June 4, 2014 —
Some may criticize Gov. Steve Beshear for appointing former Miss America Heather French Henry as commissioner of Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs.
She is not a military veteran herself but we believe she is a great choice because of her knowledge of the problems faced by veterans and her experience in providing assistance to them.
A former Maysville resident and wife of former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, the new commissioner learned about veterans issues growing up with her father, Ronnie French, who was wounded in Vietnam.
Poised and articulate, she is well prepared to raise awareness of veterans’ issues and to motivate the 800 employees in her department to do an even better job of assisting Kentucky vets and their families.
Her appointment was announced Friday, the same day the national VA secretary resigned his post in the aftermath of a growing scandal over the quality of medical care being provided in VA medical centers.
Gov. Beshear said of Henry’s selection:
"Heather is highly motivated and has vast experience assisting and creating programs for veterans throughout the Commonwealth and the nation. As the department's new commissioner, she will continue our mission to raise awareness and offer services to our veterans."
Henry started the Heather French Foundation for Veterans in December 1999 to partner with public and private organizations to assist veterans and their families.
Two years later, Congress passed the Heather French Henry Homeless Veterans Assistance Act, a bi-partisan bill to help eradicate homelessness among veterans, particularly women.
She said of her state appointment:
"Honoring our veterans has been and will always be my life's mission and I am honored that I can serve them in this way."
She traveled the nation in 2000 as Miss America to stand up for veterans. Starting July 1, she will be doing that in Kentucky.
When she speaks about veterans, it comes from the heart.