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Vietnam Veteran Confirmed as IDVA Assistant Director

Posted by Admin On May - 26 - 2015

SPRINGFIELD, IL – U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran Harry F. Sawyer, a 33-year state employee, was confirmed as the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) by the Illinois Senate in a unanimous vote today.

“Harry Sawyer is a great friend and advocate for our Illinois veterans and their families,” said Erica Jeffries, Army veteran and Director, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “He brings a strong record of accomplishment and leadership to this position, and is well known and respected in the veteran community.  We are fortunate to have him in this position.”

As the Assistant Director, Sawyer will manage special projects and oversee the state-wide field operations of the IDVA, which has the mission to empower veterans and their families to thrive.  The IDVA veteran service officers assist veterans and their family members in navigating the system of federal, state, and local resources and benefits.

“I am honored to be confirmed as the Assistant Director for the IDVA,” said Sawyer. “I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to working with the great IDVA team while continuing to provide professional services, support, and engagement with the over 721,000 veterans and their family members across Illinois.  I am grateful to Governor Rauner and Director Jeffries for this opportunity and the efforts of our previous IDVA leaders.”

Sawyer joined the IDVA in 1982 as a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), and has worked for over three decades in helping veterans and surviving family members to obtain benefits earned through military service.  Selected as the North Division Supervisor for other VSOs, Sawyer later became the Field Services Manager in 2005, overseeing the selection, training, certification, and daily operations of the IDVA’s state-wide VSO offices and outreach events.

As a young man, Sawyer enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Agerholm (DD 826), including a tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam.  Completing his enlistment in 1970, he received an honorable discharge and returned to Illinois where he worked as a florist until 1979, when he began assisting his fellow veterans as a service officer with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Sawyer is a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other organizations. Originally from Hillside, he and his wife Diane reside in Lombard, Illinois.

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