Serving Veterans in the Commonwealth

That is our mission, our job, and our privilege. We work every day to make sure Kentucky's 304,000 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. 


 WWI Logo.jpg Spotlight:  Independence Day

There’s a scene in the mini-series John Adams in which Second Continental Congress President John Hancock reads aloud a letter from King George III responding to the colonists’ request for full representation and relief from military occupation. 


The letter did not just reject those requests; it stated clearly that any and all colonists who did not submit to British rule would be considered traitors and subject to execution.


That threat is probably the source of Benjamin Franklin’s warning “We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately,” as well as the closing sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” 


That wasn’t boilerplate. By declaring their independence from the greatest military power on the planet, they knew they were putting everything – even their lives - in jeopardy.


The courage, audacity and determination it took to sign the Declaration on that broiling hot day in Philadelphia led John Adams to exclaim in a letter to his wife Abigail: 


The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports … bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.


Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress. 


Not only had no other group of people in human history dared to risk so much in defiance of a great power, no other had succeeded in throwing off a colonial yoke permanently. 


There is a lot to celebrate in America and about America, a lot of solemn historic commemorations. But none of them would be possible without that original act of courage. 


So celebrate Independence Day this year with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. And in celebrating our independence, let us give thanks to men and women throughout our history who helped secure our independence, service members and veterans.

BENJAMIN F. ADAMS, III Brigadier General Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs


 
Spotlight:  Medal of Honor for Garlin Murl Conner

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KDVA Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry attended the White House ceremony on Tuesday. 


Here is a link to a video of the June 26 ceremony at the White House.


Here is a link to Pauline Conner's speech at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.


 


From The Clinton News


 

Clinton County’s World War II hero, Garlin Murl Conner, will be posthumously awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, in a ceremony next week in Washington, D.C. Conner died in Albany, in November, 1998 at age 79. Conner’s widow, Pauline Conner, will travel to the nation’s capitol where she will accept the medal her late husband earned for his acts of heroism while fighting in France in 1945. President Donald Trump will award the medal to Conner during a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, June 26...


 

For those who are not able to personally attend next week’s ceremony in Washington, D.C., watching the event will be an easy task with several possible outlets broadcasting the entire ceremony and events leading up to the actual awarding of the medal to Pauline Conner. In addition, the ceremony can also be viewed on a computer, cell phone or tablet as long as Internet service is accessible on the device. The link that has been provided for viewing the ceremony on an Internet enabled device is: https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/ That official White House site is used for most of the live streamed events held there, and is a YouTube based streaming site. 


 

 Read the whole thing.


 

Watch this video about Lt. Conner’s heroism.

 

 


 
 WWI Logo.jpg Spotlight:  Flag Day

So many of our National Holidays seem to place the Stars and Stripes front and center, but only one actually celebrates Old Glory herself. Most every student in most every Elementary School classroom can recite the story of Betsy Ross, and the commissioning of the first version of our American Flag. And, while there is at least some portion of that story that is true to history, it is the pride in its recitation that we share as Americans.


 

For this day of celebration, it matters not upon which side of some political aisle our Flag is waved -- each celebrant is an American: As the Colors are hoisted at dawn, and throughout the day until they are retired with the setting sun, this Thursday, 14 June, is a day of focus upon each stripe, each star, and the canton that binds each of those stars in a common destiny. 


 

On behalf of Governor Matthew G. Bevin, and each member of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, it is my earnest hope that dawn on this Flag Day finds you listening proudly to the bugler's call of Reveille; and that the dawn finds you with your full-handed salute, or hand pressed to your heart, watching as our Colors are raised to meet the sun. And, knowing that no matter where on the globe our Flag is raised, it represents each of us: In the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave. 


 

BENJAMIN F. ADAMS, III Brigadier General Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs


 
 WWI Logo.jpg Spotlight:  Vietnam Veterans Day

On this day of national recognition for Vietnam Veterans we remember the service and sacrifice made by the nearly three million veterans serving in-country and another six million serving elsewhere during this war. For all who served in Vietnam, this day means “welcome home and thank you.” -- KDVA Commissioner Benjamin Adams 


 

March 30 is Vietnam Veterans Day in Kentucky and throughout the nation. Remember their sacrifices. Recognize and honor them at home, at work, and in your communities. 


