Fresno Veterans' Home Groundbreaking

FRESNO, Calif. When Gov. /*Schwarzenegger*/ helped break ground on the new Fresno veterans' home, he helped start construction and end a decade of frustration.

Veterans had to fight for funding and struggle through a failed partnership with the Running Horse development before anything happened.

"No more Donalds," said /*Charlie Waters*/ of the Central California Veterans Home Foundation. "No more delays. No more dead horses. We're going ahead. Nothing's going to stop us."

An artist's rendering shows how the 27-acre property could eventually look. It'll be home to as many as 300 vets and it'll let them stay closer to their families. Until recently, the nearest veterans home was in Yountville, almost four hours from Fresno.

"A lot of times because families are so far away, visits are few and far between and so it means a lot," said Regina Uribes. Her 88-year-old father is an Army veteran who stays at the home in Yountville.

The Fresno veterans' home is scheduled to open in two years and to that end, they got started on construction even before the groundbreaking. I'm standing in a dirt trench right here that crews have dug out and up here is a stake that marks the spot where a residential hall will be built.

Gov. Schwarzenegger helped veterans push the state legislature for funding to build the $158 million home. The federal government is picking up more than 60% of the cost. But once it's done, the state will be responsible for 55% to 60% of operating costs.

Veterans say their political power will keep legislators from reducing their funding, and the governor says he'll follow up, even after his term is done next year.

"I will be coming here when this veterans' home is finished to make sure that you have great housing, that you have great meals, that you have a great gymnasium so you can pump up your bodies," he said. "Because you have to pump up your deltoids and your abs, calves and all those things."

More than 300,000 strong, Valley vets can finally see an end to their fight.

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