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Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne celebrates 25 years

Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Larry Herke speaks Friday at the celebration of Luverne's Minnesota Veterans Home 25th anniversary. (Leah Ward/The Globe)1 / 2
The Minnesota Veterans Home Luverne choir performs at the home's 25th anniversary celebration Friday. (Leah Ward/The Globe)2 / 2

LUVERNE — The Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne celebrated its 25th anniversary at a special event Friday.

Visitors listened to addresses by several key figures in the development of the veterans home, as well as performances by the veterans home choir. They also recognized 25 employees who have been at the veterans home for 25 years.

Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Larry Herke explained the impact of the veterans home program, which has helped 1,000 Luverne area veterans over the last quarter century.

“The success of the home here has encouraged other communities to do the same,” he said. Herke then announced that Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston are in the process of constructing veterans homes in their cities.

“Veterans have proudly served our country, and it’s time for the people here to serve them,” Herke said.

The Luverne facility has a staff of 190 employees with a combined salary and wages of more than $8.4 million annually. Twenty-five of them have been at the veterans home since it opened in 1994.

The audience heard from Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian, who is also a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard, as of his honorable discharge in 1987.

Baustian credited Luverne’s Ben Vander Kooi and Steve Perkins with significant roles in the selection of Luverne as the location for the veterans home.

“The Minnesota Veterans Home was a project that united the citizens of Luverne,” he continued. He explained some of the community and economic benefits of having the veterans home in Luverne.

“We have the best veterans home in Minnesota right here in Luverne,” Baustian concluded, “and we are able to provide the best health care for those who have given so much.”

In addition to two choir pieces, celebration attendees were also favored with remarks by Pam Burrows, a Vietnam veteran and veterans home administrator from 1993 to 2003, as well as Duane Mabon, volunteer services coordinator.

District 22 Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota’s First District all attended the celebration to express their support for the veterans home.