VOICES: Every day is Veterans Day for this office

You probably noticed Veterans Day back on November 11. You saw the signs, some government offices were closed and the banks were closed. However, most folks went to work or school like any other Friday and didn’t notice the holiday that is meant to honor our Veterans.

For most of Montgomery County’s 40,000 Veterans, the day of observance is nice. Some will enjoy the free appetizer during dinner out or a complimentary donut and coffee that is offered to Veterans on the day that marked the end of World War I.

I am privileged to work alongside Veterans and for Veterans at the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission. The MCVSC is a county office created by law in the 1800′s that is tasked with caring for our Veterans.

All of them.

Every day we see Veterans who need a little help. Sometimes that help is easy, like making sure an elderly or disabled Veteran has transportation to a medical appointment. Sometimes it’s a bit more complicated, like an eviction notice or utility shut-off notice that needs addressed as soon as possible. The team here helps with that, too. Every day.

Every day, we see Veterans from every era of service and from all branches. They come from the most affluent of ZIP codes to the poorest. We serve them all.

The staff here helps them navigate mountain of bills and uncertainty in the wake of job loss or illness. We then can provide the assistance needed to keep the lights on and the rent paid. We make sure their pantry and fridge are full so they can focus on getting back on their feet.

Every day, the small team of Veteran Service Officers work alongside Veterans assisting them in obtaining the Veterans Administration benefits they have earned. Many times, that means spending hours with a Veteran to understand their service history, injuries or illnesses that came from their service, and fighting with them for the compensation they’ve earned.

On average, the office welcomes 16 Veterans a day to speak with a service officer or our staff attorney. A Veterans Day every day.

This year, those days and visits have added up to more than $250,000 worth of direct aid to local veterans in need and almost $4 million dollars of VA Compensation recovered on behalf of our injured or ill Veterans. On top off that, our Veterans Legal Counsel has seen more than 500 Veterans for free legal advice, saving Veterans more than $170,000 in legal fees. Our Transportation Program has provided more than 900 rides to medical appointments insuring our Veterans get to where they need to be safely and on time.

Every day, we get to hear the stories and give help.

Help that is real and tangible. The MCVSC supplies that emergency financial assistance, provides dependable medical transportation, gives groceries and grants access to free legal representation. Sometimes it’s a simple phone call helping them successfully navigate the VA bureaucracy. No matter the reason for their visit or call, we are honored to serve them, whenever they need.

If you know a Veteran in need, our doors are open all year. We would love to see them.

Bryan Suddith is the Administration Officer for the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission. You can reach Montgomery County Veterans Services at 937-225-4801 or on the web at mcvsc.org.

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