Veterans office to double hours

GREENFIELD — Beginning in April, the veterans service office will double the hours it’s open in an effort to reach more servicemen and women.

Veterans advocates addressed county officials last year to ask that they include funding in this year’s budget to hire a part-time officer at $20 per hour. Now, the county’s new assistant veterans service officer, Chester Branham, is getting to work.

Starting next month, the office will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday rather than only Monday and Tuesday. The change will allow more veterans to visit the office for services they need, said veterans service officer Bob Workman, who previously manned the office by himself.

The county’s veteran service officer’s primary duty is to assist veterans and their dependents with completing the forms and applications related to receiving federal and state benefits, including medical care, pensions, disability compensation and more.

The officer also oversees outreach to healthcare facilities and veterans organizations in the county, serves on various veteran boards and acts as a liaison to the regional veterans affairs office.

Local advocates estimate Hancock County is home to 6,000 veterans.

Providing better service for the men and women who bravely fought in their county’s honor starts with ensuring they’re able to get help when they seek it, county officials say. Hiring a new veterans service officer is one step county officials have taken to improve service. Last fall, the county hired a contractor to renovate the office to provide more privacy for the men and women who visit.

Previously, the office was staffed by only Workman, who works part time, limiting the number of hours the office could be open. When he was sick or on vacation, the office had to be closed.

Branham, a New Palestine resident, has spent the past few weeks undergoing training required for his new job.

He joined the Navy in 1963 and served for four years. He’s now retired after working for military-related companies most of his career, he said.

He’s been a member of New Palestine’s American Legion for 39 years, he said.

He doesn’t believe veterans are aware of all the benefits available to them, and he wants to help them discover those, he said.

Workman said it can take as long as an hour to help a veteran through a claim, and some days, there are as many as three veterans waiting to be helped.

Being open two extra days will hopefully cut back on those wait times, he said.

“We’re so thankful to the county for helping us,” he said.

New hours

Beginning in April, the Hancock County Veterans Service Office will double the hours it’s open.

The office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday to assist veterans and their families in obtaining a number of benefits to which they may be entitled that include health care, disability compensation, pension, and educational, financial and vocational rehabilitation assistance.

The office is located in the Memorial Building, 98 E. North St.

For more information or to inquire about veterans’ benefits, contact county veterans service officer Bob Workman at 317-462-8767.

The Hancock County Veterans Service Office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays to assist veterans and their families in obtaining a number of benefits to which they may be entitled that include health care, disability compensation, pension, and educational, financial and vocational rehabilitation assistance.

The office is located in the Memorial Building, 98 E. North St.

For more information or to inquire about veterans’ benefits, contact county veterans service officer Bob Workman at 317-462-8767.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.