Serving Veterans in the Commonwealth

Commissioner Henry July 2014.jpgThat is our mission, our job, and our privilege. We work every day to make sure Kentucky's 339,000 veterans and their families receive all the benefits and services they have earned. Here you will find information on benefits counseling, skilled long-term care at state veterans centers, dignified interment at state veterans cemeteries health care, education, employment and special programs for women veterans, homeless veterans and others.Commissioner Heather French Henry

WWII Woman Veteran Entered Army on a Dare

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Helen Horlacher Evans was teaching home economics at Versailles High School when the United States joined the Allies in World War II. On a dare, she applied to the newly created Women’s Army Corps Officer Candidate School and was accepted.

As the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs highlights the military service of Kentucky women in its Year of the Woman Veteran, KDVA asked the 95-year-old Lexington resident to share her story.
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Read the rest here.




Traveling Vietnam Wall at Horse Park

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Governor Steve Beshear spoke at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m.  TheTraveling Wall was open open 24/7 from noon on Thursday, July 9 through 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 12. 

Pictures of the Women Veterans Remembered Event Saturday

Pictures of the Wall arriving at the Horse Park

Pictures of volunteers installing the Wall at the Horse Park

Pictures of Opening Ceremony

Press release




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KY Woman Veteran of WWII, 95, Throws Out First Pitch

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Margaret Mary Somers Ballard was the star of the Legend Legends pre-game on Saturday, June 13.  The World War II Army Air Corps veteran cared for wounded soldiers being flown from the European battlefields to England and the U.S. The mother of eight and grandmother of 16 still lives on her own and exercises every day.


Read the story here
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Picture gallery here.

More pictures here.


KY Women Veterans Unite! 2015

2015 is the Year of the Woman Veteran

Women Veterans on Honor Flight May 16

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The June 6, 2015 Honor Flight of the Bluegrass included several Kentucky women veterans, including two veterans of World War II.

From Chris Kenning's story in the Courier-Journal:

That changed last Saturday, when the now 94-year-old Horecny became one of two female World War II veterans on an "honor flight" put on by a nonprofit that takes aging vets to the war memorials in Washington, D.C., where they were met with crowds of thankful supporters.

All day long, strangers — thrilled to see several women among the mostly male veterans — jostled to shake Horecny's hand, thank her and hear her story. Among fellow veterans in wheelchairs, stories came tumbling out. Arriving back at the Louisville airport, she waded through a cheering crowd of more than 500 people, her face beaming with pride.

Read the rest of the story and see more pictures here.


Women Veterans Day at Thurby

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 was the first Women Veterans Day on Thurby at Churchill Downs. 

Pictured in front are Lindsay Gargotto, Kentucky Woman Veteran of the Year and founder of Athena's Sisters, KDVA Commissioner Henry and new Women Veterans Coordinator LuWanda Knuckles.

During Thurby, Commissioner Henry presented a check for $5,000 from the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund to Ms. Gargott to support programs by Athena Sisters to help women veterans.

Thurby Interview on WDRB


WKYT News on Year of the Woman Veteran

WDRB News on Year of the Woman Veteran


The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) will spotlight Kentucky’s 33,000 women veterans throughout 2015, which Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed the Year of the Woman Veteran in Kentucky.


50th Vietnam War Anniversary Commemoration

KDVA honors all veterans every day, but for the next 10 years we will be focusing on Vietnam War veterans. Decades after they came home to no parades, no recognition and no thanks, Congress has declared the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration.

Here in the Commonwealth we have approximately 116,000 Vietnam Veterans. About 8,000 of those are women. About 8,000 are African-American or Hispanic. They live and work in all 120 counties. They, like many groups of veterans we have honored, are worthy of the national 12-year-long Commemoration.

The purpose of the Commemoration is to recognize, honor and thank the Vietnam veterans in our communities.

Photos from Kentucky's Commemoration Event

Get directions to the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Two Ways to Stay Informed:


Sign up for text alerts.  We send these no more than two or three times per week, always to call attention to imminent events of interest to veterans.  Text Follow kyveterans to 40404.

Join the KDVA listserve. We send no more than two or three emails per day about events and issues importatnt to veterans. If you wish to be added to the listserve, please email lisa.aug@ky.gov.


Show Your Support

Purchase an I Support Veterans license plate
Purchase an  I Support Veterans License Plate

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​News & Events



Become a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner 
Join more than 100 Kentucky communities and organizations.
Find out how your town, country, group, business or club can honor local Vietnam Veterans and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Highway to Healing Poker Run Fundraiser for Athena's Sisters [PDF 885 KB]
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Louisville.

