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Desk of the Commissioner - January

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoGreetings to all as we enter a new year . . . a year that is looking to be a ‘watershed’ year for Minnesota Veterans all across the state.

As many of you are aware, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has two Divisions.  First is Programs and Services with the mission of providing services to Veterans living in Minnesota.  Key elements include administration of Education Benefits (GI Bill), Housing and Homelessness issues, Claims and Benefits, Veterans Preferences, our Special Assistance Program and personal counseling among others.  The work done through this department, in support of County Veterans Service Offices and the Federal Veterans Administration provides that extra boost in ensuring a higher quality of life for many of our Veterans.

Desk of the Commissioner - December

Posted on December 07, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoThe activities of our office have increased as the weather turns colder.  Several key events occurred recently that contributed to the increase.  First was our open house and ribbon cutting for the remodeled claims office at the St. Paul Claims Office in the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building.  The renovations were long awaited and the open house was well attended.  The new facilities will enable our staff to serve Veterans more effectively.  I also thank the leadership at the Whipple Building for their support during the extensive remodeling period.  I am proud of the partnership our agency has with the Federal VA staff. Another event was the groundbreaking for a new State Veterans Cemetery in Southeastern Minnesota. The 169-acre site was donated by Fillmore County and is located just off Highway 52 in Preston, Minn. Often burial is the only benefit Veterans claim and we are pleased to expand burial service to Veterans in Southeastern Minnesota.

Desk of the Commissioner - November

Posted on November 04, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoThe 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!”

Desk of the Commissioner - October

Posted on October 03, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Tags: Commissioner, Events

Commissioner ShellitoIf 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.

Desk of the Commissioner - September

Posted on September 05, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoAnother 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.

Desk of the Commissioner - August

Posted on August 01, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoAugust has arrived... the days are getting shorter, nights somewhat cooler and the kids are starting to think about returning to school. All of this gives meaning to the phrase “the Circle of Life!”

For us at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs it also means starting to get ready for the next legislative session. Last year’s session helped the Department reposition itself in order to better serve Minnesota’s Veterans and their families, whether that be through our staff or the County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) grants or supporting our Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s).

Desk of the Commissioner - July

Posted on July 01, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoWith the legislative session over and summer weather arriving, the activities in the office have been much quieter . . . still busy . . . but quieter!!

The end of the budget year of the biennium is complete and has kept us focused . . . not only on what was completed but also in preparation for the bonding cycle. Key activities include working with State and Federal leadership on the future of our Veterans Homes in Minnesota as well as positioning the Department for the future in the areas of technology, personnel, and, most importantly, better ways to meet the needs of Minnesota Veterans.

Desk of the Commissioner - June

Posted on June 05, 2013 at 8:36 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner Shellito.jpgThis month I will focus on the “Thank You’s” that are past due to our Veteran Leadership across the great state of Minnesota!

First…to all those who worked hard to insure that Memorial Day was focused on its true purpose… honoring our fallen heroes. The ceremonies, media interactions, and expressions of our caring and honor were focused on the day’s true meaning. Thank you for your hard work and detailed planning.

Second…I want to thank our Commanders’ Task Force for their leadership this past legislative session. Collectively the Commanders forged a solid legislative agenda; monitored it consistently; and in the final hours worked both within and outside our agency to insure their goals were properly vetted, with the key goal of seeing the completion of the Minneapolis Veterans Home properly funded.

Desk of the Commissioner - May

Posted on May 01, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Tags: Commissioner, Events

Commissioner ShellitoAcross the generations – and across the centuries – Americans have answered the call to duty and many paid the ultimate price.  Memorial Day is a time to honor the memory and service of all Veterans and military who have given their lives in the service of this country. No greater sacrifice could ever be asked of an individual. The service of these Veterans has impacted the life of every single citizen of this great nation. It is for that sacrifice that I salute my fallen comrades.

There is no observance in America more somber than Memorial Day.  In events held across America this Memorial Day weekend, people will gather in small towns and big cities for one purpose: to remember our fallen, pay homage to their sacrifice and courage, and to recognize the selflessness of military service.

Desk of the Commissioner - April

Posted on April 01, 2013 at 8:15 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoOn Sunday, March 24th, I attended a Vietnam Veterans recognition event in Forest Lake, Minnesota.  This was their 6th annual event and very well done!  It was especially moving when the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran spoke.  Her father had died and Agent Orange was believed to be the contributing factor in his illnesses.  It was this example of a daughter’s love that magnified the impact our Veterans have on their immediate and greater families.  Veterans are a key part in the foundational structure of our society – the family unit!  Our goals in caring for Veterans must include their spouses and children.

During the month of April, the State of Minnesota will recognize the Military Child.  The goal is to emphasize the important role military children, regardless of age, play while a parent or important adult is serving or has served.  The children of service members sacrifice a great deal when their parent is deployed or are suffering from the impact of their service.

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