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Showing posts tagged with Commissioner. Show all posts

Desk of the Commissioner - August

Posted on August 08, 2014 at 8:47 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoFor this month’s article I have decided to take a more serious tone as to the role we all played in caring for our Veterans. First of all, I congratulate the Veterans Service Organizations for successful conferences and their continuing work in caring for Veterans. In some cases, the attendance was lighter than desired, but the leadership ensured the organization continued going in the right direction.

I am extremely proud to play a small part in making Minnesota a better place for all Veterans.  And, as always, I am especially grateful to the auxiliaries for their work.  I have always considered them to be the rock upon which many organizations are built.

When talking about leadership, I often use the analogy of a book that I have read. The title of the book was “The Red Badge of Courage.” The story was about a young man during the Civil War.  During a battle he became frightened and ran.  In doing so, he fell hitting his head on a rock which caused it to bleed.  As the story goes he got connected to another unit and when they saw the blood stained bandage on his head they assumed he had been in battle.   Since they were fearful, they looked to him as a leader.  The story builds on how others trust in him helped him to overcome his fears and move on to be the leader they had envisioned.  



Desk of the Commissioner - July

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Tags: Commissioner, Families

Commissioner ShellitoI recently had the privilege of being a speaker at the inaugural dedication of what is to become the Minnesota Military Family Tribute (MMFT). This tribute is the brainchild of Bill and Teri Popp, strong supporters of Veterans in the State of Minnesota. Most people in the metro area know of Bill through his strong support of the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. His emphasis on the military, specifically the deployed service member and the needs of their family, have been a priority for him since the war on terror began.


Desk of the Commissioner - June

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoAs a Department we continue our mission of supporting Veterans and their families and this is done in part by building awareness in our communities of the sacrifice many of our state heroes have made.  This month commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I can’t help but reflect on the sacrifices our troops made during that war. Probably the most recent, mind imprinting, reflection on this most significant day was the opening portion of the movie “Saving Pvt. Ryan.” 


Desk of the Commissioner - May

Posted on May 05, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoMay has traditionally been an active month for the Veterans’ community. Memorial Day has always been sacred to the Veterans and the activities will be plentiful. I encourage everyone to take time this Memorial Day to honor the fallen. It is a somber day in many ways, but we, as a nation, must assuredly take the time to honor the fallen and their families and also reflect on the personal sacrifices made by many to ensure that our great nation is safe and secure.



Desk of the Commissioner - April

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoApril is the “Month of the Military Child.”  The focus is on the impact of extensive deployments placed on our military families.  While the focus is on the child, I want to focus specifically on the spouse.

Ever since 9/11/01 Minnesota has sent its sons and daughters to all corners of the world.  Minnesotans have responded through such avenues as the Beyond the Yellow Programs, random acts of kindness, and genuine concern.  The families have been resilient and collectively supported one another also during the trying times of deployments.



Desk of the Commissioner - March

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoIt is hard to believe March is already upon us. The State Legislative Session is in full swing, and this week the Commander’s Task Force held their annual Veterans Day on the Hill event.  This is a day when Veterans and families around the state unite on the issues that are most important in 2014.

I want to thank the Governor, the Legislature, and all our elected officials for their ongoing support of Veterans in this state. I am proud that Minnesota is one of the most Veteran-friendly states in the nation, but we cannot rest or become complacent. In fact, I believe that here at MDVA one of our greatest strengths is our ability to anticipate and encourage change. This willingness to find new and better ways to serve Minnesota Veterans and their families was evident over this last year as we provided relief to Veterans through special needs grants to help keep them in their homes, opened the nation’s second Veteran focused Adult Day Center, explored new ways of outreach, launched an award-winning website, and made education more accessible to the Veterans who need it most. This might sound like an impressive list, but I can assure you we still have more work to do!



Desk of the Commissioner - February

Posted on February 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Tags: Commissioner

Commissioner ShellitoFebruary is designated Black History Month, a month in which we reflect on the great contributions made by this community of heroes.  I want to especially thank someone who played a transformational role in my life.  Let me explain!

As a young, naive Lieutenant in Vietnam, I ‘commanded’ a five-man team of Advisors.  We lived with the Vietnamese and supported their Popular and Regional Forces.  One of my team members was named Hindu, an African American E7, Special Operations Forces qualified, Infantryman.  Being from Northern Minnesota, not an area known for diversity, my experience with African Americans was limited.  I was blessed to have gotten to know Hindu.  On evening nights when all was quiet, we would talk.  As time went on, Hindu would open up a little more and share some of his experiences as a young African American man growing up in Mississippi.  Not something we as a nation could be proud of!  Hindu taught me more during these evening talks than I ever would gain in a ‘diversity seminar.’  Thank you Hindu for being a part of my life, and I think of you as well as Mazz, Ketchum, and Bent!



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!”




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