Missouri veterans boss seeks old job at Cape home

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- After more than a 18 months as executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, Samuel E. McVay hopes to return to his old job as administrator of the Cape Girardeau Veterans Home this summer.

McVay said he enjoys running the day-to-day operations of the commission, which oversees Missouri's veterans home and cemetery systems and other programs, but recent health problems and a desire to return to his native Southeast Missouri have prompted him to request a demotion.

"People are always suspicious when you make a move like this, but when your 60-year-old body starts speaking to you, you ought to listen," McVay said.

McVay was administrator at the Cape Girardeau home for 7 1/2 years before moving to the state capital in December 2000 to become the commission's executive director.

Since the home's last administrator, Bruce Jansen, left for a private sector job last month, McVay has been spending a lot of time in Cape Girardeau getting reacquainted with the facility and its staff and easing back into the administrator's position.

However, McVay said the job change won't be official unless the five-member Veterans Commission agrees to it.

Board approval

Commission chairman Carl H. Niewoehner of Columbia said the panel will endorse McVay's request at its Aug. 12 meeting -- assuming members can't convince him to change his mind.

"We are trying to talk him out of it because he has done an absolutely fabulous job," Niewoehner said.

While commissioners would prefer McVay stay put, Niewoehner said, they understand his reasons for wanting the change and would be grateful to keep him on in the reduced role he's seeking.

Niewoehner said the commission won't seek a new executive director until it is certain that McVay will step down. In that event, Niewoehner said Ron Taylor, the commission's superintendent of services and cemeteries, is a strong candidate to replace him.

Taylor, a finalist for the post when McVay was chosen, has been the commission's point man in developing the state veterans cemetery system, which will include a facility in Bloomfield, Mo., that is slated to open next year.

McVay said he and his wife wanted to move back to Southeast Missouri to be closer to their parents, who live in New Madrid and Mississippi counties and are in their late 80s.

"There is something about coming back to sweet little old home that just feels good," McVay said.

In April, McVay retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of colonel after 28 years of service.

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

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