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At the end of May, Linn County Veterans Affairs Director Don Tyne is retiring after 18 years. In light of social distancing needs and restrictions on social gatherings due to COVID-19, a retirement reception will not be held. Anyone who would like to acknowledge Tyne’s retirement and service to Linn County veterans may send a note or card addressed to him and mail it to Linn County Community Services Building, 1240 26th Ave. Court SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.
Tyne was hired as Linn County’s veterans affairs director in 2002 and is a nationally certified veteran service officer. As director, Tyne oversaw and administered the operation of Linn County Commission of Veteran Affairs (LCCVA), implemented the LCCVA general policy, and directed assistance programs for eligible veterans and their dependents to ensure that they applied for and received all benefits due them. Tyne also managed a staff of four who, together, helped provide service to Linn County veterans.
Tyne worked in the social work field for more than 40 years. He served 34 years in the military with three years on active duty as an enlisted soldier and four years active duty as an officer. Tyne served as a Captain during Desert Storm.
In June 2006, Tyne was selected as one of five "Freedom Festival Heroes." In 2007, the Veteran Memorial Commission voted Tyne as Veteran of the Year for Linn County. In 2008, East Central Iowa Brain Injury Association named him Professional of the Year. In 2013, Tyne was awarded the Don W. Maniccia HACAP award for his years of community service. In 2018, Tyne established the first Suicide Prevention Coalition in Iowa. The Coalition collaborated with Iowa City VA Mental Health Services, Foundation 2 Crisis Center, and other local community mental health programs. Tyne received the Community Service Award from Cedar Rapids Rough Riders for his service to veterans and his work with the homeless in 2019.
Tyne has served several local organizations during his tenure, including the Iowa County Association of County Service Officers, Linn County Aging Advocacy Council, Freedom From Hunger, Local Homeless Coordinating Board, Continuum of Care, Wheelchair Ramp Accessibility Program Elderly Consortium, Kirkwood Community College Alumni Board, Heritage Agency on Aging, and the Willis Dady Homeless Shelter. Tyne was also a key organizer for the annual Five Seasons Stand Down, a resource fair for the homeless and near-homeless, and he helped community partners coordinate the annual Linn County Sleep Out for the Homeless.
“I really, really love helping veterans,” Tyne said. “I will miss seeing our veterans daily, hearing their stories, and helping them and their families. I’ve been blessed to have this job.”
“Don is a true advocate for veterans. He displayed his passion for his work every day. Don’s retirement is well-deserved, and we thank him for his many years of service to our country and to Linn County veterans," Linn County Board of Supervisors Chair Ben Rogers said.
Linn County Community Services Director David Thielen will supervise the Veterans Affairs Department until a replacement VA director is hired. Recruitment will begin in June.