Minnesota Veteran - December

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Desk of the Commissioner - December

Commissioner Herke new

2022 Year in Review

Happy Holidays to you and yours! I hope this season brings time for you to gather with loved ones, enjoy some rest and relaxation, and look forward to the coming year.

I recently had the opportunity to reflect on the past year during an interview on Minnesota Military Radio where I was joined by Governor Tim Walz. Governor Walz, a Veteran himself, is a staunch supporter of our Veteran community and an advocate for ensuring that our Veterans receive the care and support they have earned.

The Governor and I shared some time together in service with the Minnesota Army National Guard. We were a good team then and make a good team now, with a commitment to serve Minnesota’s Veterans.


MDVA IT Project Recognized at Recent Conference


Minnesota Veterans are entitled to benefits they have earned. MDVA wants to make the process of applying for those benefits as easy as possible

The Veterans Application Tracking System (VATS) project was launched in July 2015 and is comprised of several phases that ultimately will create a single, modern application system, with a combined database, which will replace multiple legacy stand-alone systems. VATS created a number of processes to streamline Veterans’ interactions with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

In response to this success, the MDVA Programs and Services Division, along with our MNIT MDVA partners, was recognized with a “Golden GOVIT” award at the Fusion Learning Partners Government IT Symposium on December 8 for the recently completed VATS Claims phase. The VATS Claims project was selected as the winner from two other finalists in the “Service” category.


Holiday Wreaths Laid at State Veterans Cemeteries

holiday wreaths

On Saturday, Dec. 17, staff from the State Veterans Cemeteries in Little Falls, Duluth and Preston hosted holiday wreath placement events for the community. 2022 marked the return of in-person programming following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This annual Minnesota Department of Veterans (MDVA) event proudly honors Veterans’ service and sacrifice to this country and offers surviving family and friends the opportunity to connect with other survivors during what can be a profoundly lonely time of year. MDVA is dedicated to helping Veterans’ loved ones experience a sense of warmth, comfort and support at their final resting place. During the winter holidays, in particular, we work to create a special environment where meaningful, one-of-a-kind memories can be shared. This environment is enhanced by memorial wreaths that are placed on all headstones.


Support Our Troops License Plates Help Minnesota Veterans

Jewish war veterans

Meet SOT Grant Recipient: Jewish War Veterans

Did you know when you buy the “Support Our Troops” (SOT) License Plate, you are helping Minnesota Veterans and their families?

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) distributes funds raised by the sale of SOT license plates to numerous organizations that support Minnesota Veterans and their families. Learn more about the SOT grant program on our website.

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Veteran Service Organization was awarded a $81,760 Support Our Troops grant to assist establish a new JWV-MN Office Headquarters in St. Paul.


MDVA Employee Recognized by VA Secretary


As Veterans across Minnesota were recognized at local and the Official State of Minnesota event on Veterans Day November 11, one Veteran received national attention.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough recognized Galyn Minkel, Tribal Veteran Service Officer, at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA), in his remarks at the dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Galyn assists Native American Veterans in southwestern Minnesota and has worked for MDVA since 2009. He is based out of the Lower Sioux Community in which he is a member.

Congratulations, Galyn, on your recognition by Secretary McDonough and thank you for your service!


Minnesota Veterans Home - Bemidji Selects Administrator

Kevin Gish

Kevin Gish has been named Administrator for the Minnesota Veterans Home - Bemidji, which is scheduled to open in mid-2023.

Kevin brings more than 30 years’ administrative and operational experience in healthcare including positions with United Healthcare Corporation, North Memorial Medical Center, North Country Regional Hospital, Essentia Health and Health Dimensions Group. He most recently provided executive leadership of critical access hospital campuses including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and clinics. Kevin has been a Minnesota Licensed Nursing Home Administrator since 2011.


MDVA is Hiring

mdva is hiring

Interested in serving Veterans? Looking to make a difference in your community? Consider a career with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs! Roles in healthcare, nursing, facilities management and program management are featured below.

We proudly offer competitive pay, generous benefits as a State of MN employee, welcoming and supportive teams, and most importantly, meaningful careers.

To see full job posting and apply:
1. Go to https://mn.gov/mmb/careers/ and select your applicant type: External Applicants or Current Employees or Accessible Applicant Portal.
2. On the Careers landing page, enter the Job ID in the Search Jobs field. Click on the posting.
3. Select “Apply for Job” button. New users will need to create an applicant account to apply.