By John Lauritsen

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (WCCO) — A western Minnesota town will be the site of a much-needed veterans home.

Groundbreaking took place in Montevideo Monday morning. The project was 14 years in the making and it took an unlikely donation to help make it happen.

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(credit: CBS)

In the August sun, on the south side of town a crowd of mostly veterans celebrated a different kind of mission.

“Our mission was to have a home in our area for the veterans. So their families didn’t have to travel long distances to come and visit,” said Marv Garbe, chair of the Veteran Home Committee.

When the home opens in a year-and-a-half 72 beds will be available to those who put country before themselves.

“You can do all the things you want to do but if you don’t get the support it never happens,” said Garbe.

Donations were a big part of this project. One of the biggest contributions came from a Vietnam veteran who passed away before he could see it through.

“Veterans were a special place in his heart all the time,” said Jim Williams.

Williams’ brother Steve served in Vietnam. After the war he became a salesman who never married. So when Steve passed away in 2018 he made sure his fellow veterans were taken care of.

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“In his trust here he had six veterans groups that he had given money to,” said Jim. “I had no idea how much money he had or anything.”

Turns out, Steve was worth millions. His biggest donation of $3 million went to the Montevideo Veterans Home and helped push the project through.

“Marv said, ‘You can just write a check to the veterans home,’ and I said, ‘Well, it’s going to be a little bit more than that,'” said Jim.

“If it wouldn’t have been for Steve Williams’ bequest it would never have happened,” said Garbe.

And while he wishes his brother could see this, Jim knows his generosity will never be forgotten.

“Steve’s legacy of protecting his brothers and sisters and serving our country will live on. Welcome home brother,” said Jim.

The Steve Williams donation will help the Montevideo Veterans Home get a community room for events.

Chippewa County also donated $3 million to help make the project happen.

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Bemidji and Preston are other cities set to get veterans homes as well.

John Lauritsen