Air Force Base.
The Governor credited efforts by both the public and private sectors for helping the new veterans’ home become a reality. Members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation, the Legislature and other elected officials, and veterans’ organizations strongly supported the construction.
Congressman Terry said, “I am proud of the care Nebraskans take to honor our veterans. While we can never repay the debt we owe to our veterans, we can take every opportunity to thank them for their service. We can also serve them by making good on all of our promises to them. This new veterans’ home helps us meet our promises to veterans. However, we will certainly remember the halls of memories and doorways to America’s history in the Tommy Fitzgerald home because it served our distinguished veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for all Americans.”
Construction costs totaled approximately $21 million, with $13.7 million from federal funds and $7.4 million from State Capital Construction funds. The City of Bellevue donated the land, valued at $890,000, and the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners donated $300,000 that was used to build an access road to the home.
The new 120-bed veterans’ home is operated by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The home provides assisted living, intermediate and skilled nursing care, and specialized services for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
John Hilgert, Director of the DHHS Division of Veterans Homes, said, “We know that members and their families will see an improved quality of life. Everyone’s excited about the possibilities that being in Bellevue can offer.”
The new home replaces the Thomas Fitzgerald Veterans Home in Omaha, which opened in 1980 in the former Douglas County Hospital Annex. DHHS operates state veterans’ homes in Grand Island, Norfolk, Bellevue and Scottsbluff.