Dayton picks Shellito for veterans affairs post

Gov. Dayton has named Larry Shellito, the former Minnesota National Guard adjutant general, as his commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shellito retired late last year after seven years heading the guard.

Here’s the news release:

St. Paul, MN -Governor Mark Dayton today announced the appointment of retired Major General Larry Shellito, who recently retired as the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, to lead the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Major General Shellito is widely regarded as a strong and dynamic leader who is respected for his dedication to our nation’s service men and women. During his seven years at the helm of the Minnesota National Guard, Major General Shellito helped build a national reputation for the Guard, which is the nation’s fifth largest National Guard formation with more than 14,000 members, operating 63 facilities across Minnesota. He was instrumental in establishing the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program” – a project on which he worked cooperatively and closely with then-United States Senator Dayton. “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” is a nationally-recognized program to reintegrate National Guard and Reserve military service members following deployments.

As Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Major General Shellito’s years of experience and leadership will ensure this critical agency is both innovative and responsive to the needs of our veterans and their families. The Department is charged with assisting the state’s 381,000 veterans and their dependents.

“I am delighted to appoint General Larry Shellito to head the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Governor Dayton said. “While a US Senator and a Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked closely with General Shellito on many projects, including my picnics for the families of Minnesota National Guard Members heroically serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and obtaining the first Congressional funding for the Guard’s pioneering ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’ program.”

“I know General Shellito has a deep personal commitment to improving the quality of services for all Minnesota veterans and to increasing access to them. I look forward to working closely with him during the next four years to better serving the Minnesotans, who have served our country so well.”

“I am honored to be a part of a proud Minnesota tradition of service to our veterans and their families at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Major General Shellito. “I’ve worked with Governor Dayton for many years, and know firsthand his commitment and dedication to our veterans and their families through his tireless efforts to help establish the ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’ program. Together, we will ensure that our veterans are both well-cared for and honored for their service.”

Major General Shellito began his military career in 1968 when he enlisted in the United States Army, where his active duty service included time in Vietnam. In 1973, he enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard, where he served for 37 years until his retirement in 2010. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star among many others. Before accepting the post of Adjutant General, Shellito served as President of Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, Minnesota. Major General Shellito holds degrees from Moorhead State University and University of Minnesota, and is a graduate of the Army War College. He and his wife, Evonne, currently reside in Woodbury, MN. They have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.

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