‘I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running . . . it’s an honor’
In announcing appointments to his administration, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has tapped Rappahannock County Supervisor John Lesinski, a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, to fill two state positions overseeing veterans’ affairs.
Northam not only extended the appointment of Lesinski, first made by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, to the Veterans Services Foundation, he also appointed Lesinski to the Board of Veterans Services.
A former Rappahannock School Board member from 2011-2015, Lesinski represents the Hampton district on the BOS.
The supervisor previously served for 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including four years of active duty in flight training command in Pensacola, FL., and Meridian, MS. He was later assigned to Camp Lejeune, NC. He spent an additional 22 years as a U.S. Marine reservist, retiring in 2006 with the rank of full colonel.
“I am particularly honored to be selected by Governor Northam,” Lesinski tells this newspaper, pointing out that the Board of Veterans Services is the “top” veterans board in the commonwealth.
He will fill the seat through at least mid-2020, replacing a board member recently deployed to Afghanistan.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running,” said Lesinski, stressing his BOS responsibilities won’t be impacted by the pair of appointments, the latest involving quarterly meetings in Richmond. “I will make time for it, it’s an honor.”
Maribel Castaneda, coordinator of gubernatorial appointments, said Lesinski and his fellow appointees have authority by statute of Virginia to make those expenditures supporting myriad veterans’ services and programs, “holding the money and the funds and spending it as they see fit.”
“It deals with all matters of veterans benefits in the commonwealth,” Lesinski commented. “That’s a big topic.”
Apart from approving and making allocations of revenue to veterans, the Board of Veterans Services investigates all issues related to the welfare, care and services to veterans; develops policies and procedures related to the effective delivery of services to veterans; monitors all laws concerning veterans and their dependents; and reviews and advises the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services on the department’s strategic plan.
The Veteran Services Foundation administers the Veterans Services Fund, including entering into monetary contracts and executing all instruments necessary to carry out the foundation’s purpose of supporting U.S. military veterans residing in Virginia.