SALT LAKE CITY - With over 165,000 Veterans and more than 1,000 deployed Army and Air National Guard members, the State of Utah has several different state agencies tasked to assist former military personnel with services and outreach. Today Governor Gary R. Herbert announced his intent to restructure how those agencies coordinate their efforts, and elevate outreach to Utah's military installations and defense-related businesses.
"The tremendous service and sacrifice offered by Utah's military women and men should be rightly recognized with a responsive, integrated, and streamlined service model," said the Governor. "The State of Utah must do everything we can to engage all partners, and leverage and optimize all resources, to meet critical needs for Veterans and their families. Moreover, we have an economic and security obligation with our military installations-especially Hill Air Force Base-where we must be vigilant and lockstep with our federal partners."
To oversee the proposed restructure of Veteran services, the Governor appointed retired U.S. Army Colonel Gary Harter his new Veterans and Military Services advisor. Governor Herbert said, "Colonel Harter's lengthy military experience, coupled with his professional and academic expertise, will help Utah take better care of our Veterans, as well as our military installations and coordination with Hill Air Force Base."
"I am honored to be placed in a position to advocate for and represent military personnel, Veterans and their families. Nothing could be greater than to work with all of those who ensure our freedoms are preserved each and every day," said Harter. "Utah is blessed to have terrific military installations and a vibrant defense industry, and I am excited to continue to engage with leadership, advocates, business and the public sector to assist in their growth."
Harter will work with the current executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Terry Schow, as well as the Veterans Advisory Council and Veterans Reintegration Task Force, to design Utah's elevated model of veterans services and outreach.
The Governor heralded Schow for his outstanding efforts at the helm of Utah's Department of Veterans Affairs. "Terry's tireless advocacy for all Veterans is unparalleled. He proudly served his nation, and in turn long made his state and nation proud with his continued service and passion to ensure those who have worn the military uniform are appropriately honored and cared for as they return. I appreciate his continued dedication and service as we execute this important transition."
Schow plans to retire in June 2013 and has been instrumental in the recent construction of additional Veterans nursing homes. He was appointed executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs July 1, 2007, having been appointed as the Director of the Utah Division of Veterans Affairs in October 2001. "I am excited about the prospect of elevating service to Veterans and returning service members," said Schow. "I look forward to working with Gary and the Veterans Reintegration Taskforce over the next several months to take service to Veterans to the next level."
Schow is a U.S. Army Veteran whose service includes the 5th and 10th Special Forces Groups and the 25th Infantry Division and a tour of duty in Southeast Asia. During his 25 years advocating for Veterans, he served as the State Commander of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans, as well as president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs and the VA Rural Health Advisory Committee.
Myriad state agencies presently offer programs that serve Veterans, including the Utah Department of Veterans Services, the Department of Workforce Services, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health, and the Utah National Guard.
"I look forward to working with the many organizations, groups and agencies, who are involved in military and Veterans efforts across our great state. With all of us working together, we will achieve success, for our Veterans, for our military and for Utah." Harter said.