 

Thomson-Hood Veterans Center held a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday. WLEX-TV in Lexington covered it:

Story: http://www.lex18.com/story/37838493/vietnam-veterans-gather-for-ceremony 

Video: https://youtu.be/9yyFp_jubwg 


 

As Governor Matt Bevin wrote in his Proclamation:

WHEREAS, The commitment of this nation to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War was initiated by President Obama on Memorial Day 2012 and will continue through Veterans Day, 2025; and 

WHEREAS, On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed the Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day Act in order to set aside every March 29th as a day to commemorate the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families; and 

WHEREAS, March 29th is a significant day in the history of the Vietnam conflict, when the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil; and 

WHEREAS, The Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates that today there are seven million living Vietnam veterans with approximately 105,760 Vietnam Veterans living in Kentucky; and 

WHEREAS, Vietnam Veterans Day is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied proper welcome upon returning home nearly 50 years ago; 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MATTHEW G. BEVIN, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2018 as 

VIETNAM VETERAN’S DAY in Kentucky, and encourage all Kentuckians to use this day to demonstrate their appreciation to these Veterans for their dedicated service.


 
 

Spotlight:  Kentucky In the Great War

This is the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, the one they called the War to End All Wars.  There are no more World War I veterans alive to tell us about it themselves, but the United States World War I Centennial Commemoration​ is making sure the rest of us don't forget them and what they did. 

Learn about Kentucky in World War 1 here andhere.


 
 
Spotlight:  KYVets Employment Program
 

KYVets is the Kentucky Veterans Employment Training and Support Program. KYVets provides resources and support to assist veterans across the commonwealth in gainful employment and training services. 
 
Call or email Dean Stoops at 502-564-9203, Dean.Stoops@ky.gov.


small CommemorativePartnerLogo_Final_10-3-12 ai.png Spotlight: Veterans Benefits and Services
KDVA proudly offers FREE benefits assistance, including filing claims and appeals, by our 18 Veterans Benefits Field Representatives to veterans in every county of the Commonwealth. Our benefits experts are fully accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and take pride in obtaining every benefit and service veterans have earned.


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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.

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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.

Operation Victory Volunteers Needed
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Louisville. The KY Department of Veterans Affairs, KY Habitat for Humanity, Metro United Way, greater Louisville area unions, local businesses, and the Housing Partnership Inc., have joined together once again to rehabilitate a vacated house for a Homeless Veteran. We are asking for any volunteers to join us on Saturday, July 28th from 8am-1pm. We will be cleaning out the house and doing some landscaping in the front and backyards. This all must be done so the Electricians, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Carpenters and everyone else can rebuild this house and give this veteran a better life. Get more information here.

Horsepower Empowering Lady Veterans Car Show
Sunday, July 29, 12:00 Noon-4:00PM in Lexington. Home Depot parking lot, 2397 Richmond Road. Cars welcomed! Volunteers needed. Public is invited! For more information, call 859-806-4297 or email at info@ladyveteransconnect.org.

Golf Scramble for Lady Veterans Connect
Saturday, August 4, 8:30 AM in Winchester. Cassell Creek Golf Course, 4189 Lexington Rd. Proceeds benefit the Lady Veterans Connect Trapp School Project, a transitional home for female veterans. $200 per 4-person team. Sponsors welcomed! Dinner! Prizes! Auction and more! Registration begins at 7:30 AM and Shotgun Start at 8:30 AM. For more information, contact Ms. Wanda Martin at 859-556-3501.

Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees Announcement
Tuesday, August 7, 10:00 AM in Frankfort. Capitol Rotunda. Join fellow Kentuckians in greeting the new inductees into the KVHOF 2018 Class. For more information, contact H.B. Deatherage at 859-512-2247 or via email at hbdeatherage@aol.com. Visit their web page at http://www.kyveterans.org.

Paint Party for Lady Veterans Connect
Wednesday, August 8, 7:00 PM in Lexington. Painting with a Twist, 2573 Richmond Rd., Suite 320. To register, go to: www.lexingtonpaintingwithatwist.com. Paint a picture on a canvas to take home with you and support Lady Veterans Connect! For more information, call 859-806-4297 or email at info@ladyveteransconnect.org.

