New VA director - Yolando Loveless

WATERLOO — A Waterloo native and U.S. Navy veteran has been chosen to lead the Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs Commission.

Yolando Loveless has been appointed as the executive director of the agency tasked with helping area military veterans get the benefits they’ve earned.

Commission members voted unanimously last week to select Loveless from 17 applications. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the appointment.

Loveless takes over for Kevin Dill, who directed the commission for three years before resigning earlier this year after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

A 54-year-old graduate of Waterloo East High School, Loveless served for 30 years in the Navy before retiring in 2014. He worked at a veteran call center in Atlanta before returning to Waterloo in 2015.

After working six months as a mail carrier, Loveless was hired as an office specialist under Dill’s supervision at the county VA office. He was laid off recently when union transfer rules bumped him out of a job.

Loveless said he was excited to return to the office and help local veterans, saying he has big shoes to fill.

“I’m not Kevin Dill; I’m Yolando,” he said. “But I do have a lot of what Kevin has shown me, and I’m going to carry that with me.

“He taught me a lot about caring for your veterans. Kevin showed me the humility part. He showed me how to take care of a veteran … so when that veteran goes in and leaves the office he knows he’s been catered to.”

Loveless will take the reins as the commission is preparing to create a veterans center by expanding its footprint in the Pinecrest Office Building. That project, which Dill has been promoting, is tentatively funded in the next county budget.

County Supervisor Craig White thanked Dill, who showed up to watch Loveless get appointed, for his leadership.

“Kevin did a 360-degree turnaround of that department and it’s running quite well,” White said. “I have faith in Yolando that he’ll do the same thing. I’ve got a lot of faith in the young man.”

Loveless officially starts Monday at an annual salary of $61,000.