Minnesota Veteran - July Edition

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A Woodshop for Veterans

Jacob Franklin

Veterans Woodshop

Upon entering the Hastings Veterans Home woodshop, one is greeted with the strong aroma of freshly cut wood accompanied with the consistent clamor of men hard at work. Mike Kriel, the Woodshop Coordinator, steps proudly into the room and states with a smile, “Welcome to my playground.”

Established in 1993, the self-sustaining woodshop specializes in creating handmade flag and memorabilia cases. These cases include custom engraved name plates, felt interior, and a glossy Tung Oil finish. Customers can chose between solid oak and walnut, and also have the option of personalizing the glass etching. A United States map hanging in the corner of the shop is covered in tacks, representing the different locations the shop has shipped merchandise to. Kriel explains that just three months ago they accomplished their goal of shipping to all 50 states. Great Britain, Germany, and Afghanistan are just a few of the countries they have shipped to internationally. 

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Desk of the Commissioner - July

Commissioner Shellito

I 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.

The Family Tribute is the next major project and will be located on the Capitol grounds here in St. Paul. The design consists of walkways, trees, and spots to reflect on the service of Minnesotans. The intent centers on a common phrase “when you deploy a service member, you also deploy their family.”

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Groundbreaking for Homeless Veteran Housing


CommonBond Communities, the Midwest’s largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing, recently held a ceremonial groundbreaking event for new Fort Snelling development project. On May 29 the organization invited distinguished guests to celebrate the restoration and construction of a new affordable housing community for Veterans and their families experiencing homelessness. The development project will transform five historic structures into 58 new apartments on the Fort Snelling Upper Post.

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Veteran Legislative Resources

As the state’s primary source of Veteran resources, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has become a go-to source for Veteran news and information. Our team is constantly striving to provide Veterans with the resources they need to make informed decisions. The MDVA legislative team has created a series of tools meant to be an informative and educational resource for staying up-to-date on the constantly changing Veteran-specific laws and policies. These tools are evolving from month to month, and will continue to be improved, as we work toward the goal of better serving our heroes. Below is a short summary of the tools we currently offer.

Congressional Corner

  • The Congressional Corner is a channel that highlights the press releases and statements from MN’s Senators and Representatives.  Releases come directly from the offices of those involved.
  • The Corner serves as an educational resource for constituents, as well as a reference for stakeholders and those in policy roles.

Legislative Updates & Bill Tracker

  • Legislative Updates provide weekly state and federal news summaries in order to highlight the events of that week. These include news stories or legislative activity updates.
  • State and Federal bill trackers carefully follow the process of legislation in detail. Bills are broken down in detail and tracked by both author and cosponsor.

Reports and Statistics tool

  • This powerful set of analytic tools is easily accessible and available to anyone. Users have the ability to create maps, graphs, charts, and even export data for further use.  Data is updated annually from Federal VA numbers.
  • Tools recently updated with additional data.

Minnesota Veterans Career Fair 2014

Veterans Career Fair

On Wednesday July 9, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) hosted Minnesota’s 8th annual Veterans Career Fair at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center.  As the largest Veterans career fair in Minnesota, this event was made possible through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and various corporate sponsors and service providers.

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