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Gov. Ricketts Hosts ‘Welcome Home’ Picnic for Recently Discharged Service Members

Gov. Ricketts greets a veteran at Thursday’s Welcome Home Picnic.(September 13, 2019) — On Friday, Governor Ricketts hosted the 2019 Veterans Welcome Home Picnic at his residence.  Nearly 40 service members who have been discharged over the past year were in attendance, along with their family members.  The event, which is in its fourth year, was co-hosted by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) and Walmart. 

“Each year, this event gives us a chance to welcome our servicemen and women back to civilian life in Nebraska and thank them for their service,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Our state is focused on creating new opportunities for our military families and veterans when they return home.  We want Nebraska to be the friendliest state for veterans and military families—it’s the greatest ‘thank you’ we can give them.”

Various veterans’ service organizations were also at the picnic to share information on benefits for veterans and their family members, opportunities for networking and veteran organization membership, and resources for veteran employment.

“The Welcome Home Picnic is not only a way to thank our state’s newest veterans for their service and welcome them back to Nebraska, but an opportunity to connect them with some of the great benefits our agency and other veterans’ service organizations have to offer them,” said NDVA Director John Hilgert. “I can’t think of a better way to say ‘thank you’ than by connecting our veterans and their families with the benefits and services they’ve so rightly earned.”


Over the past few years, Governor Ricketts has worked with the Legislature and veterans’ groups to support Nebraska’s military families and veterans.  Below are a few examples of how Governor Ricketts is making Nebraska a more veteran-friendly state:

  • Merging NDVA and the Division of Veterans’ Homes to create a one-stop shop for veterans’ services in Nebraska.
  • Approving a 20 percent pay increase for staff care technicians working for NDVA.
  • Expanding the hiring preference in Nebraska to include spouses of service members.
  • Creating five additional Military Honor License Plates to recognize the service of members of the reserves of the armed forces.
  • Signing LB 192 which allows members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officers with active or reserve service, to designate veteran’s status on their operators’ licenses or state I.D. card.
  • Signing LB 115 which establishes the right for military families reassigned to Nebraska to preliminarily enroll in a school district. 
  • Signing LB 122e which allows a veteran, their spouse, or dependents to qualify as residents for post-secondary tuition purposes if the veteran is receiving vocational rehabilitation.
  • Building a new state-of-the-art Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home, which is providing world-class accommodations to hundreds of Nebraska veterans.
  • Making it easier for military spouses to obtain licenses/permits to work in Nebraska as realtors, teachers, nurses, or in occupations regulated by the Uniform Credentialing Act.