Lady Veterans Connect Yard Sale
Friday - Sunday, August 10-11 in Winchester. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 .m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, 1400 Irvine Rd. Volunteers are needed on both days as well as the Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 AM-3:00PM before the yard sale to set up. For more information, call 859-806-4297 or email at info@ladyveteransconnect.org.

Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund Board of Directors Meeting
10:00 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at KDVA Headquarters in Frankfort. 

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    Recent Events

    Commissioner Presents Purple Heart to WWII POW

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    Army Staff Sergeant Dudley Riley survived combat in North Africa and wounds received during two years in a German POW camp, but never received the Purple Heart medal he earned in 1945. That oversight was corrected yesterday just short of Mr. Riley’s 95th birthday. Brigadier General Ben Adams, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, presented the medal to Staff Sgt. Riley at the Joseph “Eddie” Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center (WKVC) in Hanson on Wednesday. It was a surprise ceremony, arranged by WKVC staff and KDVA Veterans Benefits Field Representative Johnny Allen, who collected and submitted documents to confirm the award and obtained the medal for Staff Sgt. Riley.

    See more photos here.

    Read the article here.
    Watch the Evansville TV 14 video here.
    Watch the Paducah WPSD video here.
    Watch videos of Sgt. Riley talking about his experiences. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

    Gov. Bevin Signs TBI Treatment Bill

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    On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB 64, which allows Kentucky veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury to access hyperbaric chamber treatment. KDVA Commissioner congratulated Retired Col. Ron Ray, for whom the bill is named, and presented him with a Vietnam Veteran pin. Col. Ray earned a Silver Star for his combat service in Vietnam, and later suffered the effects of TBI for which he needed hyperbaric treatment.

    Long-Delayed Upgrade Awarded

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    Henry “Hank” Mullins served in 10 consecutive combat campaigns as a Marine serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. He took part in some of the bloodiest battles of that war. However, he committed infractions of the rules on his return to the States. The violations were the result of PTSD. He received an other-than-honorable discharge from the Marine Corps. With the help of his wife, Renee, and the assistance of KDVA, Hank had his discharge upgraded. On Friday, April 06, 2018, KDVA Commissioner Benjamin Adams presented Mr. Mullins with his new DD-214 showing honorable service. Commissioner Adams also presented Hank with a Vietnam Veteran pin as well as the Kentucky Veteran pin.

    Meeting With Korean Delegation

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    On March 20, KDVA Commissioner Adams met with Dr. Doo Oak Kim, Director of the International Public Policy and Management Institute at the University of Kentucky, and his Martin School students to discuss how our respective countries serve veterans.  The students are all leaders in various departments of the South Korean government.

    Traveling Kentucky Vietnam Wall

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    On March 12, KDVA Commissioner Adams spoke at the unveiling of the Traveling Kentucky Vietnam Wall at the Capitol Rotunda. Traveling KY Vietnam Wall.pdfRead more here. More pictures here.

    Wreaths Across America

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    On Dec. 11, Commissioner Arflack spoke at the Wreaths Across America ceremony with Gov. Bevin at the Capitol Rotunda.
    More pictures here.


    Veterans Day Ceremony

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    On Nov. 11, Commissioner Arflack spoke at the Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park in Lexington.
    Watch the video here.


    Funding for Bowling Green Veterans Home

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    On August 28, Governor Matt Bevin signed HB 213, which authorizes state match funding to build a state veterans nursing home in Bowling Green when the state obtains a federal grant for the project. From left, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Roy Lawrence, Dr. Ray Biggerstaff, Betty Biggerstaff, Rep. Michael Meredith, Rep. Jody Richards, KDVA Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry and Rep. Brandon Reed.

    WWI Exhibit at the Kentucky State Fair

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    Through Sunday, August 27, you can visit the WWI Centennial Exhibit in South Wing B. There is a full-size replica of a Camp Taylor barracks, a replica trench with battle sound effects, many authentic artifacts and the chance to make paper poppies to honor WWI veterans.
    More pictures here.


     

    KDVA Headquarters

    1111B Louisville Rd
    Frankfort, KY 40601
     Get Directions
     Phone: (502) 564-9203
     Toll-free: (800) 572-6245
     Fax: (502) 564-9240
     
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