Heather French Henry appointed as Kentucky's next veterans affairs commissioner

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Heather French Henry, the former Miss America, has been named as the next Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs according to a news release.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced the appointment Friday afternoon.

Henry will replace former Congressman Ken Lucas, who is retiring with about a year and a half left on his term.

"Commissioner Lucas has done an outstanding job these last five years working with my administration and the veterans community across Kentucky," Gov. Beshear said in the news release. "I am pleased he will continue his service to the Commonwealth on a part-time basis and oversee the completion of our fourth veterans nursing home, in Radcliff. He has worked tirelessly for our veterans on this project from its very beginning, and I'm glad he’ll see it through to its opening."

Gov. Beshear also expressed confidence in Henry.

"Heather is highly motivated and has vast experience assisting and creating programs for veterans throughout the Commonwealth and the nation," Gov. Beshear said.

"As the department’s new commissioner, she will continue our mission to raise awareness and offer services to our veterans."

"I greatly appreciate Gov. Beshear's confidence in my experience as a national veterans advocate and look forward to continuing my work as the commissioner to serve the veterans of the Commonwealth and their families," Henry said in the news release. "Honoring our veterans has been and will always be my life's mission, and I am honored that I can serve them in this way."

Henry, who will start as commissioner July 1, has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work and advocacy on behalf of veteran's issues, including: the Patriot Award from USA Cares; the Americanism Award from Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Humanitarian Award from AMVETS; the American Patriot Award from NCOA (Non-Commissioned Officers Association) and the Martha Washington Spirit Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Ladies Auxiliary.

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