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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Veterans Nursing Home in Salt Lake collected a chunk of cash for renovations Friday thanks to The Home Depot and thousands of Facebook friends. Veterans and their caretakers at the nursing home set out to win a national competition, and found out they have plenty of friends.
Many have participated in one kind of Facebook campaign or another where you vote for your hometown organization to win. This one really paid off for the 81 veterans who live at the veterans nursing home. It's a marvelous asset for our community, and now they have $150,000 to spend for a little touch of home.
"We've had veterans from the Bataan death march here," Delbert Boyington, a veteran of the Korean War. "We've had a lot of prisoners of war who served in Japan in different concentration camps."
Boyington arrived at the nursing home 14 years ago, two months after it opened.
Today, they all celebrated with dozens of supporters from The Home Depot who helped them land $150,000 in Aprons in Action, a year-long Facebook voting campaign. The nursing home tallied more than 20,000 votes to earn second place. They'll use the money to make the veterans' rooms more comfortable.
"To make this a much more relaxing place instead of being a nursing home," Boyington said. "We can dress it up so it's more homelike."
That money will make a big difference in renovating these rooms. The Facebook campaign also gave them a chance to establish new relationships in the community.
"They want to give back to the community," said Jeff Hanson, the state officer for Nursing Homes. "They want to give back to the veterans."
The Ogden veterans nursing home opened two years ago, and new homes will open in Payson and Ivins next year. Those new relationships may one day helps veterans in those homes, too.
"Our veterans are a critical part of every community that we're in, and they're really the reason that we get to enjoy the freedoms that we have, and we recognize that," said Tony Hurst, the Home Depot Regional vice-president. The Home Depot has donated $13 million to veterans this past year, and pledged $30 million over three years. The veterans here are looking forward to the improvements.