Since 1915 Native American Heritage has been publicly recognized. Since the turn of the century November has been declared Native American Heritage Month. It is important to recognize the rich heritage and contributions of Native Americans to the service to our Nations military.
In 2007 Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council to create an outreach program to ensure Native American Veterans are provided professional assistance and advocacy. The Tribal Veteran Service Officer (TVSO) Division has worked since its beginning to provide services including Representation to the Federal VA and the submission of local and State benefits applications on behalf of Native Americans throughout the State of Minnesota.
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is Veterans Day! The date was chosen to commemorate World War I, which ended on November 11, 1918. It was officially established by Congress on June 4, 1926 as Armistice Day. The word Armistice was later replaced with the word Veteran. The purpose of Veterans Day and Memorial Day are often confused. Memorial Day is for honoring military personnel who died in service to their country. Veterans Day is for thanking all men and women who have served honorably in the military during times of war and peace.
To all Veterans – “Thank you for your service!”
On Saturday, October 12, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Women Veterans of Minnesota hosted the Women Veterans Fall Luncheon at the Ft. Snelling Officers Club. There were 64 women Veterans in attendance, representing each branch and all eras of service from World War II to the current conflicts. Honored guests at this annual event included 12 WWII women Veterans. One of the highlights from the luncheon was listening to the WWII Veterans share a short story about their service.
Many people recognize November 11 as a day to honor and support those who fought, and continue to fight to protect our freedom. While nearly everyone observes this holiday, very few people know exactly where Veterans Day originated from. Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, marked the end of World War I due to an “armistice” on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The holiday continued to be known and celebrated as this, until 1954 when the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice,” with the word “Veterans.” By doing so, they were able to expand the holiday to honor all Veterans of all wars, not just those of World War I. From that day forward November 11 has been recognized nationally as Veterans Day.
On Saturday Sept. 28, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Upper Midwest Emmys honored Luke Heikkila from Twin Cities Public Television, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Minnesota National Guard with the 2013 Board of Governors award. Over the last seven years this partnership has showcased the bravery, sacrifice and service of our Veterans and Military, including the documentaries "Home and Hope" and "Home for Heroes." On behalf of Veterans across the state and nation, thank you to Luke and the TPT team for your dedication to the Veterans story here in Minnesota.
“Home for Heroes” is a documentary which gives viewers a rare look at the five Minnesota Veterans Homes. Minnesota has a large population of aging Veterans; therefore the MDVA is committed to finding new and innovative ways, like this video, to raise awareness of our Veterans Homes and the services we offer to eligible Veterans and their families.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the Minnesota Military Radio show yet, I encourage you to do so! Starting out by broadcasting on one station, Tom Lyons, show host and creator, has steadily built a statewide network of stations across Minnesota. Tom brings in guests and ‘subject matter experts’ to talk about all things Veteran. Recently Tom was at the County Veterans Service Officers statewide conference to tape the show. And, as the entrepreneur that he is, he encourages those who don’t have the show aired in their area to contact local stations to see if they would like to do so. There is no cost to air the show and, yes, they can insert local advertising to compensate for the ‘air time.’ Check with your CVSO or local station to determine interest and visit the show's website. Also – be sure to listen to a special live recording of Minnesota Military Radio on Veterans Day live from the State ceremony in Inver Grove Heights on Twin Cities News/Talk AM 1130.
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces volunteer to serve our country and protect the freedoms we hold dear. They endure extreme hardships, leave their families and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice. If they’re willing to do all this, shouldn’t we be willing to show our support?
A member of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) team recently received the “Community Heroes Award” from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Minnesota. The recipient, Mike McElhiney, is a combat-wounded Army Veteran with more than 21 years of service. The award was presented at the DAV event which recognized and celebrated the Twin Cities’ Community of Heroes sm. The DAV recognized McElhiney for his service alongside two community business leaders.
Marc Burgess (right) DAV CEO and National Adjutant presents “Community Heroes Award” to Mike McElhiney.
Another exciting announcement; MDVA has been selected as recipient of the 2013 Board of Governor’s Emmy Award. This award was submitted in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard and Twin Cities Public Television for a body of work that spans more than six years. For MDVA this included the documentary programs “Home & Hope” and “Home for Heroes.” MDVA, along with the Minnesota National Guard and TPT, will be recognized with the "Governor's Award for Community and Broadcast Partnership” at the Midwest Emmy awards gala in late September.
For Veterans in Hubbard County looking for a way to get to their medical appointments, they need look no further. The Hubbard County Veterans Services Office and the Heartland Express transit program have teamed up to create a Veterans Transportation Service. This service allows Veterans without transportation to get to and from their VA medical appointments. This service is free and available to all Hubbard County Veterans unless they qualify for travel reimbursement from the VA. In that case the county requires Veterans to turn that funding into their driver or the county. The transportation will take the Veterans to any medical appointments within the area, including dental appointments.