July was an active month beginning with Honoring Veteran Day at Target Field. As guests of the Minnesota Twins, the nine Veteran Service Organizations in Minnesota were asked to have their leadership occupy the various positions on the field. With the bases covered, the sidelines were filled with military re-enactors in full wool uniforms, currently serving military and the National Guard unfolding the American flag for the national anthem. To top it off, a flyover by World War II era planes brought the stadium to its feet. It was an environment that excited all. One could sense the pride of all the Veterans assembled, whether they were on the field or in the stands. I personally want to thank the Minnesota Twins organization for their inclusion of our Veterans as a part of their Fourth of July celebration, and in particular honoring the Veterans who served this great country.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Loch, Minnesota National Guard.
Photo by Tech Sgt. Paul Santikko.
Legislative Director, MDVA
Once again another budget year has come to an end - but not without challenges. The Legislature literally finished their work in the eleventh hour - minutes before midnight on May 20 – and achieved much in order to keep Minnesota moving ahead. It was a strong year for Veterans. Initiatives that were necessary and supported by the Governor and the legislature was able to put the final linchpin in several Veterans initiatives. Governor Dayton delivered a budget that invests in Minnesota Veterans, ensuring they receive the education, opportunities, and benefits they earned through their service.
» Minneapolis Veterans Home. The budget includes $18.9 million in the bonding bill to complete Phase 3 of the Minneapolis Veterans Home replacement project. With this state funding, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to leverage $35.2 million in federal funds through a compflagetitive grant process and will provide high-quality skilled nursing services for Minnesota’s Veterans.
» Expansion of the Minnesota GI Bill. With an additional $1 million investment, the Minnesota GI Bill program will expand to include all generations of veterans – not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will help ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good-paying jobs.
» One-on-One Help for Veterans. The budget provides $2 million in increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain the benefits and services they earned through military service.