Organizers break ground on new veterans home in Butte

Organizers broke ground on the new Southwest Montana Veterans Home in Butte on Tuesday.

The $20 million home will house 60 veterans in five cottage-style units.

United Veterans Council commander Mike Lawson says there will also be a community center.

“It will be a veterans home-like experience for those that are sent there. That’s what we proposed to begin with,” Lawson said.

He tells NBC Montana the proposal has been in the works for 26 years.

“There was a lot of anticipation, a lot of disappointments along the way, but it finally happened. We’re here,” Lawson said.

The Veterans Health Administration reports that roughly one in 10 residents in Montana is a veteran.

The state currently only has two veterans homes — in Columbia Falls and Glendive.

Lawson credits legislators for finally getting southwest Montana on the list.

“Just look at the veterans that are here — they’re so enthusiastic and caring. It’s a good example of just who we are,” Lawson said.

Governor Steve Bullock and U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester also attended the event and made remarks to the audience.

“It’s heartwarming to see the community come together in anticipation of this facility finally becoming a reality for those who have so bravely fought for our country,” Bullock said. “Today – just days away from celebrating our country’s independence – is about so much more than breaking ground, it’s about recognizing all of the hard work veterans and Montanans put in to provide a welcoming home.”

“Montanans and Americans are tired of partisan politics and we came together today at a moment where it’s not Republicans or Democrats here, truly it’s Butte America,” Daines said. “This is a moment that we should be proud of as a community here in Butte for Southwest Montana, for the state of Montana and for the entire nation.”

“It’s a great day for Butte, it’s a great day for Southwestern Montana, it’s a great day for our veterans who have served this country. This is living up to the promises that we made them,” Tester said. “It was a joint effort, but it all started with the people of Butte.”

Lawson says construction is expected to be complete in fall 2020.