Veteran services

Iowa VA director resigns, agencies to shore up veterans services

(Des Moines, IA) – The executive director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs is leaving his post for a job in the private sector. Steve Luken led the IDVA for almost five years.

“I would like to thank Director Lukan for his military service to our nation and the veterans of Iowa throughout his leadership of the IDVA,” said Governor Reynolds. “During his tenure, the department served a record number of veterans, which is to be commended.”

Reynolds appoints Major Matthew Peterson, the current commander of the IVA, as acting executive director of the IDVA. “I look forward to exploring how IDVA and IVH can consolidate into one agency and one team, allowing the state to better coordinate the delivery of all services that support our veterans and their families,” says Reynolds.

A retired U.S. Navy Major and 5th-generation Iowan, Peterson has served in the leadership position at IVH, one of the nation’s largest residential care facilities for veterans in the nation, since July 2021. During this time , he became a licensed practical nurse, established an American Legion post at IVH, and earned a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) every month since becoming a Commandant.

Peterson served more than 20 years in the Marine Corps infantry, deployed seven times, and held a wide range of leadership positions in 30 countries and five continents. He retired from active duty in 2019.

“Major Peterson demonstrated extraordinary leadership during his time at IVH and throughout his military career,” said Governor Reynolds. “I have confidence in his ability to oversee a newly combined agency and its team and ensure that veterans in Iowa continue to receive the quality service they deserve.

“I am honored to be appointed to this position by Governor Reynolds,” said Major Peterson. “Consolidating services into one agency would greatly benefit the Iowa veteran community and their families.”