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Letter: The need for a veterans' home

This is in response to the letter to the editor written by Curt Reese from Olivia who questions the need for a veterans' nursing home in west central Minnesota.

We currently have approximately 50 veterans residing in private nursing homes in Kandiyohi County. If you extend the area to a 75-mile radius of Willmar this number would increase to over 150 veterans.

I will recite the case of a 100 percent disabled Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with terminal cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange while stationed in Vietnam. When it became apparent he needed to enter a nursing home he applied for space in a veterans' nursing home. Since the waiting period was approximately six months he was unable to find a bed.

His one wish was that he would have sufficient resources to provide for his own funeral. He entered a private nursing home in the area due to his illness. Because he had some assets he had to spend down that money and was required to turn over his 100 percent disability pension in order to receive nursing home care. As a result, he was penniless when he died. His children had to pay for the expense of his funeral.

If sufficient space had been available in a veterans' nursing home, he would have achieved his wishes to provide funds for his own funeral. He was denied the benefits he earned and deserved because space was not available in a veterans' nursing home.