The paint is still fresh and a back meeting room is not quite completed, however, the Fayette County Veterans Service Commission has taken occupancy of Room 404 of the county building at 133 South Main St. in Washington C.H.
The Service Center is under the leadership of service officer and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Amy Jackson.
When the Fayette County Board of Elections moved to their new offices, the county commissioners chose to upgrade those empty offices and offer them to the Veterans Service Commission. The move has almost doubled the office space for the employees. The separate meeting room allows more space for veterans on crutches or in wheelchairs to maneuver. Also, the additional space allows Jackson and secretary/investigator, Karla Morrison, more privacy when talking with veterans about their benefits or needs.
The biggest improvement is the windows. Jackson and Morrison have both noted a slight increase in the number of veterans visiting the new offices and the reason is the light. There were no windows in the basement offices. Many veterans suffer with PTSD and one of the results of that disorder is the difficulty or inability to go into dark places or to experience the feeling of being closed in. That is no longer an issue with the new offices. The new offices are open and easily accessible. Jackson and Morrison have also heard from several spouses of veterans confirming how much easier it is for the veterans to access the Service Center.
Since 1886, all Ohio counties have operated under the Veterans Service Commission to provide service and assistance to veterans. This provision, which is considered to be an earned benefit for veterans, is based on county taxes and that amounts to five-10ths of each Fayette County taxpayer dollar going to the Service Center.
Some of the services the Fayette Service Center offers to veterans are help with V.A. claims, help with paperwork for medical benefits, V.A. loan eligibility, educational benefits, communication with the V.A., burial benefits, grave markers/flag holders, notary services, assisting unemployed veterans with job searches, and, maintaining a file of important veteran documents.
The Fayette County Service Center is also available to provide temporary financial assistance to veterans, their spouses, dependent children and surviving widows. The Service Center does not view the granting of emergency assistance as welfare. Rather, it is seen as an earned benefit due Fayette County veterans who qualify.
The Service Center Commission is comprised of five veterans from Fayette County representing the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Amvets, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. These commissioners serve five-year terms and must attend mandatory district and regional training four times a year in order to stay up-to-date with legislative changes for veteran benefits and financial assistance. Currently seated as commissioners for Fayette County are: President John Mason (Amvets), Vice President Eddie J. Wynne (VFW), Secretary Edward E. Fisher (AL), Charles T. Harris, at large, and, Robert L. Malone (DAV).
This is a Fayette County agency with Fayette County veterans serving as commissioners and providing services to Fayette County veterans. The commissioners are active within the county, and Jackson makes herself available to veterans not only in the office but in various locations where veterans gather, such as the American Legion once a month breakfast open to the public. If a veteran is unable to come into the office, home visits may be arranged.
The mission of the Fayette County Veterans Service Center “is to serve fellow veterans while according them the highest respect and dignity.” The new office space can only enhance the services currently being provided to our local veterans.