On Day 1, Daniel Zimmerman already was on the ground at the Veterans Home at King, Wis., site of controversy last year regarding quality of care.

   And that’s essentially how he plans to approach his new role as the state’s new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs: out on the road, not behind a desk.

   The Ripon man known for being active on the Ripon Area School Board and his push for a Republican museum in town now will direct that energy to help veterans across Wisconsin.

   Zimmerman, former head of the ROTC at Ripon College and a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army, was named secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs last week Thursday.

   “It’s an opportunity to take care of veterans and give them access to everything they have earned through their service ...,” Zimmerman said. “They’re the ones that secured our democracy and we owe it to them to take care of them.”

   Taking on this larger role, however, means Zimmerman has had to resign from the School Board — a decision he said was not easy to make.

   “It’s difficult, I have to admit. I have a passion for veterans; I [also] have a passion for K-12 educational [too]. I wish I could cover all the bases but I can’t,” he said. “One of my friends said, ‘This is a much higher calling. This is much more important than anything you are working on right now. You need to go make it happen.’ I can’t argue with that; I think I’m the right guy.”

Read the full story in the Feb. 9, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.