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. 


 Honoring Kentucky African-American Veterans

Kentucky is proud to be the home of the most decorated African-American veteran of the U.S. military. 

Colonel Charles Young was a 19th-century military officer and diplomat. He was the third African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy, the first black US national park superintendent, first black military attaché, first black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army, and highest-ranking black officer in the regular army until his death in 1922. 

Young was born into slavery at the end of the Civil War in Mays Lick, Kentucky, near Maysville. He entered West Point on competitive examination in 1884, and quickly showed a flair for languages. He graduated in 1889 as a 2nd Lieutenant after enduring years of extreme hazing and harassment because of the color of his skin.

He volunteered for service in the Spanish American War and was given command of an all-black regiment, but the war ended before they deployed. Nevertheless, he was the first African-American to command such a large unit of soldiers. 

He served at posts in the West and became the first African-American Superintendent of a National Park. He served overseas in Mexico, Haiti, Liberia and the Philippines, reaching the rank of Colonel by 1917 – the first African-American to do so. He taught military science at colleges and wrote a prescient book about how Democratic societies affect the military service of minorities. 

Nevertheless, his deserved deployment in World War I and promotion to Brigadier General was denied to him because of his race. While he always commanded black troops, as Brigadier General he would have had white officers under his command. Southern officers vociferously objected, and the military denied Young his final service. 

Young’s story reflects both the obstacles faced by African-American service members and veterans, and how through extraordinary efforts and determination they achieved respect and overcome bigotry. 

On Nov. 11, 2018, Veterans Day, city and state leaders unveiled the Colonel Charles Young Veterans Memorial in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville. It stands at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. 

In this Black History Month, it is appropriate that we honor Colonel Charles Young by honoring our African-American veterans still serving their nation today. 

During February, take a moment every day to consider the achievements of African-American veterans and the extraordinary effort and sacrifices it took to succeed. 

Find out more from the National Association of Black Veterans. 


Benjamin F. Adams, III
Brigadier General, Retired, US Army
Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs



 Presidents' Day Message

On this third Monday in February, Americans all across our great nation will celebrate and remember those who have occupied the highest office in the land. It was not very long ago that we celebrated George Washington’s birthday on an entirely different day from that of Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps that’s why so few Americans can only name one or two Presidents who lived before their own lifetime. 

We have so many institutions and traditions worthy of celebration – not the least of which is the Office of the President. No matter one’s own political party, each of us may certainly agree that the peaceful transition of power – each time we vote-in a new President – is a magnificent example of how our Democratic Republic strives to be a more perfect Union. It is likely for that very reason, and countless others, that we will pause on February 18th this year to reflect on the service of each of our Presidents. This is, by any measure, a rare club. Numerically, our current Commander in Chief may be “45,” but he’s only the 44th American to be able to boast of having been at the helm of the Greatest Nation on Earth. With news of our contemporary Presidents to be found punctuating the 24-hours news cycle, it is easy to forget those others who served. For instance, what of our ninth President, William Henry Harrison. The first president to have died in office, after having been there for only a month. What would he have accomplished for our Nation? Or, his successor, John Tyler, who arrived in office as a Whig, yet was expelled from his political party only six months into his term for opposing its agenda. Millard Fillmore succeeded Zachary Taylor – our twelfth president – when he also died in office. It seems, though, that he got along with his party better than Tyler. Not counting Democratic Republicans, our fourth Democratic president was Franklin Pierce; it seems being a retired member of the military was a great bona fide to indicate on one’s resume. And, Grover Cleveland, our 22nd President, must have done something right: The American people brought him back for an encore just four years after he vacated the White House.

At the end of the day, each American President was one of us. They were – and are – Americans; each with their own frailties. And, each arrived to the office with the honorable intent to serve their employer: The American People. It is that measure of honorable service that each of us in the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs strives to fulfill in our serving each of those who have served our Nation – every day of the year. On behalf of our Governor, and each member of our Department, I hope you’ll set aside a bit of this third Monday in February to remember all of those who have served our Nation: From the Commander in Chief, to the new recruit standing their watch for the first time. 

Fondest wishes for a safe and joyous President’s Day weekend. 

Benjamin F. Adams, III
Brigadier General, Retired, US Army
Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs



 A Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Virtually every Federal Holiday is associated with some commercial symbol: Decorated Easter eggs, cornucopia, fireworks, or jack-o-lanterns all conjure some image of the underpinning occasion. One American holiday, though, doesn’t so much reflect on service, as to beckon us to service. 

