Peru, Nebraska – Randy Reeves, Peru State alumni and the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs, visited Peru State College today. During his visit the Under Secretary presented to a history class and met with students over lunch. Reeves is in Nebraska ahead of a dedication of the Omaha National Cemetery’s first monument to Vietnam veterans.
Reeves’ presentation to the Peru State history class focused on the history, mission and vision of Memorial Affairs and the National Cemetery Administration. Videos were also shown detailing work at the Los Angeles National Cemetery and the Veterans Legacy Project at Black Hills State University.
Reeves told the class, “I have one single vision and have directed one single vision for the National Cemetery Administration.”
“No veteran ever dies.”
Reeves went on to explain that while we cannot prevent physical death, we can prevent the death of being forgotten. The work of the National Cemetery Administration is to remember our nation’s veterans.
Reeves told the group, “I have a debt to repay,” because his life continues past his military service and that is why he chose to work in memorial affairs. He also told of his own experience with losing friends that served and how the memorials and cemeteries work to remember husbands, grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers and other family members.
As Under Secretary, Reeves leads 136 national cemeteries in providing dignified burial services for veterans and eligible family members. His responsibilities include maintaining the cemeteries as national shrines; design and construction activities related to the establishment of new national cemeteries; overseeing memorial programs to honor the service of veterans, including the provision of headstones, markers, medallions and Presidential Memorial Certificates; and administering federal grants to help states, territories and tribal governments establish veterans cemeteries.
Reeves also said, “I am a graduate of Peru State. I want to tell you that the foundation or a great part of the foundation of where I am and the things I have been able to do to serve our nation actually is because of the opportunity that was afforded me in college.”
Reeves continues, “Peru State was doing something innovative back during that time. They had a college degree completion program that allowed me to use what I had learned in the Air Force to finish a bachelor’s degree.”
“It set me on a track that led to where I am right now – that is to be able to serve those that have served our nation.”
President Donald Trump nominated Reeves as Under Secretary on September 1, 2017. He was confirmed in November.
You can read more about Reeves here: https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_reeves.asp or more about his nomination here: https://www.peru.edu/media/reeves-confirmed-secretary-veterans-affairs-memorial-affairs/
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