The VA wants to put a veterans clinic somewhere in Martin, Faribault, Waseca or Freeborn counties, and the city of Winnebago thinks they have the perfect solution.
Mankato just received a VA clinic of its own in 2011, and now the U.S. Veterans Administration is branching out farther – 35 miles south and to the west, Winnebago thinks they should be next.
Winnebago mayor Jeremiah Schutt says, "I personally know many people in Winnebago that are veterans and they get on a bus or van at 4 a.m., so they can get up to the cities to go to a doctor. It would be so handy to have a facility right here."
The community is advocating to Humana, the company that will manage the facility, to renovate its Patriot Assisted Living Center, already home to several veterans.
Linsey Warmka, executive director for the Faribault County Development Corporation says, "Humana is out there looking for what site is the best option. They're looking in all four counties. They'll pick one or two sites that they'll propose to the VA, and the VA will say 'yes, this one is funded'. Then they'll have 90 days to put it in, so it's a very aggressive timeline."
And if it's chosen, it will come with more than just better access for area veterans.
Schutt says, "They want to employ four doctors, plus all the staff that goes along with that, so this would be a really great opportunity for the city of Winnebago."