Grand County Veterans Service reaches out | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Veterans Service reaches out

KATIE LOOBY
klooby@grandcountynews.com
Grand County, Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand County, Colorado, Veterans Service Officer Dave Jones hopes to know all the veterans in the area, and make sure they are receiving the benefits they deserve.

“My goal is to meet every veteran in Grand County,” said the retired navy master chief petty officer, who also serves as Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars for Post 9374 in Kremmling and Grand County.

Jones is encouraging all veterans in Grand County to contact him, so he can assist them, or they can share their story over a cup of coffee.

Some of the people who have served are unaware of the rights they have, and meeting with the officer is a good place to start, he said.

“It’s getting to the truth of the matter so we can help them,” he said. “We connect names, we connect dots ” it’s kind of like doing an investigation. We put all that together. The veterans service office is there to help veterans through any issues or needs that they have.”

The office is located in the District Attorney’s Office in Grand County, 416 Byers Ave., Hot Sulphur Springs, below the Grand County Administration Building. Jones’ office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Veterans have a lot of pride, and after serving their country they don’t want to come home and ask for help even when their insurance is running out or they are faced with other challenges, Jones said.

“A lot of times it’s used as a guidance,” Jones said of the office. “Families will come to try to seek care for seniors.”

If an 80-year-old veteran’s daughter doesn’t have the paperwork to show that her father served, the officer can help the family find his discharge papers.

“The change of economy is going to probably make the veteran think more about what are some of their rights, and about those issues,” Jones said.

Veterans may also bring in their DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to file with the County. The form will not be released to the public without permission.

The Grand County Veterans Service Office also provides information about health, education and links to job help. It hopes to gather the names and addresses of veterans in order to send them information about changes and new information for veterans. The office supports anyone who’s been in the armed services.

Grand County has at least 1,500 veterans, including WWII veterans, Jones said.

“We have a lot of people who moved into our county,” he said. “I think it’s just because they like beautiful Colorado and the small community.”

However, many of the WWII veterans are originally from Grand County, he said.

“We have a lot of young people who are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans,” Jones said. “We have a lot of people in this county still serving.”

The Grand County commissioners appoint the county veterans service officer for two years. The officer works with the state and then the state works with the federal government.

“It’s a large part of the U.S. budget,” Jones added.

The county commissioners support the service and have boosted the position to 20 hours per week from four hours per week.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or klooby@grandcountynews.com.

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