For 24/7 counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 988, Press 1. You may also call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (1-844-693-5838) or dial 211.


Governor Appoints Hartsell Veterans’ Affairs Director

May 4, 2021

Cabinet Members Unanimously Approve

TALLAHASSEE – Retired Marine Corps Major General James S. “Hammer” Hartsell was appointed Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs by Gov. Ron DeSantis during the May 4, 2021 Cabinet Meeting. Florida’s three Cabinet Officers unanimously approved the appointment.

“We appreciate you and thank you for your service to our country,” said Governor DeSantis in offering his congratulations.

FDVA is ‎a 1,500-member ‎constitutionally chartered State Veterans’ Affairs department with a $160 ‎million annual budget ‎responsible for serving the nation’s third largest veteran population. ‎Operating as the premier point of entry for Florida’s 1.5 million veterans, FDVA operates a ‎‎network of seven state veterans’ homes and provides outreach to connect veterans ‎‎with their earned services, benefits and support. Two additional state veterans’ homes will open in the second half of 2021.    ‎

“There is no higher calling than veterans serving veterans. I’m very honored to receive this appointment and thank Governor DeSantis and the Cabinet for their faith in me,” said General Hartsell. “Working together and building on our previous successes, we’ll ensure Florida continues to be the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.”

The general served with honor for 37 years of active and reserve duty, beginning as an enlisted Marine ‎in 1981 and completing a distinguished and highly decorated military career as a Major ‎General.‎

His 22-year civilian career in the Healthcare Industry included serving in ‎Marketing, Product Management, U.S. and Global Business Development, Hospital ‎Administration and Healthcare Leadership. Upon retirement from the Marine Corps, he ‎moved back to his home state of Florida and joined the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, where he stood ‎up the Future Operations Division.

Appointed as deputy executive director of the Florida ‎Department of Veterans’ Affairs in April 2019, he had been performing the duties of Agency Head since June 2020.‎

For more information on FDVA, visit