The Governor was joined by House Speaker Ray Merrick (District 27), himself a veteran, Mike Neer, Chair of the Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs (KCVA), Gregg Burden, Executive Director of the KCVA and representatives of numerous veterans organizations in making today’s announcement.
“In Kansas, we honor our veterans,” said Governor Brownback. “They have earned our respect and deserve services and facilities that match the quality of care provided to these heroes.”
Two years ago, the Governor tasked the KCVA with developing a comprehensive strategic plan for the agency with one priority firmly in mind – doing what’s best for Kansas veterans. The Governor’s FY 2015 budget submission to the Legislature will include three important elements in support of this goal: hiring four new service officers to improve outreach to Kansas veterans; providing 40 new beds by opening Triplet Hall at the Kansas Veterans Home in Winfield; and expediting renovations to the two main facilities at the Kansas Soldiers Home at Fort Dodge.
Funding for facility improvements at the Soldiers Home, a $1.4 million investment, will come from a Special Building Fund restricted to improvements at state-owned hospitals and veterans’ facilities. The Soldiers Home submitted a five-year plan for renovations which are being accelerated to be completed in two years.
The four service officers to be hired under this proposal will be stationed in strategic locations across the state to help our veterans gain access to the federal benefits to which they are entitled, such as health care, education assistance, disability compensation and home loan guarantee programs.
“I am grateful to the KCVA and the veterans’ organizations across our state for their efforts in ensuring we continue to recognize the debt we owe those who served to protect our freedom,” said Governor Brownback. “Our Kansas military are a part of our history and our service members a part of our community. I look forward to working with the Legislature on this important issue.”
—Press release via Kansas Office of the Governor