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Gov. Ricketts Hosts “Welcome Home” Picnic for Recently Discharged Service Members

Gov. Ricketts hosts service members at the Governor’s Residence for a ‘welcome home’ picnic.  (September 14, 2018) — Governor Ricketts hosted 45 recently discharged service members and their families at his residence for the 2018 Veterans Welcome Home picnic.  The event, in its third year, was co-hosted by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) along with the Nebraska 150 Commission 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 Governor 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.”

Nearly 20 veterans organizations were also at the event to share information on benefits for veterans and their family members, opportunities for veteran networking and organization membership, veteran employment programs, and other resources.

“These young men and women are Nebraska’s newest veterans,” said NDVA Director John Hilgert.  “Welcoming them back to Nebraska and connecting them with the individuals and organizations working to serve our state’s veterans is a great way to thank them for their service.”

Also in attendance was United States Under Secretary for Memorial Services Randy Reeves.

“I am deeply humbled to be able to join Governor Ricketts in honoring returning Nebraska veterans,” said Under Secretary Reeves.  “Nebraska has a long tradition of honoring and taking care of its veterans.  The programs Governor Ricketts, along with State Director of Veterans’ Affairs John Hilgert, has implemented will serve this state’s veterans and their families for years to come.  At the federal level, we have a responsibility to empower states and assist when needed.  Real veterans service takes place every day where veterans live.  Nebraska is a great example of that and we are proud partners in serving veterans and their families.”


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

  • Merging the 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 the NDVA.
  • Expanding the hiring preference in Nebraska to include spouses of service members.
  • Cutting red tape on a key property tax exemption for veterans if no change in medical condition has occurred.
  • Creating five additional Military Honor License Plates to recognize the service of members of the reserves of the armed forces.
  • Approving revisions to Rule 21, allowing military spouses to receive a three-year teaching permit in Nebraska with a valid out-of-state license.
  • Signing LB 88e (2017) into law, which authorized the Department of Health and Human Services to issue temporary licenses for occupations regulated under the Uniform Credentialing Act to military spouses.
  • Building a new state-of-the-art Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home, which will provide world-class accommodations to hundreds of Nebraska veterans.