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Jed Boal Reporting Utah veterans today made a pitch to the state for better care for their aging comrades. They need state money to build a Veterans Nursing Home in Ogden, and the veterans say the need is critical.
Six years ago the state dedicated the first Veterans Nursing Home on the campus of the George E. Wahlen Dept of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. It has 80 beds, but the facility is always full.
Utah's largest veterans groups think no veterans should be turned away from nursing home care.
Frank Maughan, State Comm., Disabled American Veterans of Utah: “Never again will a generation turn their backs on another generation of veterans.”
But 125 veterans who qualify cannot get into this facility.
Frank Maughan: "We have probably as many who've not put their names on the list because they know they won't live long enough to get into those beds.”
Veterans propose a 120-bed facility in Ogden and urged the Capital Facilities Appropriation Committee to back the bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs has put up 8-million dollars, the state must come up with 4.5-million to complete the project.
This ten acre parcel of land west of the Weber fair grounds would be deeded to the state by the US Army Reserve. Senator Orrin Hatch has already taken care of the legislation to make that happen.”
Utah's only surviving Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, George Wahlen, fought on Iwo Jima and fights for veterans in the name of those who died.
George E. Wahlen, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient: “Thinking about those buddies and friends of mine that gave their life and gave such sacrifice for their country.”
The VA pays the veteran $60 a day towards his stay in a state-owned home, but nothing for a private facility.
The committee did not vote on the House Bill today, but veterans are optimistic they will get the support they need this session.