More than 23 million U.S. military veterans are eligible for benefits, but only 8 million are using those benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Terry Inman and Earl Jones, both of Kingston, know just how important those benefits can be. Through the Veterans Administration, Inman, a retired Coast Guard senior chief petty officer, received triple-bypass surgery to correct a service-related heart ailment. Jones, a retired Navy captain and Vietnam War veteran, has been treated for exposure to Agent Orange.
Now, both are volunteering in their retirement years to help other veterans and their survivors connect with benefits to which they are entitled.They are among the team of volunteers at the Veterans Service Office at 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, Poulsbo. The office is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The office is paid for and staffed by American Legion Post 245 in Poulsbo. (You may recall that the Veterans Service Office was formerly located down the street in the old North Kitsap Armory, which is now a port-owned parking lot.)
As reported in the story that begins on page A1 of this edition, the Veterans Service Office stands ready to help veterans in a myriad of ways. They’ve helped veterans with service-related injuries or disabilities obtain benefits they earned — benefits that improved their quality of life. They’ve helped veterans obtain medals to which they are entitled. They’ve helped veterans with children obtain one-time American Legion grants so they can meet financial needs. They’ve helped survivors apply for VA-covered funeral costs and survivors benefits.
Now, these officers know their fellow veterans are a proud lot and aren’t apt to ask for help. But here’s what they want you to know, veteran: They don’t want to give you a handout, they want to give you a hand. If you served, you are entitled to certain benefits, and they can help connect you with those benefits.
In an earlier story in the Herald, Inman said he got involved as a veterans service officer after the local office helped him. The VA determined he had a 100-percent service-related disability and he got the life-saving heart surgery he needed. “I thought, ‘Hey, they helped me,’ so I started hanging out in the office,” he said at the time. “Then, they convinced me to become a service officer.”
Veterans, you stood for your country. The Poulsbo Veterans Service Office is standing by you. Visit them at 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, Poulsbo.