Meet the Cabinet Secretary
Keith Gwinn was appointed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
as the first Cabinet Secretary for the new Department of Veterans Assistance that was created by legislation which took effect July 1, 2011. This legislation changed the Division of Veterans Affairs to a cabinet level position.
Born in Huntington, West Virginia, Keith is a 1972 graduate of Huntington East High School. He also graduated from Cabell County Career Center with a degree in Electronic Technology.
From 1969 to 1972, he was a member of the West Virginia Civil Defense assisting with the Buffalo Creek flood and the Marshall plane crash disasters. In 1974, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy as an Electronics Technician continuing to serve in the Navy until 1994 upon his retirement as a Chief Electronics Technician (E-7). Keith has been deployed on several ships including the USS South Carolina and the USS Yellowstone. He was stationed in Europe for four years being deployed to the Middle East on several occasions including Beirut and Iraq.
He has been employed with the Division of Veterans Affairs since July 2000 having filled the positions of Veterans Service Officer, Claims Manager, Chief Veterans Affairs Officer and Deputy Director. Keith was officially appointed as Director of Veterans Affairs in June of 2009 by Governor Manchin. He has held the positions of State Department Service Officer for the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars being certified to represent veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals since June 2002. He is a lifetime member of several veteran organizations including the VFW and American Legion.
Keith attended Tidewater Community College while enlisted in the Navy and is currently enrolled at Mountain State University to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Keith is also a member of the Teays Valley Volunteer Fire Department
. A resident of Hurricane, he has two daughters enlisted in the U.S. Army and one son who resides at home.
One of Secretary Gwinn's first missions for the Department is to extend Veterans Outreach
by expanding a program that helps former soldiers by getting social workers into rural West Virginia.