More North Central Indiana Veterans To Be Served Locally

Kokomo — The number of veterans receiving assistance from the Howard County Veterans Service office increased by 23 percent in 2010.

Bob Ladd, the veterans service officer, said in 2010 the number of veterans receiving assistance through the local office increased by 1,800, raising the total to 9,730.

He said the increase is a result of veterans coming back from tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Approximately 20 percent of the veterans receiving assistance are from outside the county and some are from out of state, according to Ladd. He said in some cases, like for veterans residing in Galveston, the Howard County office is a closer and more convenient way for them to get assistance.

Ladd said that starting by the end of the month, the Department of Veterans Affairs will have a full-time staff person located at the county veterans service office at the Howard County Administration Center.

The VA staff member will provide vocational rehabilitation services.

“Veterans will no longer have to travel to Indianapolis or Fort Wayne,” Ladd said. “The VA is reaching out to rural areas of the state.”

He said the VA staff member will provide services for Howard, Tipton, Miami, Cass, Clinton and Grant counties, and cover an area from Lafayette to Rochester.

The vocational rehabilitation services include funding for education to reach a four-year degree, certificate of training or a professional license.

“The intent is to provide veterans with a service-connected disability the chance to receive re-employment opportunities through education,” Ladd said.

In 2009 Howard County veterans received $16.2 million in benefits through the local office and out-of-county veterans received $22 million in benefits, according to Ladd.

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor

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