Howle: Veterans need my help

  • Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2013 11:55 a.m.

County manager Gary Page told me the commissioners had some concern that Rowan County did not need a veterans service officer since the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center was here. The medical center does not file claims. The patient advocates, social workers, audiologists and doctors send the veterans to me to file their claims.

The VAMC takes care of their medical needs. I assist in filing for their VA pensions or compensation.

I have no control over the length of time it takes for VA benefits to complete a claim. They are not slow, just thorough. The Veterans Benefits Administration has to prove everything that the claimant sends them.

A veteran stuck his head in my door last week and said, “They need to give you 19 hours per day ... not per week”.

Within the previous week, I had a veteran tell me he received $220,000 back payment; another received $57,000, and another $12,000. That is money that likely will be spent in Rowan County.

I am the only county veterans service officer who did not ask for an assistant. The county gave me one anyway in September 2012, but they did not give her an office, a desk, a phone or a computer. What was she supposed to work with?

Rowan County has had a full-time service officer since the 1950s. I am not a whiner, but since I am the first female veterans service officer that Rowan County has had, I need to know if I am the only one Rodney Cress has harassed and bullied. He and I have never spoken a harsh word to each other. If he gets what he wants, he will deserve congratulations for overpowering a 67-year-old woman!

I would like to thank Salisbury Post reporter Nathan Hardin for calling me while I was in Florida on vacation. I would have been even more devastated if I had returned to work on Sept. 16 to learn that I was no longer a full-time employee. I was employed full-time as a veterans service officer for the Disabled American Veterans with an office at the VAMC here in Salisbury. I thought I was leaving for a better position with the county. I would not have left for a part-time job.

I am also a life member of VFW Post 3006, Amvets Post 845, DAV Chapter 96, and American Legion Post 185. And I would like to continue serving the veterans of Rowan County full-time.

Elaine Howle is Rowan’s veterans service officer. Commissioners are considering making the position part-time.

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