Hinsdale veteran gives back at VA hospitals
Michael A. Anaya, Sr. of Hinsdale is medical center director for the Jesse Brown VA MEdical Center, and is serving concurrently as interim director of the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.
Job: director of Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and interim director of Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.
Birthplace: Truth or Consequences, N.M., a town named after the popular radio and TV game show.
Honors: October Veteran of the Month from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. Volunteers of America honoree at Veterans Leadershipo Luncheon. Other honorees are Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Scott Humphrey, executive managing director of U.S. Mergers and Acquisitions and U.S. Industrial Investment Banking for BMO Capital Markets; and Verizon Wireless.
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:03AM
HINSDALE — Michael A. Anaya, Sr., needed his parent’s signatures to enter the Air Force in 1979 because he was underage.
In spite of his youth, Anaya’s commanding officers immediately identified his leadership potential, putting him in charge of a couple of pharmacy troops when he was 18.
Three decades later, after serving 22 years in the Air Force and the Navy, Anaya is medical center director for the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and has served concurrently as interim director of the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.
“I literally have lived a blessed life. I am very thankful for the things I’ve had an opportunity to do and the people I’ve had an opportunity to interact with,” the Hinsdale resident said.
Anaya is one of four honorees to be recognized Nov. 9, during Volunteers of America’s fourth annual Veterans Leadership Luncheon. Other honorees are Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Scott Humphrey, executive managing director of U.S. Mergers and Acquisitions and U.S. Industrial Investment Banking for BMO Capital Markets; and Verizon Wireless.
A fourth-generation Mexican-American, Anaya was born 50 years ago in Truth or Consequences, N.M., a town named after a popular radio and television game show.
Anaya moved up the ranks, eventually serving on the staff of the surgeon general of the Navy, in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and with TRICARE insurance . He retired as a lieutenant commander in 2001.
At Jeese Brown, Anaya oversees a staff of 2,000 who provide care to about 62,000 veterans on a budget of $350 million.
“I’ve always believed that I’ve had a responsibility to serve, and it hasn’t gone away just because I took the uniform off,” he said.
Rodrigo Garcia, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, recognized Anaya as Veteran of the Month in October.
“It was quite an easy selection for us,” he said. “It just blew out of the papers when we were looking through Mr. Anaya’s package.”
Nancy Hughes Moyer, president of Volunteers of America, said Anaya is receiving her organization’s Medal of Honor for providing “time and intellectual capital” necessary for the veterans who become residents of VOA’s Hope Manor shelter near West Humboldt Park.
Through a strong collaborative relationship, she said, about 65 percent of Hope Manor’s residents are referred by
“It’s been incredibly refreshing to see someone with a reformer’s heart and a reformer’s vision in that position,” she said. “He’s really willing to confront institutional thinking. There are no sacred cows with Michael.”