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From the Desk of the Commissioner - February

Posted on February 01, 2016 at 1:00 PM
Tags: Commissioner, Events

Commissioner Shellito 2015Activity at MDVA has been relatively quiet. Activity with the legislature and Governor’s office, for MDVA, has been relatively quiet also. The Minneapolis Veterans Home has been fully funded, and we are ready to begin construction on the third and final phase.
Our office activity has focused primarily in the area of key personnel moves. Brad Lindsay has been serving as Acting Deputy Commissioner of Programs and Services for the past year. He has recently accepted the official position of Deputy Commissioner. A win for Veterans and the agency!

We have also created a new position within the agency for a “Chief of Staff.” This has been filled by Mike McElhiney, who served as our Legislative Director for the past five years. Mike’s primary mission is to ensure all the key supporting functions – finance, personnel, etc. – are in sync in supporting our two separate divisions of Program and Services and the Veterans Homes.

Commissioner Shellito Meets With Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

Posted on January 05, 2016 at 8:52 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Croatian Visit

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito and his wife Evonne visited with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Croatian Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia General Drago Lovrić in St. Paul on Jan. 4. As part of her working visit to the U.S. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic also met with Governor Dayton and the Minnesota National Guard to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Minnesota-Croatia State Partnership Program.

From the Desk of the Commissioner - Year in Review

Posted on January 04, 2016 at 3:16 PM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner Shellito 2015As I was preparing this article, I reviewed our accomplishments for the past year and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of work the MDVA team has accomplished.  Our expansion into key areas such as the addition of a Women Veterans Coordinator has shown how we are addressing the issues that have impacted the ever-changing dynamics of our nation’s military.

Desk of the Commissioner - November

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 2:29 PM
Tags: Events, Commissioner

Commissioner Shellito 2015November has proven to be an exceptional month this year. Most significant was the Veterans Day celebration held in Inver Grove Heights. This event is the official State Veterans Day site and the event was the best attended I have seen for many years. The morning breakfast was great, the speakers were insightful, and the inclusion of elementary school youth singing the service songs and reading essays about Veterans made the day truly special. They all added a unique dimension to the importance and contributions our Veterans have made in the defense of our country. In short, I was very proud of what I experienced that day.

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.

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 - 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.

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.

Desk of the Commissioner - March

Posted on March 15, 2015 at 8:46 AM
Tags: Commissioner, Outreach

Commissioner Shellito 2015Ending Veteran homelessness has been a major focus area for MDVA. On the national level, nearly 500 cities and states have made a commitment to end Veteran homelessness. Minnesota is no exception: Governor Dayton and his Administration committed to this goal as part of Heading Home: Minnesota’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. In addition, 10 Mayors from around the state have also pledged to end Veteran homelessness this year.

Desk of the Commissioner - January

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 9:53 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner Larry ShellitoFour years ago I was given the honor of serving Veterans as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. This came after completing seven years as the states adjutant general during extensive mobilizations as our nation fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. The importance of caring for our Veterans was branded in my heart and mind as we sent a newer generation off to battle. It is with that preface that I feel proud of the accomplishments made by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs these past four years.

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