Meet the Speaker: John

MEET THE SPEAKER: John I. “Don” Kaminar is Arkansas’s compact commissioner for the Military Interstate Children’s Commission and chair of the Arkansas State Council. A member of the commission’s executive, he has previously chaired the rules committee and the training committee. At the 2018 Annual Business Meeting, he was elected to a one-year term as the commission’s national chair. HE was re-elected to two additional terms in 2019 and 2020.

Kaminar served as a teacher and administrator in Arkansas schools for 15 years before joining the Arkansas Department of Education as a curriculum specialist. In his current role as military and veterans’ liaison, he assists with resolving education issues for military families and veterans. He also oversees the department’s emergency preparedness program.

Kaminar began his military service in 1983 upon graduation from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign languages and a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry in the Regular Army. After achieving qualification as a paratrooper and Ranger, he served an initial assignment in Germany, followed by six years with the 101st Airborne Division. He left the Regular Army in 1993 to become an educator, but continued to serve for the next 20 years in the Army Reserve. His reserve assignments included units in North Little Rock, Arkadelphia and Oklahoma City. He last served as state emergency preparedness liaison officer for Arkansas before retiring from the Army in 2013 with the rank of colonel.

During his 30 years in uniform, Kaminar has served with the international peacekeeping mission on the Egyptian-Israeli border and in combat in the Persian Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan. He has commanded units at company, battalion and brigade levels and had served on the general staffs of the 90th Regional Readiness Command, the 95th Division and the 101st Airborne Division. He holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Arkansas Exceptional Service Medal, as well as awards from Denmark, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and NATO.

The son, son-in-law and father of combat veterans, Kaminar resides in Maumelle with his wife, Toni.

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