Officials praise efforts in Veterans Affairs office
Carbon County officials are proud of the county's Veterans Affairs office.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board talked about the progress the Veterans Affairs office has made over the last three years.
Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that the numbers have jumped over a half million dollars in money secured for veterans.
"It's an amazing story," he said. "Two years ago the county veterans received about $480,000 in compensation of awards through the office. Last year, that number increased to $830,000, and this year, for the three-quarter period that ended in March, that number is up to $1.1 million in monies to county veterans."
He credited Henry Desrosiers, director of the Veterans Affairs office, for his dedication to the people of this community.
Commissioners Wayne Nothstein and Charles Getz echoed O'Gurek's thoughts.
Nothstein spoke about a recent event where Desrosiers helped a veteran secure compensation owed to him.
Getz added that the money raised for county veterans has been surpassing the total amounts larger counties are securing for their veterans.
He also suggested inviting Desrosiers to next week's commissioners' meeting to talk more about the subject.
When asked about his position, Desrosiers said he felt that he was just doing what needs to be done. He also recognized Bonnie Gawlik, credit service officer, who is also in the Veterans Affairs office, for her work in the office.
"I took this job to assist the county's veterans, their families, spouses, and children," he said. "Our main concern is to assist veterans in obtaining their benefits and services allowed to them."
Services could mean compensation, pensions, health care benefits, and more.
Desrosiers urges all veterans to read what's available to them in compensation and benefits.
"If you don't have an idea where to locate this information, contact our office and come see if you are eligible for anything," he said.
To contact the Veterans Affairs office, call (570) 325-3986 or stop by the office, located on the second floor of the courthouse annex in Jim Thorpe. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
In a related matter, Nothstein announced that he will be sitting on the ad hoc committee for veterans affairs, a new committee formed by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
He explained that the group had a brief meeting in Harrisburg this past March to go over some areas that need to be addressed.
Transportation for veterans; as well as family support were two issues Nothstein mentioned that will be covered in the upcoming months.
He added that right now the group is still in the planning phases, but will work toward a platform to help all veterans in need.