Thoughtful gestures for veterans may come in many forms. For some, these gestures may include giving a free Veterans Day meal or hosting an event honoring fallen soldiers. However for many, supporting and providing benefits for veterans throughout the year is just as important as the small gestures when recognizing veterans’ sacrifices.
By Frank Turner
For the past six months, Veterans Services Officer Keith King has worked at the courthouse to provide both logistical and financial services to veterans. As a Veterans Service Officer, King helps veterans apply for healthcare benefits and navigate the other complex Veterans Administration (VA) systems.
King is a member of the local American Legion and a Navy veteran who decided to start working at the Veterans Service Office after hearing the local county commissioners were expanding the veterans services department.
“My job is mainly to be a liaison between veterans and the veterans administration,” said King. “Like any government agency, the VA requires lots of paperwork that can be difficult to negotiate.”
At the Veterans Service Office, there are many available services that can significantly benefit a veteran’s quality of life. According to King, the local veterans office can assist veterans in many ways, including assistance with VA healthcare applications, VA housing loans, disability compensation applications, transportation, and much more.
“Many of these services apply to injured vets as well,” said King. “For instance, we can arrange transportation or reimburse travel for VA appointments, and that can be anywhere, including Fort Mead in South Dakota, the VA Clinic in Dickinson, or the main VA hospital in Fargo.”
Although many veterans use these services, King said that he would like to see more people walk through the doors.
“There is no list of veterans that anyone has, so I rely on the veterans coming to me,” said King. “I know that there are a lot of veterans that are not aware of some of the benefits available to them. If someone is a veteran, I would love for them to come in and discuss their experience.”
If anyone is interested in further exploring the services available at the Veterans Services Office, King said they can call the office at 701-523-7774 and leave a message or visit during office hours on any Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
“People are always welcome to stop by or leave a message,” said King. “If a veteran stops by, there may be some benefits that they were not aware of.”