Governor Mills Inducts Veterans Into Aides-de-Camp Program During Inaugural Meeting

October 13, 2021

Earlier this week, Governor Janet Mills held her first meeting of the recently reinvigorated Aides-de-Camp program, an advisory council of military veterans who advise the Governor on policies impacting Maine veterans.

On October 6th, eleven veterans representing all branches of military services, as well as two members of Governor Mills cabinet who are veterans – Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck and Corrections Commissioner Randy Liberty – were inducted into the Aides-de-Camp program at Camp Chamberlain by Governor Mills and Major General Douglas Farnham, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. 

Photo: Major General Douglas Farnham (left), PO3 James Bachelder (center), and  Governor Janet Mills (right) at the Aides-de-Camp induction ceremony
Major General Douglas Farnham (left), PO3 James Bachelder (center), and Governor Janet Mills (right) at the Aides-de-Camp induction ceremony.(Sarah Sherman Photo)

Governor Mills delivered welcoming remarks and, along with Major General Farnham, awarded the newly-appointed veterans with certificates. Bureau of Veterans Services (BVS) Director David Richmond and Director of Strategic Partnerships Sarah Sherman provided a briefing about ongoing veterans programs and advocacy efforts in the state, including the Mobile Homeless Veterans Stand Down program, veterans’ suicide prevention efforts, the Maine Veterans’ Dental Program, and other veteran related issues. The Aides-de-Camp also received up to date status reports on several of the Bureau’s other ongoing operations and engaged in a question and answer session.

“As someone who comes from a military family, I deeply appreciate the service and sacrifice of Maine veterans and their loved ones,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Maine has the largest percentage of veterans per capita in the nation, and these Aides-camp-positions will create an important line of communication between them and state government. I am grateful for the work of my Aides-de-Camp and look forward to continuing our efforts to improve services and opportunities for veterans across Maine.”

“The Aides-de-Camp program will assist the Bureau greatly in its efforts to advocate for Maine’s veterans,” said David Richmond, BVS Director. “It was evident by the enthusiasm in the room that we have just gained a remarkable level of experienced veterans that want to work together to help Maine’s veterans on a multitude of levels including homelessness, Substance Abuse Disorder, transition from the military to civilian work and life, female veterans’ health issues, and veteran students.”

The Aides-de-Camp will meet quarterly at Camp Chamberlain and the inductees will strive to improve the lives of Maine’s veterans while serving as liaisons between their own communities and Governor Mills. The Aides-de-Camp inductees included:

  • MAJ David Hassen, Augusta 
  • SGT Jessica Brennan, Farmington 
  • CSM Gretchen Evans, Brunswick 
  • COL Lori Sussman, Windham 
  • MAJ Brenda Pennels, Scarborough 
  • SFC Jerry DeWitt, New Gloucester
  • LT Scott Hanson, Yarmouth
  • PO3 James Bachelder, Acton             
  • SGT Craig Florey, Kenduskeag
  • CPL Gary Bies, Lincoln
  • LT Whitney McKay, Eliot

About Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services

The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services was established in 1947 by the State of Maine and is part of the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. Our mission is to help Mainers who served, and their loved ones, understand and navigate the benefits, services, and programs available to them. The Bureau does this by being a responsive, experienced, and dedicated advocate. The Bureau is headquartered at Camp Keyes and has seven field service offices located throughout the state and a claims office located at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Togus, Maine. The Bureau also operates the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery System which includes four veterans’ cemeteries. For more information about the Bureau or to request assistance, please visit our website at www.maine.gov/veterans.