The veterans starting up Nebraska Veterans First say the name says it all. The mission of the new group, managed by veterans from across Buffalo, is to be there for their fellow veterans when the new Central Nebraska Veterans Home opens. The group is already raising funds and activating volunteers.

“The needs of our veterans are our top priority,” said president of the newly-formed veterans group, Dick Pierce. “We’re honored to do what it takes to serve the men and women who have done so much for all of us.”

Pierce encouraged supporters to visit the new Nebraska Veterans First website to volunteer, make donations and stay informed. Donations are coordinated through the Kearney Area Community Foundation at

Military retiree and NVF Vice President, Bob Harpst, spent 31 years with the Nebraska National Guard. He’s now volunteering for Nebraska Veterans First. He sees strong support across the veteran community in central Nebraska.

“Their needs come first and I think most veterans can come together around that.” Harpst added, “We want a new home that’s the best it can be, and we want to be prepared to support our veterans’ quality of life for many years.”

Organization leadership includes veteran representation from every branch of the military. Pierce, said the group plans to organize community benefits around healthcare, family and employee support and a volunteer network.

Many Nebraska Veterans First leaders participated in the original Project Honor committee that helped create the proposal to bring the new veterans’ home to Kearney. Their discussions about how to best support veterans in the new home began immediately after a state panel chose Kearney to host the new central Nebraska home.