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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.

Landlords Encouraged to Join Homeless Veteran Registry

Posted on April 17, 2015 at 7:53 AM

Veteran-Homeless-FamilyLandlords across Minnesota are needed in the push to end Veteran homelessness. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) recently announced the launch of the Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry. This effort was the result of a strong partnership with Governor Mark Dayton’s Cabinet-level Interagency Council on Homelessness and in support of Heading Home: Minnesota’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Minnesota Month of the Military Child 2015

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 8:12 AM
Tags: Events, Families


In April, Minnesotans across the state celebrate the “Month of the Military Child.” It is estimated that over 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by a parent’s deployment. In recognition of their sacrifice, we take the time to celebrate children of Service Members and Veterans during this month. This celebration was created by former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986 to highlight the important role that military-connected youth play.

As Governor Dayton declared April 2015 to be the “Month of the Military Child,” there are a number of opportunities for children of Service Members and Veterans in Minnesota to be recognized.

Desk of the Commissioner - April

Posted on April 08, 2015 at 9:06 AM
Tags: Commissioner, Events, Families

Commissioner Shellito 2015The Minnesota Military Family Tribute (MMFT) is nearing completion on the State’s Capitol Mall here in St. Paul. This project, which is a special tribute dedicated to the families of members of our military past and present, has been over three years from conception, fundraising, design, and construction.  A brainchild of Bill and Teri Popp, this tribute recognizes all those behind the scenes - the spouses, children, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and all others who, through emotional ties, were there with their loved one as they were away from home in service to their country.

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