In what started as a series of local celebrations, then State recognitions, the third Monday in January is now reserved on our American calendars as a day of reflection on how each of us may rise to our best potential. What makes this particular day upon which we celebrate the birth of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so special is that we now enjoy a reflective lens more than a half-century deep since his assassination. The words of this world-renowned minister and civil rights leader ring no less true today, than they did when he walked the Earth. Many of us remember this giant among men for a single speech rendered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, when he shared his dream that his children would one day live in a world where they would be measured by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin.

But for those who serve and served in our Armed Forces, this clarion call to service is nothing new. In fact, Kentuckians are renowned for their hospitality, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves when called upon. Where these two concepts intersect of treating one another with dignity, and doing our best for a cause greater than ourselves you’ll find a Kentucky Veteran. And while many Americans will go out of their way to render some service to their communities on this January 21st, our Veterans are involved and engaged every day of the year. Whether cleaning up a city park, camping with some Troop of Scouts, or coaching a little league team, our Veterans are likely there, right in the mix. The celebration of the life of this one Civil Rights icon presents a unique opportunity for service rendered by countless others. 

To that end, I hope you’ll join many of us in the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs in taking the day to serve in your community and across the Commonwealth. Perhaps, even visiting with an aging Veteran or a Wounded Warrior, and learning of their remarkable lives.
Warmest wishes for a joyous MLK Birthday celebration, and hoping you take the opportunity to thank a Veteran for their service – to our Great Nation, to our Commonwealth, and in our communities. 

Benjamin F. Adams, III
Brigadier General, Retired, US Army
Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs



 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.



 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,KYVets@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.

Military Kids Day at the Capitol
Feb. 20 at the Capitol in Frankfort. Military Kids Day at the Capitol. This is a great day for the children in military families! They get to take a Capitol tour, participate in a Capitol Scavenger Hunt, attend committee meetings related to military issues, and be a legislative page for their legislator. Children from all military families are invited to come to Frankfort to participate. The deadline to register is February18. You can go online and register at the Legislative Research Commission website: https://legislature.ky.gov/LRC/Pages/Military-Kids-Day.aspx.

Veterans Resources United of Central/Southeastern Kentucky (VRUCK) Meeting.
February 21, 3:00 PM. Eastside Library, 3000 Blake James Drive, Lexington. Meeting is open to anyone interested in attending. VSO’s, veterans, and friends are welcomed to attend! VRUCK’s purpose is to bridge the gap between veterans and the many different programs and resources that support them to ensure veterans and their families know what services are available to them! For more information, contact Phyllis Abbott at 859-806-4297 or via email at pabbott@ladyveteransconnect.org.

Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund Board of Directors Meeting
10:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at KDVA Headquarters in Frankfort. 

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24-Hour VA Crisis Hotline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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    Recent Events

    Students Show BeneVets for the Brave

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    On Friday, Feb. 8, award-winning students from Ashland Middle School demonstrated the BeneVets for the Brave website and app to KDVA Commissioner Benjamin Adams and other KDVA staff.

    See more photos here.

    Capitol Wreaths

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    KDVA Commissioner Benjamin Adams was the guest speaker at the Wreaths Across America Statehouse Ceremony on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

    See more photos here.

    Medal of Honor Plaque With Garlin Murl Conner Unveiled

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    On Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, Governor Matt Bevin and Pauline Conner, widow of Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, unveiled the updated plaque, with Lt. Conner's name engraved among the other WWII MOH recipients from Kentucky. Gov. Bevin also presented Mrs. Conner with a proclamation and a Kentucky state flag that has flown over the Capitol. Before the unveiling, Mrs. Conner and her family, friends and supporters gathered at the Berry Hill Mansion for a reception and luncheon.

    See more photos here.

    Kentucky Veterans of the Year

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    On Monday, Nov. 5, the Epilepsy Foundation named its Kentucky Veterans of the Year at its annual banquet. Army and Coast Guard veteran Megan Karr is active in Team RWB, which works to connect veterans with their community through physical and social activity. Retired Army Sergeant Jeremy Harrell founded Veterans Club for “veterans who want to join together to share resources, rebuild camaraderie with one another and provide cost-free equine therapy to vets.” KDVA Commissioner Ben Adams spoke of the lifelong service to community exemplified by the 2018 Veterans of the Year and all the nominees.

    See more photos here.

    Vietnam War Monument Dedicated at Camp Nelson

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    On Saturday, Oct. 6, KDVA Commissioner Adams along with Vietnam Veterans, friends, family and supporters dedicated the Vietnam War Memorial at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County.

    See morephotos 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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