The Missouri Veterans Commission has chosen a new executive director.

Commissioners unanimously selected Paul Kirchhoff to replace former director Grace Link who retired in May.

Kirchhoff hails from California Missouri and worked as a special assistant to Link prior to his selection.

He also served as director of the Missouri Emergency Response Commission and has 33 years of service in the US Military.

Link was the commissions first Female Director.

She is leaving the position to to work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The commission serves more than 458,000 veterans across the Show Me State.

 

About Kirchoff:

JEFFERSON CITY – Following an extensive search and review process, the Missouri Veterans Commission announced today that Col. (Ret.) Paul Kirchhoff has been named Executive Director of the commission, which serves over 458,000 Veterans and 1,700 employees in seven Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program.

“Col. Paul Kirchhoff, was unanimously selected to serve as the next Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission,” said Tim Noonan, chairman of the Missouri Veterans Commission. “Paul is a proven leader with a heart for people, including Veterans and all those who work serving Veterans at MVC. His experience leading in combat as well as leading in the complex environment of state government makes Paul the right leader for right now to continue to build on the transformation of MVC started by his predecessor, Col. Grace Link. Paul’s top priority will be to ensure the safety of our employees and Veterans in our seven assisted-living homes during this time of COVID.”

Kirchhoff is a highly-experienced leader with an extensive background in resource management with an emphasis in public service. He served 33 years of combined enlisted and commissioned military service, serving both on active duty with the U.S. Army and with the Missouri Army National Guard. Kirchhoff served on combat tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He earned M.S. degrees in Management from Webster University and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. His many military awards for service include: Bronze Star (2nd Award), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), and Missouri Conspicuous Service Medal.

Kirchhoff worked as special assistant to the Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission prior to his selection. He formerly served as Director of the Missouri Emergency Response Commission and held many leadership positions as a full-time member of the Missouri National Guard.

Kirchhoff is married with two sons. He resides in Jefferson City.

The Missouri Veterans Commission, a division of the Department of Public Safety, operates seven State Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program. The Commission is committed to honoring and serving Missouri’s Veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have preserved our nation and its freedoms. One mission, serving Veterans. For more information about the Missouri Veterans Commission programs, call (573) 751-3779, online at http://www.mvc.dps.mo.gov, or facebook.com/MissouriVeteransCommission.

 

About Link:

JEFFERSON CITY – Chairman Tim Noonan announces effective May 31, 2020, Col. Grace Link is stepping down as the Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission. Link will continue to serve Missouri veterans, but will now do so as a part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans commissioners accepted Link’s resignation during an executive session meeting on Tuesday night, April 21, and appointed MVC Deputy Director Ryon Richmond as the Interim Executive Director effective June 1, 2020.

“As Executive Director, Col. Link has tirelessly devoted herself to ensuring that Missouri’s heroes received the care they deserve. Caring for our veterans starts with respect and dignity, especially for those on the frontlines working in our Veterans Homes, serving as Veteran Service Officers, or providing funeral services in our Veterans Cemeteries,” Chairman Noonan said. “Grace was a decisive leader in challenging times, such as deciding in early March that restricting access to our Veterans Homes was the right thing to do to protect our Missouri heroes. Newly developed metrics on care and satisfaction point to significant improvement in the lives of the more than 1,100 Missouri veterans in our homes. Grace made a distinct, positive difference.”

Noonan credited Link, the commission’s first woman executive director, with establishing new levels of transparency and open communications among all stakeholders, including commissioners, veterans and their families, Veterans Service Organizations, volunteers and all 1,650 MVC team members. He said Link connected with peers nationally and brought new ideas and metrics to Missouri. He also said she changed the culture at the state’s Veterans Homes and throughout the entire organization.

“Our goal is to be the best state in the country for veterans, and Grace took us a long way toward achieving that goal. Her handling of the COVID-19 crisis has been particularly impressive. Our Veterans Homes have been a model for keeping the virus out,” Noonan said.

“The Veterans Commission has been my toughest and most rewarding assignment,” said Link, who is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. “I have seen our wonderful MVC staff provide the most compassionate care to the elderly at a time in their lives when they need it the most. They are truly heroes serving heroes! I will sincerely miss my MVC teammates, but know that I am leaving them in very capable hands.”

Led by the appointed commissioners, the Missouri Veterans Commission has begun the process of selecting a new executive director.

Deputy Director Ryon Richmond will serve as the MVC Interim Executive Director while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement. Richmond is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University and the Army War College. Richmond has over 30 years of service with the U.S. Army and Missouri Army National Guard, retiring as a colonel in 2017. Richmond held many leadership posts during his career and concluded his career as the Joint Force HQ Deputy U.S Property and Fiscal Officer at National Guard headquarters in Jefferson City. Before joining MVC in 2019, he was the Training and Exercise Program Manager at the State Emergency Management Agency.

The Missouri Veterans Commission serves 485,000 Missouri veterans through the selfless service of 1,650 employees in seven State Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and its Veterans Services Program.