Prayer Vigil Planned for Grand Island Veterans Home


Saying he doesn't know what else to do, a Grand Island funeral director says he's asking a "higher power" to intervene in the move of the Grand Island Veterans Home.

Dan Naranjo of All Faiths Funeral Home is planning a prayer vigil for the evening of Sunday, March 30. The event will start at 6:00 p.m. at the Hall County Veterans Memorial Park at 1914 West Capital Avenue in Grand Island.

From there, Naranjo plans what he calls a "peaceful march" to the home, where they will release 127 balloons, one for every year the home has been in Grand Island.

Following that, they will continue to the veterans cemetery, where they will light 1,400 candles in honor of the soldiers that lay in rest at the site.

"The reason is, we don't know what to do," Naranjo said.

"We're isolated" in Grand Island, he explained. He feels the rest of the state doesn't understand the situation, and why the community has been trying to block the move of the home to Kearney.

Kearney scored highest, as a site selection team visited several communities. Gov. Dave Heineman has encouraged Grand Island to drop its appeals, and accept the decision.

Naranjo said it's more than moving a structure, but moving a home, and that's why he said, "We need to stand up."

Naranjo said he has been following the situation every since caregivers at the home came to him, concerned about the move. He also followed as lawmakers rejected a proposal to re-visit Gov. Heineman's decision.

He said the March 30 vigil is not a political event, but a "prayerful march."

He said in his own life, when he doesn't know what else to do, "I turn to a higher power."

Mayor Jay Vavricek is supporting the event. The city council will recognize the prayer walk at its next meeting.