Pritzker tabs Navy veteran to lead Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Chronicle Media

(U.S. Navy photo)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has named Terry Prince, a 31-year United States Navy veteran with experience leading veterans homes in Ohio, to serve as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

“Terry Prince brings to Illinois exemplary experience in caring for our veterans and their families, and I’m deeply proud to welcome him to Illinois as acting director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs,” said Pritzker.

“As the proud son and grandson of Naval officers, it’s my mission that Illinois will provide every possible support for our military men and women, their families and our veterans, and I have complete confidence in Terry’s ability to advance that mission on behalf of those who have made sacrifice upon sacrifice for the nation we proudly call home,” he added.

Most recently, Prince served as superintendent of the Ohio Veterans Homes where he oversaw three facilities, including the nation’s fifth largest skilled nursing home and an independent living community.

Previously, he served as Force Master Chief and director of the United States Navy Hospital Corps. In that role, Prince served as a senior advisor to the surgeon general of the United States Navy and a member of the Navy Medicine’s Executive Steering Committee.

Prior, he served as senior enlisted leader at the Defense Health Agency and at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

As director of the IDVA, he would be responsible for more than 1,200 employees and manage a budget of approximately $150 million for an agency that serves more than 650,000 veterans across the state of Illinois.

Peter Nezamis had been serving as acting director since January when he was asked by Pritzker to replace Linda Chapa LaVia, who stepped down in the wake of oversight investigations into handling of outbreaks of COVID-19 at veterans homes.

Prince began his military career in 1986, serving in the Dental Technician and Hospital Corpsman ratings. He has received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal and many more. He retired from the military in July 2017.

He earned a bachelor of arts from Chapman University and is a graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Command Master Chief Program and the National Defense University Keystone Fellowship.

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