Terrence Hayes was appointed press secretary and official spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs January 20, 2021. In this role, Terrence is responsible for addressing all national, regional and local media inquiries and interview requests on behalf of the VA Secretary.
Prior to serving as VA press secretary, Terrence served as the national director of communications and public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His duties included serving as spokesperson for the more than 1.4 million-member organization on issues ranging from national security and foreign affairs to the proper care and treatment of veterans, service members and their families.
Terrence, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, served in the U.S. Army from 1996 to 2016, deploying to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2006 to March 2008. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3rd award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (3rd award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2nd award), Army Good Conduct Medal (6th award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (one bronze star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (3rd award), Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd award).
Prior to his position at the VFW, Terrence served as a public affairs officer and emergency response coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he was responsible for answering all national, regional and local media queries on behalf of Secretaries David Shulkin and Robert Wilkie. Terrence concluded his military career at the Pentagon serving as public affairs adviser to the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from November 2011 to January 2016. In this role, he served as principal public affairs adviser and spokesperson for the defense department’s top-enlisted service member.
Terrence earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Maryland Global College in Adelphi, Maryland, and a master’s degree in both strategic communication and management (organizational leadership) from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Terrence is a member of the U.S. Army’s distinguished Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, the National Press Club and the National Association of Black Journalists.
He and his wife, Chelsey, reside in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.