Gov. chooses Harry Daniel as head of Veterans Affairs
Published: September 5, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Gov. John deJongh Jr. on Wednesday appointed Harry Daniel to head the V.I. Office of Veterans Affairs.
Daniel served as the assistant director of the office from December 2007 to November 2012.
He will replace Morris Moorhead, who retired last year, as director, according to a statement from Government House.
The Office of Veterans Affairs is the governmental agency responsible for helping the territory's veterans access health care, job training services and the benefits they have earned through their military service.
Daniel will receive the $80,000 annual salary budgeted for the director's position.
Daniel's goals as director are: to recruit more medical providers to care for veterans in the Virgin Islands; to identify the territory's homeless veterans; to continue a partnership with Methodist Outreach Training Services in providing housing assistance to veterans and their families; to work with the Taxicab Commission to formulate a better way of encouraging veterans to bid on medallions; and to begin work on funding projects to develop veterans cemeteries in both districts, according to the statement.
Daniel said the Office of Veterans Affairs needs to demonstrate the needs of the 4,398 veterans in the territory to federal benefits coordinators in order for those representatives to visit and coordinate services on the islands. It is critical that veterans alert the Office of Veterans Affairs to their needs, be it housing assistance, medical support or job training, Daniel said.
"My highest priority is to get the federal representatives on board with our veterans here in the territory. To bring them here all that needs to happen is we need the veterans to come out and to say what it is they need help with," Daniel said. "We might not be able to get them to come out if we cannot demonstrate need and cannot offer them clients when they come. To do that we need the veterans to report they need help."
Daniel said that more doctors in the territory are offering services to veterans through the administration of benefits through the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Puerto Rico. Decreasing the number of visits veterans have to make for specialized care to Puerto Rico and instead providing that same level of care in the Virgin Islands is also a top priority, Daniel said.
Daniel graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1966, then served two years with the United States Army. He joined the Virgin Islands Police Department a year after his discharge from military service, leaving the department as a sergeant in 1992.
Daniel is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Military Police Academy and the Federal Law Enforcement Academy. From 1976 to 2002 he was a member of the Virgin Islands Army National Guard.
Daniel has also served as a special assistant to Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen, a family assistance center specialist for the National Guard, and chief ranger of the Virgin Islands National Park. Daniel once chaired the Virgin Islands Board of Education, sat on the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees and was a member of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee. He is currently a member of the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections.
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