Vets’ Home steering committee reacts to Illinois budget

The Illinois Veterans’ Home steering committee Saturday praised lawmakers passage of the Illinois’ budget, which includes $53 million dollars for the facility.

Former home administrator and Vietnam War veteran Ron Frillman said the care provided at the home in Quincy can not be duplicated.

"They’re cared for 24/7," Frillman said. "That staff out there during my time and currently now is second to none. I think that’s what impressed everybody when they came here. They were expecting people to be really slackers and there ain’t no slackers there." 

The plan to build a new Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy calls for more than $200 million dollars. Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said this year’s budget is an important first step.

"What this does is help for the renovation of Sycamore Health Care which can be used as a temporary facility while there is construction at the Illinois Veterans’ Home." Moore said.

The steering committee said the passage of the funding shows the commitment from officials at both the state and federal levels. They said it wasn’t long ago that there were talks about shutting this place down.

"Now, not only are we going to get our pipes replaced, which was our original goal, we are going to get a state of the art facility and a quarter of a billion dollar public works project which will have a huge economic impact. So we’ve gone from worst to first," steering committee member Chuck Scholz said.

And Frillman said there’s still a lot of work to be done.

"If I had a desire out of all of this, I would love to see the domissaries be converted into homeless veteran facilities. So that homeless vets throughout the state would have somewhere to go, somewhere to be a part of and be someone that’s taken care of." Frillman said.

The budget awaits Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature. He is expected to officially sign it into law on Monday.

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