Veterans Appreciation Picnic and Military Appreciation Day
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore.

VetStart Entrepreneurship Grants Now Available [PDF 390 KB]
Application Deadline Friday, August 14. Classes Start Sept. 3 at University of Louisville.

Paducah Memorabilia Needed for Honoring Those Who Serve Exhibits [PDF 256 KB]
Quilt Exhibits August 20, 2015 through February 12, 2015 in Paducah.

Military Sunday at the Kentucky State Fair [PDF 833 KB]
Sunday, August 23, 2015

Honor Women Veterans on Women's Equality Day
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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24-Hour VA Crisis Hotline

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Recent Events

Honoring Jewish War Veterans

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Commissioner Henry, Col. Mike Feunfer, General Rubenstein, Congressman Yarmuth honoring Jewish War Veterans in Louisville May 31.

Honor Flight

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Commissioner Henry, Rep. Ed Whitfield and Veteran William Dixon at the World War II Memorial with Kentucky veterans on the July 6 Honor Flight.

Memorial Day

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KDVA Counsel Dennis Shepherd was the guest speaker at Richmond City Cemetery.

Hooray for Heroes/Traveling Wall in Radcliff

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KDVA Commissioner and staff were in Radcliff for the Dedication and to recognize, honor and thank Vietnam Veterans.

More pictures here.

Luncheon with an Admiral

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KDVA Deputy Commissioner Margaret Plattner with VADM Robin Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Force.  VADM Braun is the first woman to lead any Reserve Component of the U. S. military.  She is in Louisville as the featured speaker for the Armed Forces Dinner, May 15, 2015.

Hopkinsville Visit

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Staff of Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West presented Commissioner Henry with an original painting of the cemetery by a local artist.

National Commander Tours Radcliff Veterans Center Construction Site
 
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KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry welcomed American Legion National Commander Michael Helm to the under-construction Radcliff Veterans Center.
 
Helm and others toured the site as part of a visit to Fort Knox.
 

THVC Women Veterans Get Pinned

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THVC Administrator Ben Sweger saluted Veteran June Dumas and other women veterans after Asst. Administrator Sue Poppelwell presented special Woman Veteran pins to each of them.

More photos

Military Appreciation Day at Keeneland April 19

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Commissioner Henry and Women Veterans Coordinator LuWanda Knuckles with women military members.

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Commissioner Henry with Vietnam Veteran J.R. Decker. View More Photos.

Women Veterans Conference
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On April 11, more than 100 Kentucky Women Veterans attended an all-day conference in Louisville focused exclusively on the experiences of women veterans and benefits and services available to them.

More Photos from Women Veterans Conference

Navy Reserve Centennial Celebration and Women's History Month at Naval Operations Support Command in Louisville March 14

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CAPT Stephen Fitzgerald, KDVA Deputy Commissioner Margaret Plattner, Master Chief Michael Angeline, Robin Jones of USDVA and Lindsay Gargatto of Athena Sisters
 

POW/MIA Annual Meeting

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KDVA attorney Dennis Shepherd spoke at the POW/MIA Annual Meeting March 13.

Ladies Spa Day at THVC

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Commissioner Henry applied makeup to veteran Inez Wilson.

See more pictures here

KDVA's Veterans Centers Go Red for Women's Hearts. 

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See more pictures here

Commissioner Henry Testifies Before KY House Committee on Veterans' Bill


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From the Ashland Daily Independent:  


Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dennis Pearl Harbor.jpg KDVA General Counsel Dennis Shepherd, seated at right, read Gov. Besehar's Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Proclamation at the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Association​ in Lexington.

Read the Proclamation here
Veteran's Day Message from Governor Beshear
View here
A New Name for the Memorial

Two days of heavy clouds cleared twice on Nov. 7, just for a minute, each time at the exact moment Andrew E. Futrell revealed the finished engraving of the name John R. Jones, the 1,104th Kentucky casualty of the Vietnam War to be added to the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort.

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Heroes Day at UK Football Game
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KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry appeared at the UK-ULM game on October 11 to announce the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration that recognizes, thanks and honors Kentucky's 116,000 Vietnam Veterans. She was accompanied by Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Dennis Shepherd, Darrel Martin and Don Helton.

Read the press release here. [PDF 123 KB]
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