SIDNEY — The year 2018 came with a change in leadership at the Shelby County Veterans Services and a refocus on outreach efforts, so that the organization may serve as many veterans in Shelby County as possible.
“In May, Executive Director and County Veteran Service Officer Ed Ball retired after 18 years of service to veterans of Shelby County. He left a legacy of fighting for veterans’ benefits for those who fought for us,” said Chris North, the new executive director. “He passed his torch over to me.”
Along with my team, Veteran Service Officer Theresa Manteuffel and Veteran Service Officer Sherrye Lamma, we will continue to reach out to more veterans, connect them to their benefits, and provide for those in need.
North’s report continues:
During this year, we had several events that allowed us to meet face to face with veterans and talk to them about their benefits. They included, but weren’t limited to: emergency financial relief, health benefits, education, disability compensation and non-service connected pension.
Those events included two Veteran Benefit Workshops. Both were held at the Sidney American Legion Post 217. The events included a hot meal and a free haircut to those who desired one. We had a great group of local hair stylists and barbers volunteer their time to give back to our veterans. Along with food and haircuts, we provided a benefit presentation, health care signup and veteran ID cards. Over 120 veterans attended each event. We will continue to do these events in 2019 because we believe they are a great way to reach out to veterans and connect them to the benefits they earned and deserve.
Along with our workshops we were able to provide 300 Christmas hams to veterans of Shelby County. Our goal was to get vets into our office, not only to give them a ham, but to interact with them on an individual basis and provide them our brochure explaining how we may be able to help them in the future.
Over the summer, we were invited to take part in a golf outing by the Annual National Charity Golf Outing. They raised enough money to provide Christmas gifts to seven veterans and their families. We are so thankful that they thought of our veterans for their first charity golf outing. Thank you to the Annual National Charity Golf Outing for your generosity to our veterans.
Along with the golf outing, we had our annual Veterans’ Day event at the Shelby County Fair. This is always a great way for veterans to come together and chat with each other, have a small dinner and enjoy live entertainment. We gave out several tickets to Dayton Dragons games and a few Visa Gift Cards as door prizes. Our food for this event is always donated by Fair Haven of Sidney. They do an amazing job.
We provide emergency financial assistance for those veterans and widows who are in need, including paying rent, utilities and food. During this year we provided approximately $165,000 in emergency financial relief for over 570 veterans, widows and their families.
We also provide transportation to and from VA Medical Center appointments in Dayton and Lima, as well as to any VA assigned appointment as long as we have a driver available. We transported over 600 veterans in 2018 alone.
Our team goal is to continue reaching out to as many Shelby County veterans as we can, connecting them to the benefits they have earned, and coming up with new ideas to serve them in 2019.