Commissioner: MDVA now has 4 cemeteries, to have 8 homes

By Brad Lindsay

As we begin a new year, I am also beginning a new chapter as the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as MDVA. It is an honor to be selected by Gov. Tim Walz to lead the agency I have been a part of for almost 20 years. I believe my experience at MDVA and as a county veterans service officer will serve me well in my new role.

Brad Lindsay

I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely over the years with veteran service organizations such as The American Legion Department of Minnesota. I value our partnership and look forward to collaborating with Commander Paul Hassing as well as other members of the Commanders’ Task Force as we continue to advocate for Minnesota’s 294,000 veterans and their families.

I want to continue the precedent of the Minnesota Legislature passing — for the third year in a row in 2024 — a Veterans & Military Affairs Omnibus Bill. The 2023 legislation consolidated a number of veteran funding requests that included:

• Expanded eligibility for the Post-9/11 Service Bonus.

• Increased benefits under the Minnesota G.I. Bill that supports education.

• Support for ongoing efforts to end veteran homelessness.

• Ability to maintain current levels of service at the Minnesota Veterans Homes and State Veterans Cemeteries.

• Funding the state’s share of the cost for predesign, design, demolition and construction of the Hastings Veterans Home campus.

This last year has seen some major accomplishments. After years of advocacy, planning and construction, MDVA completed four major construction projects: the Redwood Falls State Veterans Cemetery was dedicated in August when the first interments were held and three new Veterans Homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston are close to opening.

Minnesota now has four State Veterans Cemeteries, moving us closer to our goal to provide a Veterans cemetery location in all parts of our state. The opening of three additional Veterans Homes will provide skilled nursing care for 198 aging veterans when at full capacity.

Two of MDVA’s priority initiatives continue to require our attention and action. First, we must strengthen our efforts to prevent veteran suicide that claims about 100 lives each year. I appreciate The American Legion’s recognition of this tragedy and willingness to champion programs such as “Buddy Checks” to promote connection among veterans who may be struggling.

We also will keep pushing to end veteran homelessness. Eight of 10 Minnesota areas have achieved the effective end of veteran homelessness in their communities. Hennepin and Ramsey counties have yet to reach this goal, but we are getting closer.

I am excited about the possibilities of the coming year. With your continued support and collaboration, I know we can make a difference for Minnesota’s veterans. Thank you for your partnership.

As a reminder, if you need information or support on any veteran issue, please visit our website at, contact your county veterans service officer, or contact LinkVet at 1-888-LinkVet.

Brad Lindsay is the commissioner of veterans affairs in Minnesota. He is a member of New Prague Post 45.