Background Photo Provided by the
Nebraska Tourism Commission
Offical Nebraska Government Website
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Hosts Welcome Home Event for Recently Discharged Service Members

Media Contacts:  

Alex Reuss, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967


Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Hosts Welcome Home Event for Recently Discharged Service Members


Gov. Ricketts (podium) and NDVA Director John Hilgert at the 2022 Veterans Welcome Home event


Gov. Ricketts (podium) and NDVA Director John Hilgert at the 2022 Veterans Welcome Home event.


Photos from the Welcome Home picnic are available by clicking here.


LINCOLN – On Wednesday evening, Governor Pete Ricketts hosted the 2022 Veterans Welcome Home event at the Governor’s Residence in Lincoln.  Service members who have discharged over the past year were invited, along with their families, to attend the backyard picnic with food, games, and exhibitor tables from Nebraska veteran service organizations, State of Nebraska recruiters, and others.  In total, over 150 people attended the event, which was co-hosted by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) and Walmart. 


“The men and women who have served to protect our nation deserve a warm welcome when they return home from duty,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “It is an honor meeting our recently discharged service members and their families to thank them for their sacrifice, listen to their stories and plans for the future, and encourage them to stay with us here in Nebraska to enjoy ‘The Good Life.’”


A variety of veterans’ service organizations were at the event to share information on benefits for veterans and their family members, opportunities for networking and veteran organization membership, and resources for veteran employment.  Capital Humane Society attended with two dogs to help promote the Vets Get Pets program, which provides funds to help veterans adopt companion animals.


“Since Governor Ricketts initiated the Welcome Home Picnic with our agency in 2016, it has grown each year,” said NDVA Director John Hilgert.  “We’re seeing more of Nebraska’s newest veterans and their families attend, allowing our agency to connect with more veterans, showcase the myriad service organizations out there to help them, and offer a special ‘thank you’ on behalf of Nebraska for their service.”




During his administration, Governor Ricketts has worked with the Legislature and veterans’ groups to support Nebraska’s military families and veterans.  Below are a few examples of how Governor Ricketts is making Nebraska a more veteran-friendly state:


  • Signed LB 387 to allow 100 percent of military retirement pay to be exempted from Nebraska Income Tax.
  • Signed LB 389 which makes it quicker and easier for military spouses licensed in another state to obtain a teaching permit after moving to Nebraska.
  • Launched the Military Spouse Transition Program in April 2021 to help military spouses moving to Nebraska to identify job opportunities in state government.
  • Started the Veterans’ SkillBridge Initiative in April 2021.  Overseen by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the program creates connections between Nebraska’s employers and military members during their final 180 days of service.  This gives participants a chance to explore the best fit for their specific talents and interests after transitioning out of military service.
  • Signed LB 192 which allows members of the National Guard and Reserve to designate veteran status on their operator’s license or state I.D. card.
  • Expanded the hiring preference for the State of Nebraska to include spouses of service members.
  • Signed LB 340 to make the Department of Veterans’ Affairs a one-stop-shop for both veterans’ benefits and veterans’ homes.
  • Created five additional Military Honor License Plates to recognize the service of members of the reserves of the armed forces.
  • Signed Rule 21 allowing military spouses to receive a three-year teaching permit in Nebraska with a valid out-of-state license.
  • Provided reciprocity for military spouses all over the country by updating language for adoption of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses to have one multi-state license.
  • Signed LB 12e which allows active duty military members or their spouses to be licensed realtors in Nebraska without paying a licensing fee if they have a valid realtor’s license in another state.
  • Signed LB 115 which allows military families reassigned to Nebraska to preliminarily enroll in a school district.
  • Signed LB 122e allowing a veteran, their spouse, or dependents to qualify as residents for post-secondary tuition purposes if the veteran is receiving vocational rehabilitation.
  • Passed several occupational licensing reforms in LB88e (2017):
    • Authorized DHHS, with the recommendation of the appropriate board, to issue temporary licenses for occupations regulated under the Uniform Credentialing Act to military spouses.
    • The Nebraska Supreme Court also approved a new rule which gives active duty military spouses greater flexibility to practice law in Nebraska.


Photos from the Welcome Home ceremony are available by clicking here.