Haslam Names National Guard Colonel Next Veterans Commissioner

Press Release from Gov.-elect Bill Haslam; Jan. 14, 2011:

Grinder’s 35-year Career Began in the Army National Guard as an Enlisted Soldier

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam named COL Many-Bears Grinder with the Tennessee Army National Guard as Commissioner of Veterans Affairs.

Grinder was the Director of Logistics for the Tennessee Army National Guard in Nashville. She served previously as the Director of Personnel, overseeing actions from the time that an individual enlists in the National Guard to the retirement process.

“I’m thankful that Many-Bears Grinder agreed to come aboard our team because she adds great experience to what I believe is an already outstanding group,” Haslam said. “Her thorough knowledge of the issues facing veterans in our state will directly benefit those who served.”

Grinder is a member of several military and veterans associations, including the Military Officers’ Association, American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America.

As Director of Logistics, Grinder supervised more than 340 personnel across the state in service activities, facilities, equipment and support mission requirements. She was responsible for a more than $35 million budget and is a certified Defense Financial Manager, the Defense equivalent of a certified public accountant.

“I am honored to serve Gov.-elect Haslam as well as the men and women who have served their country in the Armed Forces in this capacity,” Grinder said. “Although I will miss wearing the uniform, I will be able to continue my bond with service members, their families and survivors.”

Grinder has master’s in Strategic Studies from Army War College and a master’s in Human Resource Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a Bronze Star Medal recipient, and she is an Operation Enduring Freedom combat veteran.

Grinder’s first name was originally a nickname that stuck, so she legally changed her name. She is married to Ernie, a Vietnam veteran and military retiree. They have two grown step-sons and four grandchildren. She is an active member of Rehoboth United Methodist Church in Gallatin.

A photo of Grinder can be obtained here.

For more information, please visit www.billhaslam.org.