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Mobile VA office coming to Five State Fair PDF Print E-mail

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KCVA mobile office can help through the collection of information to start files for veterans to save them from having to drive great distances



By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



The Seward County Five State Fair kicked off Sunday morning with Cowboy Church and the Five State horse show, but today, activities kick into full gear with a wide variety of activities to take part in for fair goers.

The Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs (KCVA) will have its mobile office on hand for most of the remaining five days of the fair. Jeremy Miller, who operates the office, said the unit allows him to talk to veterans and their families and help them apply for benefits with the Veterans Administration.

“If they’re already filed with the VA, I can do checking on different claims, and anything they may want to ask about, I can answer questions,” he said.

Miller takes the mobile office across the Sunflower State throughout the year, and how often depends on the availability of events and if he is able to participate in those events.

“If there are no events going on, oftentimes what we do is we select communities we have not been to in a while, or we select communities they do not have a local Kansas Commission office,” he said. “We will try to make sure we see the vets in that area for that purpose. I try to go out on a weekly basis to somewhere all over Kansas.”

Health care and applications for disability benefits are some of the more common questions Miller answers for veterans. He said the KCVA has 14 offices in the state, most of which are in Eastern Kansas, and while the agency is not looking to necessarily increase that number, the goal of the mobile unit is to primarily provide additional coverage to support existing offices.

“Western Kansas, it gets a little skimming,” he said. “Our offices out in Western Kansas are Colby and Fort Dodge. We also have Hays. That’s where my office is based out of. If you get to the far reaches of Kansas over by Colorado, you may have to drive a while, but you can still reach an office within an hour or two.”

After their visit to the Five State Fair, the mobile office will next go to Salina, working with a local KCVA office there.

“After that, we will have the state fair, and our van will be there manned for the entire time of the state fair,” Miller said.

Miller added the number of vets he sees at a particular event varies from event to event.

“Sometimes, I go to an event that where, depending on the setting, I may have more vets, I may have fewer vets,” he said. “It really depends on the setting. What we do when it’s not county fair season is we will go to a lot of the smaller towns surrounding a large town.”

Miller said in addition to answering veterans’ questions, he will also let them know where they can go for more help.

“A lot of times at the fairs, what we’ll do is basically park and just try to be visible and let veterans in the area know what services we have available, but also let them know where our local offices are,” he said. “A lot of veterans don’t even know that the local offices are in existence, simply because they haven’t gone to check it out and looked to see where we’re at and if there’s anybody available and who to speak with.”

The mobile unit has been around for about a decade now, and Miller said the office is funded by some of the sales from the Kansas Lottery.

“The Yellow Ribbon lottery tickets that you can purchase at your local lottery vendors, part of the proceeds from those lottery tickets go to buy fuel and actually pay for the vehicle itself that I’m able to drive around Kansas with,” he said.

This is just one of the areas, Miller said, where lottery sales can provide help in Kansas.

“It benefits a tremendous amount of veterans in the area that are not able to necessarily get out of their homes very well to go to a distance even to an office that’s two hours a way,” he said.

Other ways the KCVA mobile office can help is through the collection of information to start files for veterans to save veterans for having to drive great distances.

“I will be able to collect their name and information and also their discharge papers instead of them having to remember them whenever they go to an office and bring them and have to make another trip because they didn’t realize they had to bring their papers,” Miller said.

The KCVA unit will be at the Five State Fair Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Miller encourages everyone to come out and see the office during the fair.

“A lot of people say, ‘I’m not a veteran,’” he said. “Maybe not, but I bet you know a few. Everybody’s connected to a veteran and their family or a friend, or they know friends that have sons or daughters that have been in the military. Everybody’s connected somehow to a veteran, and a lot of veterans, they just know what they qualify and what they don’t qualify for.”

 

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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