Regionalization of county veterans service offices
BY TAMMY WALTERS
Oneida County veterans service officer
In February of this year, a bill to regionalize County Veterans Service Offices in Wisconsin failed in the Legislature; however, Secretary Scocos, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, continues to push for regionalization. What this means for our veterans is there would likely be one County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) for two, three, four, or even more counties, especially up north where there are fewer veterans. It means veterans would be forced to do a lot of business over the phone or online. It means if a veteran wanted face-to-face service, they may have to drive great distances and possibly have long wait times once they get there. It means elderly and disabled veterans, some of the people who need services the most, might not have the means or ability to obtain services. Nothing good can come of this.
“Regionalization would not help veterans in need and could be catastrophic for some of them.” Tammy Walters
As of July 19, the CVSO Association is aware of 17 veteran suicides in the state of Wisconsin since the beginning of this calendar year. Nationally, there are 22 veteran suicides each day. That is epidemic, in my opinion. I don’t know if my office or any other Veterans Service Office in the state of Wisconsin has saved the life of a veteran but I know I don’t want to take that chance. The Veterans Service Office is the place veterans can go in their own community to get answers and to get help. Regionalization would not help veterans in need and could be catastrophic for some of them.
I have written a resolution regarding the regionalization of County Veterans Service Offices and I am presenting it, along with the 2015 County Veterans Service Office Annual Report, to the County Board at their August meeting. If you are interested in learning more about this, the meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 16 in the County Board room on the second floor of the courthouse. If you cannot attend the meeting, I strongly encourage you to write or call your local legislators and voice your opinion regarding regionalization.
Our office now has a Facebook page. On Facebook, you can search “Oneida County Veterans Service Office” or go to www.facebook.com/oneidacvso. Please check it out and “like” our page!
I will be out of the office from August 1-15. As always, we strongly recommend appointments but if you need to walk in for something quick, please avoid lunch time as there will be no one in the office at that time while I’m away.
Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or email@example.com. Or you can contact both of them at firstname.lastname@example.org.