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Desk of the Commissioner - September

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 11:37 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner Shellito 2015September held the Veterans Voices recognition awards banquet.  Veterans Voices is a program in which the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs partner to recognize Veterans within our community.  Every Veteran has a story to tell and the program’s goal is to encourage them to tell their story of their service to our great nation. The program was well attended and provided all with outstanding examples of Veterans who are making a difference in their communities.

The Higher Education Veterans Program

Posted on September 28, 2015 at 8:48 AM
Tags: Benefits, Higher Education, Programs

The Higher Education Veterans Program (HEVP) coordinators had a busy summer preparing for the new school year.  Prospective and returning students were greeted by MDVA staff at campus registration sessions, career fairs, reintegration events, and the Minnesota State Fair. We used these events to connect Veterans, current military and family members with higher education and their benefits.  As the semester started, staff have attended orientation meetings, move-in/family day and campus open house events.  Coordinators are busy planning and executing Welcome Back and Veterans’ Day events in their respective campus Veterans Centers.  We continue to assist campus Veterans Clubs with event planning.

Desk of the Commissioner - August

Posted on August 27, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Commissioner Shellito 2015The Minnesota State Fair, often referred to as ‘The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is here. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is working with our Veterans Service Organizations to ensure that we have our information booths available to answer Veterans and their family’s questions and concerns. Along with MDVA, the Veterans Service Organizations will also have information booths staffed. The booths will be at the “usual” location which is the south side of the 4-H building.

Desk of the Commissioner - July

Posted on July 29, 2015 at 8:58 AM
Tags: Commissioner, State Veterans Cemetery, Events

July was an active month beginning with Honoring Veteran Day at Target Field.  As guests of the Minnesota Twins, the nine Veteran Service Organizations in Minnesota were asked to have their leadership occupy the various positions on the field. With the bases covered, the sidelines were filled with military re-enactors in full wool uniforms, currently serving military and the National Guard unfolding the American flag for the national anthem.  To top it off, a flyover by World War II era planes brought the stadium to its feet.  It was an environment that excited all.  One could sense the pride of all the Veterans assembled, whether they were on the field or in the stands. I personally want to thank the Minnesota Twins organization for their inclusion of our Veterans as a part of their Fourth of July celebration, and in particular honoring the Veterans who served this great country.

Photo by  Staff Sgt. Patrick Loch, Minnesota National Guard.

Photo by Tech Sgt. Paul Santikko. 

Desk of the Commissioner - June

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 9:47 AM

Commissioner Shellito 2015With the legislative session over, and activity around the capitol quiet, I thought that now would be a good time to settle back and enjoy the Minnesota summer. My wife however, reminded me on Father’s Day, that it was also the point in time in which days will start getting shorter.  I’m not sure why, but for some reason I found that somewhat depressing.


Posted on June 01, 2015 at 9:47 AM
Author: Annie McCahery - MDVA Tags: General

PetsLoyal2VetspicPetsLoyal2Vets is a Veteran-run, nonprofit, outreach organization which connects therapy and companion dogs with U.S. military Veterans suffering from service related traumas.

PetsLoyal2Vets says that their mission is, “to connect disabled Minnesota Military Veterans diagnosed and treated for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), or physical assault traumas with specially trained companion, therapy, and psychiatric service dogs.” The organization partners with supporting animal shelters, breeders, and rescue organizations at no cost to the Veteran.

WWII Veteran Presented Honorary Doctorate Degree

Posted on May 25, 2015 at 10:30 AM
Author: Annie McCahery - MDVA

Harold Gifford

WWII Veteran Harold “Giff” Gifford, received an honorary degree and delivered the commencement speech at the Dakota County Technical College graduation ceremony on May 15, 2015.

Gifford’s commencement speech highlighted all of the moments in his life which have brought him to this point. He spoke fondly of the Air Force, his family, and his pilot career. As he received his honorary degree from Interim College President Tim Wynes, he beamed with pride while the audience erupted in a standing ovation for him.

Desk of the Commissioner - May

Posted on May 19, 2015 at 2:20 PM
Tags: Commissioner, Families, Events

Commissioner Shellito 2015Memorial Day is fast approaching and I have been given the special honor of delivering the keynote address at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery Memorial Day event. The Fort Snelling remembrance has always been a key event within Minnesota.  As I prepare my comments, I am filled with a flood of memories, both good and sad. From my experiences while deployed to Vietnam as a young Infantryman – to my responsibility as Adjutant General in deploying young men and women to Afghanistan and Iraq, I am reminded that Minnesota is truly blessed to have a generation of citizen-soldiers willing to answer our nation’s call to service.

An Inside Look at the MDVA Women Veterans and Gold Star Families Programs

Posted on May 04, 2015 at 10:29 AM
Author: Annie McCahery - MDVA Tags: Families, Women Veterans, Programs, Benefits, Events

Minnesota National Guard Veteran, Ashley Laganiere, recently became the Gold Star Family and Women Veterans Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

The mission of the Minnesota Women Veterans Program is to ensure women Veterans have equal access to federal and state benefits and services. The program responds to gender specific needs of women Veterans and ensures that women Veterans are treated with dignity and respect. It is also geared towards offering the appropriate benefits and services needed for women, primarily in healthcare.

Redesigning Processes to Build a Safer Place to Live and Work

Posted on April 20, 2015 at 9:02 AM
Tags: Health Care, Silver Bay Veterans Home, General

From the Minnesota Office of Continuous Improvement April Newsletter


The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) has reduced employee and resident safety incidents at its Silver Bay Veterans Home, thanks in large part to a number of recently implemented process improvements. Employees at the Silver Bay home used Kaizen, Lean, and Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) processes to guide their improvement efforts. By creating and redesigning various standards, review processes, and programs they are building the home into a safer place to live and work.

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