Newsroom > DHHS News Release


October 19, 2007 


Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

DHHS Veterans’ Homes Celebrate 120 Years!

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:
An online media kit with historic photos is available at:

Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) celebrates serving veterans for 120 years.

“It’s our job to take care of America’s heroes and we consider it a privilege to care for them,” said John Hilgert, director of the Division of Veterans’ Homes for DHHS.  “We strive for an environment where members can be themselves; a place they can truly call home.”

Many great men and women have passed through the doors of the state’s four homes, veterans from The Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and The Gulf War.

Here’s a historic snapshot of DHHS’ four veterans’ homes:

  • Grand Island Veterans’ Home:  Founded in 1887 as the Nebraska Soldiers and Sailors Home, this was Nebraska’s first veterans’ home.  It’s currently the oldest at 120 years and the largest with almost 250 members.  More than a century ago, locals pledged $25,600 to buy land for the home.  At one time there was a small farm with crops and a garden along with livestock for food and dairy.

  • Norfolk Veterans’ Home: Established in 1963 as an annex to the Grand Island Veterans’ Home, the Norfolk Veterans’ Home was one building on the NorfolkRegionalCenter grounds.  In 1998, construction began on a new facility and veterans moved into a new home in 2001.   The home has a special mural by Omaha artist Stephen Cornelius Roberts.  It features the faces of current or past members along with other veterans.

  • Western Nebraska Veterans’ Home:   College students originally lived here when it was a dorm for the former HiramScottCollege in Scottsbluff.  The Western Nebraska Veterans’ Home opened in 1975 with only 12 members who lived in the dorm and had to walk outside to the cafeteria for their meals.  A small chapel sits nearby… an old church that members bought from a congregation in Mitchell and moved onto the grounds.

  • Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home: The newest veterans’ home just made history when it opened in July.  The Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home has a special town square with a cozy fireplace, canteen, library, barber shop and game room.  A vintage M60 battle tank sits on the front lawn.  This home replaces the Thomas Fitzgerald Veterans’ Home that opened in 1980.