After Decade-Long Effort by Tester, Southwest Montana Veterans Home Opens Doors
Was the only member of the Montana delegation to support new state-of-the-art facility
Following a decade-long push from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the new Southwest Montana Veterans Home today opened its doors to serve veterans in Butte and the surrounding area. Tester proudly joined Governor Steve Bullock and local officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in the summer of 2019.
“This is a great day and one that’s been a long time coming for Butte veterans who have waited for this state-of-the-art facility to finally open its doors,” said Tester. “I’m honored to have worked alongside folks in the Butte-Silver Bow community and in the state legislature every step of the way to get this project off the ground. It’s a testament to all of you that we kept pushing until Washington gave Butte the funding it needed to get veterans in southwest Montana the quality care and services they’ve earned.”
For years, Tester led the charge in Congress to secure this new, state-of-the-art veterans facility in Butte. A timeline of his efforts can be found below:
- Efforts to fund the project began about three decades ago, when veteran and former Montana Legislator Bob Pavlovich first proposed the idea for a Southwest Montana Veterans Home in 1993.
- In Congress, Tester fought to secure federal funding for the project by raising the issue directly with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in 2010.
- He then brought VA Secretary Robert McDonald to Montana in 2015 to hear directly from Butte officials about the critical need for a Veterans Home in southwest Montana.
- In 2017, as Vice-Chairman of the VA Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester successfully included an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Act to give rural states like Montana a fair shot at securing funding to build new Veterans Homes. He also introduced an amendment to provide funding for the Southwest Montana’s Veterans Home but that amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.
- On March 22, 2018, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Tester secured $9.7 million for construction of the Southwest Montana Veterans Home in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. He was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the bill.
- During the 2019 legislative session, former Governor Bullock supported-and the legislature passed-HB5 that provided $5 million as part of the Long-Range Building Program. This funding ensured the project could be fully funded.
- Tester joined Bullock, along with various local, state and federal officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Southwest Montana Veterans Home on July 2, 2019.
- Tester continued to work with local stakeholders and the federal government to ensure construction and regulatory entities were in communication for all permitting, approval processes, and sign offs needed for the opening of the facility.
The approximately $20 million facility is constructed on a 10-acre site on Blacktail Loop, just south of Mount Highland Drive, and includes five, 12-bedroom cottages along with a community center building and will have room for 60 veterans. The new facility offers many services for its residents, including an activities program, spiritual resources, support groups, and social services. Rehab services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and dietitian services are also available.