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Office of Veterans Affairs Staff

Robert E. Burke - Director

Robert directs the day-to-day operations of the Office of Veterans Affairs. He leads the team in ensuring that Vermont's veterans receive the state and federal benefits they deservedly earned. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy having retired in 2012 after 28 years of Active and Reserve duty. He has served tours of duty both afloat and ashore as a Special Operations Officer; Diving and Salvage. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom having served as Officer in Charge of the Joint CREW Field Office attached to Joint Task Force Paladin from March 2007 to April 2008 in Afghanistan. His last tour of duty was as a Military Professor at the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island from 2008 until 2012.

Chance Payette - Veteran Service Officer I

Chance started with our office in December of 2023 and is currently completing the certification requirements.  Once certified, Chance will be meeting with veterans or their survivors to file claims for VA Benefits.  Chance served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Machine gunner, including a tour in Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Jeffrey Brooks - Veteran Service Officer I

Jeff is a Certified Veterans Service Officer, meeting with veterans or their survivors to file claims for VA Benefits. Jeff conducts outreach in Bennington, Orange, Rutland, Windham and Windsor counties. He has been with our office since May 2019. Jeff retired from the VT Army National Guard with 34+ years of service including tours in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

Jessica Tibbitts - Veteran Service Officer I

Jessica is a Certified Veterans Service Officer, meeting with veterans or their survivors to file claims for VA Benefits.  She has been serving Vermonters in State Government since 2012 and joined our office in 2022.  Jessica has many family members who have served in our armed forces, leading her to have a great appreciation of the sacrifice our veterans and their families make for our country.

Jill Dunkling - Veteran Service Officer I

Jill is a Certified Veterans Service Officer, meeting with veterans or their survivors to file claims for VA Benefits. Jill conducts outreach throughout the state. She has been with the office since October 2023, previously serving Vermonters in the non-profit sector.  She has years of experience working with various community partnerships throughout the state.  She has many family members who are veterans, dating back to World War II, and is grateful to have this opportunity to support veterans.

Collin Johnson - District Facilities Supervisor

Collin supervises the maintenance staff at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  He is involved with every aspect of the cemetery, from horticulture to mortuary affairs.  Collin began full time employment at the cemetery in August 2018. He obtained his degree in Landscape Design and Sustainable Horticulture from VTC in May 2017.  Collin also has a background in equipment operation and small business management.  He worked as a temp employee at the cemetery during burial season in 2015 and 2016.

Jennifer St. Jean - Educational Consultant, State Approving Authority

Jennifer St. Jean joined OVA in 2016. She oversees all educational programs in Vermont that accept the GI Bill.  Jennifer reviews and processes program approvals, new facility approvals and conducts compliance surveys on behalf of the VA.  Jennifer has five years of teaching experience abroad and previous state government work.