GDVS Announces New Directors in Health and Memorials

June 18, 2018

The Georgia Department of Veterans Service has two new Directors in Health and Memorials.

Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Service, Mike Roby, announced his appointment of Russell Feagin to be the Director of the Health and Memorials division. He also announced the appointment of Tonya Jarrett as the department’s new Clinical Director for the division.

“I am pleased to make these appointments,” Commissioner Roby said. “They bring an incalculable amount of knowledge and experience to the department. Their expertise in healthcare and memorial services will be essential for providing the best care for Georgia’s veterans and their families.”

Operating out of the Georgia War Veterans Home (GWVH) in Milledgeville, Russell Feagin will leave retirement to rejoin the GDVS as the Director of the Health and Memorials division.

A Dublin native, Feagin joined the U.S. Army in 1973. He retired as a major in 1993 and began working in private business. Feagin first joined the GDVS in April of 2001 as the assistant director of the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Milledgeville. In 2009, he was appointed as the cemetery director and held that position until his brief retirement in July of 2017.

In his new role, Feagin is responsible for the supervision and planning of both GDVS memorial cemeteries and the GWVH. He is also responsible for ensuring Georgia’s veterans and their families are courteously and respectfully assisted at the home and cemeteries.

The state maintains two veterans cemeteries, located in Milledgeville and in Glennville. They provide memorial services, burials, and upkeep of graves for veterans and their eligible family members at no cost to the veteran.

The state also operates two veterans nursing homes, located in Milledgeville and Augusta. Both homes provide continuous, professional skilled nursing care to Georgia’s war veterans. GWVH Milledgeville is operated under a contractual agreement with United Veteran Services of Georgia, Inc., a subsidiary of the UHS-Pruitt Corporation. The Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta is operated through an interagency agreement with Augusta University.

Tonya Jarrett is joining the GDVS as the department’s Clinical Director, a new role intended to oversee daily healthcare operations at GWVH Milledgeville.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Georgia in 1991, Jarrett began practicing as an occupational therapist in 1992. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling with an emphasis in military resilience.

Jarrett has worked in healthcare for over 20 years. She has experience in administration, management, and treatment roles in inpatient and outpatient clinics, as well as long-term care. She is a member of several nationally recognized occupational therapist organizations.

Jarrett’s duties include oversight over the development and implementation of new healthcare initiatives at the GWVH in Milledgeville for the new sub-acute rehab therapy unit scheduled to open in 2019. Since 2015, Jarrett has served as a consultant to the department to develop and plan the sub-acute rehab therapy unit.

The sub-acute rehab therapy unit will provide specialized medical care for veterans who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. The unit will also provide care and occupational therapy for veterans who have suffered from an amputation. Every veteran treated at the unit will have a personalized care plan, with training and therapy provided for their family members and caretakers.

Both new directors will report directly to Assistant Commissioner Dan Holtz (Administration, Health & Memorials), who directly reports to Commissioner Roby. Jarrett will begin in her new role on June 18, 2018. Feagin officially rejoins the department on July 1, 2018.

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For more information on the content of this news release, please contact the GDVS Public Information Division at 404-656-5933 or gavetsvc@vs.state.ga.us.