Officials break ground on new State Veterans Home in Sparks

“This is a day that I’ve been looking forward to for many, many years,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval stated at the July 17 groundbreaking ceremony of the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home.

More than 450 excited people gathered in a tent to laugh, honor, and celebrate the start of construction of the highly anticipated 102,000 square foot veterans’ center. To be built upon an old baseball field near Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane intersection, the 102,000 square foot town center is set to host: a physical therapy center, space for nursing administration and operations, a chapel, coffee shop, general store, beauty and barber shop, dining hall, conservatory, activity center, 96 beds and parade grounds.

Joined by Governor Brian Sandoval, Senator Dean Heller, Sparks City Council, several legislators, Secretary of State/Attorney General, numerous Cabinet members and more, Nevada Department of Veterans Services Director Kat Miller named off dozens of veterans organizations and auxiliaries throughout the State of Nevada that have supported the project as well as recognized the veterans that served in major wars.

“Regardless of where you served or what role you served in, we owe each and every one of our veterans some profound things. We have been in dire need of a new Northern Nevada veterans’ home for years.

Many of our veterans are unable to find affordable, quality nursing home care and must seek this care hundreds of miles from home at the very time when they need to be around friends and family. Ever since Governor Sandoval came into office in 2011, he worked to budget for a new veterans’ home. Working together with legislature, in 2017 he successfully passed the budget to advance the cause. The reason we are breaking ground today is the (dedicated) resolve and determination of our keynote speaker Brian Sandoval,” Miller said in her introduction of the governor.

“(This day) is particularly special for me because I’m a son of Sparks, I grew up here,” said Governor Sandoval. “I’m a competitive person, so this has got to be the best veterans’ home in the country. Our veterans will get the best care that there can possibly be throughout the United States of America,” he added to the cheering crowd. As part of his 20-minute speech, Governor Sandoval also talked about his profound respect for veterans. Recently coming back from a trip to the East Coast, Sandoval shared the significance of when a group of farmers fought the British redcoats in 1770’s to help the USA become an independent nation.

Announcing his surprise at realizing Northern Nevada hosts 80,000 veterans, it is a relief to be able to break ground on a state-of-the-art center.

“We go from sage to service and by December 31, 2018 we are going to have a beautiful facility for our veterans. It takes everybody to make today a reality; this is a day we never imagined,” says Sandoval. He thanked the legislature for its support and added, “Today is a day to reaffirm our commitment to those that have served our country”.

Sandoval’s speech was followed by a short presentation from Nevada Senator Dean Heller who continued on by saying, “It’s an honor to be a part of this very important day. Veterans will have a home right here where they belong and where they want to stay”. He added that it is the Nevada Department of Veteran Affairs’ job to follow through on the additional funding and as a member of its board, Senator Heller said, “It’s my job to make sure these federal funds come through and I guarantee you that will happen”.

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini also addressed the crowd and was greeted by a standing ovation. He shared a personal story of how his brother served in the Vietnam War and how important veterans’ services are. Martini joked that Sparks “doesn’t have a lot of money but I’m sure we can work something out- throw in some landscaping or something”.

After the hour-long presentation with state officials, dozens of people grabbed hard hats and shovels to break ground and continue the celebration outside. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2018.

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