Long-time Preston resident Walter Hanson was the first resident to move into the Preston Veterans Home, on his 91st birthday, January 3, 2024.
The newly opened Minnesota Veterans Home in Preston admitted its first residents on January 3 – four veterans who served in eras from Korea to Vietnam. The Preston Veterans Home is the first of three new veterans homes scheduled to open this month. The communities of Montevideo and Bemidji will also admit their first residents to new veterans homes in the coming weeks.
Walter attracted quite a bit of attention as the first veteran to move into the Preston Veterans Home – a milestone for the region.
“It takes a lot of people to put this together,” said Hanson, an Army veteran who served in Korea in the 1950s. “It’s going to be quite a shot in the arm for Preston and the area. This is going to be a nice place to live. I’ll find out soon enough!”
“Our residents are excited to come through our doors today,” said Home Administrator Dave Dunn. “The facility is absolutely beautiful, and our team members are thrilled to now be working on site. This is really a meaningful day for our community and all of southeastern Minnesota.”
The new facility currently employs more than 70 staff to serve veterans, with expectations of employing upwards of 110 full- and part-time positions to meet the needs of the residents and facilities.
Groundbreaking for the Preston Veterans Home took place in August 2021 for the 54-bed skilled nursing facility located at 1864 First Minnesota, on a 15-acre blufftop site surrounded by a 200-year-old native white oak forest.
Preston, Minn., is the only city in the state of Minnesota to be home to a state veterans cemetery and state veterans home.