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New King veteran home leader

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs named Richard Mapes as the new Commandant of the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King on Friday. 

A new leader has been named for a Wisconsin veterans home dogged by concerns about inadequate resident care and poor building conditions.

Richard Mapes, a Detroit native with more than 20 years of experience as a senior living and retirement facilities administrator, will take over as the new commandant of the Veterans Home at King on March 19, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs said.

Mapes has been a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve for more than 30 years, the WDVA said.

He will oversee a King veterans home that has been criticized for resident neglect, low employee morale and staffing shortages.

“With more than three decades of military experience and a background in overseeing health care facilities, I realize the importance of our hundreds of staff members and the exceptional lengths they go to provide more than 650 veterans at our King home with around-the-clock care,” Mapes said.

Daniel Zimmerman, secretary of the WDVA, said Mapes’ industry and military experience will help him to effectively lead the state’s largest of three veterans homes.

“His business acumen and past accomplishments managing and advancing sizable senior living communities make him the perfect person to lead the King community,” he said. “I have no doubt that (Mapes’) forward thinking and experience will help us ... provide our nation’s heroes with the exceptional care and compassion they deserve.”

Jim Knight, the former commandant of the facility, was reassigned to another administrative role with the agency last March amid criticism of the home’s operations.

Concerns over the facility’s operations have also led to a state audit and federal review of the King home.

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