WDVA e-News January 2023


James Bond Secretary-designee photo 1.9.23

Governor Evers appoints James Bond to lead WDVA

Governor Tony Evers announced the appointment of James Bond to be the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, effective January 9, 2023. His appointment fills the vacancy left by the retirement of former Secretary Mary Kolar earlier this month. 

Secretary-designee Bond brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role as he has been with the department since 2010, most recently serving as Deputy Secretary, and previously as the Administrator of the Division of Benefits and Services. 

"I am excited to work together to further the impact of veteran-focused initiatives and programs here in Wisconsin," says Bond. "I look forward to continue the great work with my colleagues at WDVA, our veteran service organizations, and local partners to ensure our veterans and their families voices are heard and needs are met."

View the official release from the Governor's Office here

Veteran Valentines 2023

Veteran Valentines for WDVA Homes

Are you looking for a way to express your "heartfelt" appreciation for our veterans this Valentine's Day? WDVA is asking for caring individuals to send Valentine’s Day cards or letters of appreciation to our veterans living at our skilled care Homes in Chippewa Falls, King, and Union Grove.

“While it may seem like a small gesture, these small acts of kindness can really make a huge difference to those living in our Veterans Homes,” said Diane Lynch, Administrator of the Division of Homes at WDVA. “This is a wonderful opportunity to thank our veterans and their loved ones in our care.”

Please be sure to mail your Valentine’s Day cards to our veterans no later than February 10, so they may arrive in time to be distributed to all our Homes on February 14.

Please send to: Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Attn: Veteran Valentines, PO Box 7843, Madison, WI 53707-7843

Kolar picture bio image

WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar Retires

WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar retired effective on January 2, 2023.  Over the last four years, Kolar dedicated herself to improve veteran benefits, services, and opportunities in Wisconsin. 

She also chaired a special blue-ribbon commission created by Governor Evers to develop programs addressing challenges facing veterans in the state, including increased support and resources for mental health, housing, and substance use disorders.

“Mary has been with us since Day One and has always been a fierce advocate for Wisconsin’s more than 300,000 veterans,” Evers said regarding her retirement. “As a veteran herself, we have valued Mary’s insights and expertise to bolster supports and services to our nation’s heroes and their families.”

In an email to department staff, Kolar thanked all WDVA employees and said she plans to continue helping veterans.

“As my time as leader of this department comes to an end, please know that I am not saying 'Goodbye' but that I look forward to continuing to serve Wisconsin veterans and their families in different ways,” said Kolar  

Prior to joining Evers’ cabinet, Kolar was on the Dane County Board of Supervisors and previously served in the Navy for 28 years retiring at the rank of Captain.

WDVA sends our best wishes to Secretary Kolar in her retirement!


Chandler Miller VORP profile pic 1.24.23

VORP Spotlight:

Chandler Miller

Meet Chandler Miller, Program Supervisor for WDVA’s Veteran Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP). 

She coordinates the efforts of her fellow VORP outreach coordinators that help veterans living in the southern half of Wisconsin.

Chandler measures her professional success through her interactions with veterans in need of help. “I want to be part of the solution to filling those gaps in services so our state's veterans have equal and equitable access to mental health and substance use healthcare," says Chandler. 

Chandler has worked at WDVA in VORP for 4.5 years, beginning as a regional coordinator, and since 2021 as a program coordinator.

She is currently in her final semester of online grad school for her Masters of Social Work from University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Chandler is eager to put her new Master’s skills to task to better serve our veterans needs and gaps in service.

She finds her motivation in seeing her VORP colleagues connect with struggling veterans to reach their goals and live well.  

"VORP staff receive some extremely challenging cases. It's incredible to see how above and beyond our team goes to have that veteran's needs met so they are taken care of," says Chandler. "The dedication and passion VORP staff practice just fuels me to continue to advocate for them the way they do for their veterans."  

While Chandler is not a veteran, she has several generations of veterans in her family. She is honored to be an advocate for them. 

Chandler can be reached at: 608.957.5135, or Chandler.Miller@dva.wi.gov 

Benefits and Claims wdva

Veteran Benefits and Claims Assistance

Did you know Wisconsin has some fantastic benefits for veterans? WDVA works with all veterans who reside in the state to assist them in accessing their earned benefits, programs and services.

These benefits, programs and services are provided by the State of Wisconsin in order to supplement and complement those provided to veterans by the federal government.

​Learn more how you can access your earned benefits, or how to file a claim, by calling 1-800-WIS-VETS or wisvets.com.

Cemetery Caretakers ad WDVA

We Are Hiring - Join Our WDVA Team!

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is hiring for multiple career opportunities at all levels of our department - from administrative positions to our skilled care facilities. We are always looking for talented individuals to join our WDVA team near where you live! 

Our Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery is also looking to hire additional cemetery caretakers and have just increased starting pay for this role. 

Take a look at this opening and many other great opportunities for you to serve Wisconsin veterans. VIEW OPENINGS HERE!