Paul Galanti has announced that he will step down from his role as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services effective next month, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He has held the office for over 4 years, beginning the job in April 2010. Galanti’s wife of 51 years, Phyllis, was instrumental in fighting for her husband’s release and the release of other prisoners. The Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center was built in the couple’s honor at the Virginia War memorial.
Galanti served in the Vietnam War and became a nationally recognized prisoner of war after his U.S. Navy Skyhawk was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966. He was held as a POW for almost seven years.
Governor McAuliffe said of Galanti, “He led our Department of Veterans Services with great skill, compassion, and dedication and has ensured the commonwealth is well-postured to continue to serve our rapidly growing veteran population. Paul will be greatly missed, and I wish him well in his long-delayed and well-deserved retirement.”