JEFFERSON CITY – In a December 13, 2017 meeting, the Missouri Veterans Commission elected a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman and accepted the resignation of Larry D. Kay as Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission. At the meeting, the commission also appointed Air National Guard Colonel Grace Link as Interim Executive Director until a permanent executive director is hired. St. Louis Veterans Home Administrator Rolando Carter’s administrative leave was also discussed.
The public portion of the meeting began with the election of Tim Noonan as Chairman and Dr. John Buckner as Vice-Chairman of the Commission.
“Ensuring that our veterans are treated with the dignity they deserve and get the care they earned is our focus,” said Chairman Noonan, “With my fellow commissioners, we take this responsibility seriously. We have a lot of work to do and thank the families who have brought their concerns forward. We have your back and the work has begun.”
Upon election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, the commission went into closed session where the commission accepted the resignation of Kay as Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission effective December 13, 2017 and appointed Colonel Link, Missouri Air National Guard as Interim Executive Director.
“Brigadier General Kay led the Missouri Veterans Commission for a number of years, making a difference in the lives of Veterans,” said Chairman Noonan, “He took an honorable step in taking responsibility for what has happened on his watch. We wish him well.”
Colonel Link is the Director of Staff for the Missouri Air National Guard and is responsible for all Missouri Air National Guard operations as the principal advisor to the Adjutant General on all aspects of air operations. Colonel Link has a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology from Missouri Western State University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University.
“Colonel Grace Link is the right leader at the right time to move the Missouri Veterans’ Commission forward,” said Chairman Noonan, “She has the full support of the Missouri Veteran’s to accomplish her mission.”
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve in a different capacity on behalf of all the veterans of the great state of Missouri,” said Colonel Link, “I’m looking forward to using my leadership experience in the Missouri National Guard to ensure a strong focus on Veteran’s issues. My goal is to listen to our veterans and all those working on their behalf, learn from them, and advise the Missouri Veteran’s Commission on the best way forward for our Veterans. I appreciate the support and flexibility of Major General Steve Danner, Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard, as I take on this important assignment.”
The commission determined that St. Louis Veterans Home Administrator Rolando Carter will remain on administrative leave. Interim Director Link will assess Mr. Carter’s administrative leave and be prepared to recommend a path forward. This assessment will be conducted in accordance with state administrative leave human resource guidelines.
The Missouri Veterans Commission, a division of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, operates seven State Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program. The Commission says it is committed to honoring and serving Missouri’s Veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have preserved our nation and its freedoms.