Winters resident reappointed Deputy Secretary of Veteran Services

Keith and Amaris Boylan moved to Winters in 2005. They were attracted to the small town community and appreciated how Winters families had such deep roots and generations of families still living in town. Photo by Rick von Geldern/Winters Express

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Gov. Gavin Newsom recently reappointed a Winters resident to the post of Deputy Secretary of Veteran Services at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Keith Boylan has served in this position since 2013 when he was appointed by then Gov. Jerry Brown.

Prior to his appointment, Boylan served as the Government Relations Liaison for the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies (CAVSA), a group of non-profit veteran service providers addressing the needs of California’s veterans.

Boylan is no stranger to the military, veteran service organizations and advocating on behalf of their causes.

At the age of 19 Boylan enlisted in the Army and served on active duty between 1989-1992. He joined the Army to take advantage of GI Bill college benefits and for an opportunity to be stationed in Germany.

Upon completion of his military training to be a Tactical Fire Specialist, Boylan was deployed from his duty station in Augsburg, Germany to Iraq. There he served with the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm — where he saw combat — and Desert Calm.

After his discharge from active duty, Boylan took advantage of his GI Bill benefits and attended San Francisco State University where he earned a degree in filmmaking. After graduation he utilized his filmmaking skills and engaged in advocacy work for Veterans for Peace, (VFP), a worldwide organization of veterans advocating for peace.

Boylan’s work with VFP included work on the Iraq Water Project in southern Iraq city of Basra. The Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed during the war and the project was established to provide clean sustainable water to the Iraqi people in the Al Khaseeb Valley. He also traveled to Vietnam with other VFP vets to build a medical center in the town of My Lia near the location of the My Lia massacre.

Boylan has worked with Swords to Plowshares, a non-profit service organization dedicated to supporting veterans rights. There he advocated for health care and compensation for veterans who suffered health effects due to toxic exposures while in service, including atomic testing, Agent Orange and depleted uranium munition exposures.

Boylan and his wife Amaris, a biochemist, lived in Seville, Spain, and Ireland before returning to California for the birth of their son Terence in 2002. They moved to Winters in 2005 shortly before the birth of their son Kenneth.

Having been raised in the Bay Area, he said they were attracted to the “small town community” that Winters offers. After moving to Winters, he noted there were generations of farming families still residing here. That seemed to confirm that Winters was a good place to live and raise a family. His family roots are in Ireland and he appreciated how Winters families had such deep roots in town.

Boylan is a first generation American. His parents immigrated to the United States from Ireland and settled in Richmond where Boylan and his two siblings were raised. His father worked for Berkeley Farms and his mother was a housewife.

When not working Boylan enjoys European travel, but laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his ability to do so. However, he continues to travel for work as he oversees the delivery of services to the 1.7 million veterans throughout California.

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