Heather French Henry takes on new role as Ky. Veterans Affairs C - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Heather French Henry takes on new role as Ky. Veterans Affairs Commissioner

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Heather French Henry takes a new title on July 1st as Kentucky's next Veterans Affairs Commissioner.  Governor Steve Beshear appointed her to the position. 

The former Miss America 2000 had a platform of helping veterans, and she is the daughter of a vet. So she is excited for the new position. "it's something I've been working on for a quite a while, and we've been working all over the nation."  Henry says, "this will maybe give me a chance to bring creative ideas back to Kentucky."

Henry assumes the role, as there are big issues surrounding veterans including the quality of care at Veterans Administration hospitals. But she says the role of the V. A. Medical center is not directly related to the state commissioner's job. "However, I always do believe that there is positive accountability that can happen," Henry explains. She's a proponent of visiting V.A. hospitals and hearing directly from veterans.

The Kentucky V. A. Commissioner's job has several main components, according to Henry.  They oversee veteran cemeteries, deal with veterans nursing homes including one under construction in Radcliff, Kentucky, which should be complete in 2015. But she explains, "when a Kentucky veteran goes through a difficult situation no matter what that situation is, if it's in a federal program or a state program, I'm still going to be very concerned about that."   As commissioner, Henry will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department, as well as the coordination of 18 statewide field office locations and health care outreach.

Henry is married to former Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Steve Henry, and has two daughters, which keep her busy. But other parts of her life will be put aside, as she assumes her new job.  Her budding Frenchie fashion line will be on hold, and she will step aside as the volunteer executive director of her Heather French Henry Foundation for Veterans.  "Now I'm going to be focusing 100% of my energy, aside from my family obviously, into Kentucky's veterans."

One of the many things on Henry's long list of charities is the Rosemary Clooney Museum in Augusta, Kentucky.  She and her family own the home of the late movie star, who was the beloved aunt of actor George Clooney.

The Rosemary Clooney Museum will be unveiling two new costumes this Saturday, June 7th during the Art in The Garden Festival.  The two costumes are for the ever growing George Clooney collection that will include the iconic overalls from "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou" and his military uniform from "Monuments Men."  Along with this dedication will be the re-dedication of Rosemary Clooney's famous blue lace dress worn in the "Sisters" number in Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."  The costume, which was already a museum piece, went to Paramount Studios for much need restoration and repair.  The sister dress of Vera Ellen's is still in the restoration process.

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