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Woodbury resident Shellito to lead state VA

Larry Shellito announces his retirement as leader of the Minnesota National Guard last summer. Then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty stands behind him. File photo by Don Davis/State Capitol Bureau.

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's former adjutant general will be the next state veterans' affairs commissioner.

Gov. Mark Dayton this morning announced that Larry Shellito will head the Veterans' Affairs Department. It is the latest of a series of Dayton Cabinet announcements.

Shellito, who lives in Woodbury, stepped down as the state's National Guard leader last year after seven years. He is a former Alexandria Technical College president and a Minnesota State University Moorhead graduate.

"While a U.S. senator and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked closely with Gen. 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," Dayton said.

Minnesota's guard under Shellito grew to more than 14,000 members, operating 63 facilities across Minnesota. He was key to beginning Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program to reintegrate Guard and Reserve military members after returning from overseas deployments.

As veterans' affairs commissioner, Shellito will be in charge of providing help to the state's 381,000 veterans and their families.

Shellito, a retired major general, began military service in 1968 and served in Vietnam, then spent 37 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., parent company of the South Washington County Bulletin.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.