"For years, veterans and service members getting treatment at a major VA hospital struggled to find an affordable and comfortable place to stay," said Col. (Ret.) Robert Siegert, chair of the PenFed Foundation board. "Now they'll have a brand new, handicapped-accessible hotel with state-of-the-art amenities. And the best part is it's free for them and their caregivers."
The new Defenders Lodge is expected to serve up to 20,000 veterans annually who travel each year to Palo Alto for treatment. Last year, thousands had to find temporary housing while getting care at the VA hospital, many coming from miles away.
To address this crisis, the PenFed Foundation volunteered as the primary sponsor of constructing the hotel, a $17 million initiative in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The foundation is working to raise $11 million in private donations to cover the cost of building the lodge. In 2010, PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) assisted with a $10 million low-interest loan to help get construction underway.
"For many of our nation's veterans, a good night's rest sometimes meant just getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep on an uncomfortable cot," added Siegert. "Now that they're back home, they deserve the best accommodations we can give them."
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