The state’s adjutant general and a Sparks man who has volunteered thousands of hours to the Veterans Administration were recognized Friday for their service to their fellow Nevadans.
The Nevada Department of Veteran Services honored Brig. Gen. William R. Burks, the adjutant general, as Veteran of the Month and Billy Greenwood, Veteran Supporter of the Month, who has volunteered more than 8,000 hours helping veterans at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System.
The presentations were conducted in the Nevada State Capitol Building’s Old Assembly Chambers.
NDVS Director Kat Miller said Burks’ support of veterans and families has gone beyond what’s expected of an adjutant general. Burks, who has been in the Nevada National Air Guard for 40 years, became the state’s adjutant general in June 2009.
Miller also commended Burks for his involvement in establishing programs that give veterans an opportunity to find meaningful employment and expanded the Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program that promotes cooperation and understanding between civilian employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees.
Burks shared the credit for his recognition.
“It’s all about the team,” he said referring to the men and women who serve in the Nevada National Guard. “We have superstars working for me everywhere.”
Burks also thanked Gov. Brian Sandoval, who was in Spain on a trade mission, for his commitment to the Silver State’s National Guard and other military services. The adjutant general said Sandoval has made Nevada one of the most veteran-friendly states in the country.
“I’m honored to be on his team,” Burks added.
After the ceremony, Burks said he had no idea he was being selected for June’s Veteran of the Month. He elaborated on his staff, saying they not only provide assistance to National Guard members but also to other services.
During the recession when, he said, events became tough for servicemen and women, his team reached out.
“We helped the veterans out as much as we have helped our own folks,” he added.
Scott Anderson, chief deputy from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, thanked Burks for his service to the National Guard and how he worked with Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to ensure soldiers in the 485th Military Police Co., who were deployed to Kuwait, voted in the 2016 elections.
Burks grew up in Reno, attended Wooster High School and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in accounting. He’s also a licensed certified public accountant. He also holds a master’s in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.
His military career with the Nevada Air National Guard began in 1977 when he was selected to attend navigator training for the 152nd Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Reno.
He’s a master navigator with more than 2,000 flying hours and is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm with 29 combat sorties.
Army veteran Andy LePeilbet nominated Greenwood.
“He’s a quiet man with a giant, giving heart,” LePeilbet said in his introductory remarks.
LePeilbet commended Greenwood for his volunteerism at the Veterans Administration hospital in Reno that began in 2005 in recreation therapy and as a red carpet escort. When not at the VA hospital, LePeilbet said Greenwood is volunteering at other events such as Vet Homeless Showdowns, Thanksgiving and Christmas feeds, setup and taken down for the monthly disabled veterans’ meeting and assisting with Honor Flight Nevada events for veterans.
“Billy comes every day with a smile on his face and friendly heart for all veterans,” LePeilbet said.
Additionally, LePeilbet said Greenwood has also welcomed home deployed Nevada National Guard members.
Mark Sutliff, the military/veterans’ regional representative for Sen. Dean Heller, commended the honorees and presented Senatorial Certificates of Appreciation to both men.