Fillmore County Journal
Over the past decade, there has been a collaborative vision focused on serving Veterans in our region.
On Nov-ember 11, 2015, Veterans Day, the first Veterans were laid to rest in the second Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery located in Preston, Minn.
Nearly six years later, on Monday, August 9, 2021, there was a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of one of three new Minnesota State Veterans Homes, also located in Preston, Minn. The construction of the 54-bed care facility is expected to take approximately 18 months with Knutson Construction overseeing the project as the general contractor.
Preston is now the only city in the State of Minnesota that will operate with a State Veterans Cemetery and a State Veterans Home.
This is a big deal for Preston and surrounding communities for so many reasons.
First, and foremost, we are paying our respect to our Veterans for their service to our country. Whether in their later years or when they have been laid to rest, we owe it to our Veterans. They made sacrifices to protect our freedoms, and we shall never forget that. Never.
Second, the new State Veterans Home in Preston, will require 96 full-time equivalent positions to operate the facility. According to my conversation with MDVA Deputy Commissioner Doug Hughes, it will require closer to 110 employees, including part-time and full-time workers to serve our Veterans in this 54-bed facility.
This will bring jobs to the area. State government jobs with incredible pay and benefits. We will need a lot of people to fill all of the positions in this facility.
And, with those additional employment opportunities, we will need housing. Not just in Preston, but surrounding communities for up to 45 miles from the facility.
The economic impact is significant.
For any of the hundreds attending the groundbreaking ceremony, we witnessed a vision becoming a reality.
There was Veteran representation from every community within 100 miles of Preston.
And, the residents of Preston came out in full force. They are proud and honored to have a State Veterans Cemetery and State Veterans Home in their town.
We listened to speeches from Governor Tim Walz, Congressman Jim Hagedorn, Senator Jeremy Miller, State Representative Greg Davids, Preston Mayor Kurt Reicks, and Army Veteran Ron Scheevel.
There was unity revolving around serving our Veterans.
Whether we talk about the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery or the State Veterans Home, we want our Veterans to know that we appreciate the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.