When it comes to benefits for veterans, those who offer services admit the majority of veterans do not fully know what is available and how to take advantage of them.
With that in mind, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in conjunction with the Redwood County Veterans Service office held a provider fair to allow those veterans and their families to meet face to face with the people who offer those benefit services for them.
When it comes to benefits for veterans, those who offer services admit the majority of veterans do not fully know what is available and how to take advantage of them. With that in mind, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in conjunction with the Redwood County Veterans Service office held a provider fair to allow those veterans and their families to meet face to face with the people who offer those benefit services for them. Representatives from the Minnesota American Legion to the VA Medical Services program were on hand to talk with those who had questions and even to help them sign up for those services they are eligible for as veterans. “We are here to serve those who have served,”?said Duane Mabon of the Luverne Veterans Home. “We wine and dine them, because they deserve it.” Mabon said the state-owned and operated home for veterans serves the southwest portion of the state, with four others scattered across Min-nesota. Mabon said there is a waiting list to get in. Harvey Noble, Minnesota American Legion Depart-ment vice-commander was on hand to talk about the services the American Legion provides. No, he said, it is not just about bars and fundraisers. Membership in the Legion, Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion means having a group to represent veterans and their families when it comes to important legislative issues at the state and federal level, as well as being an organization that serves the communities where an American Legion Post exists. Noble, who has been a member of the American Legion for 40 years, said the younger generation of veterans is not as readily signing up to join the Legion, adding there are not many World War II veterans left. That means the membership is declining in the U.S., and efforts to recruit these younger veterans are on the increase. The more members there are the better the chance organization like the Legion have to represent veterans on important issues. Luke Weinandt of the Minnesota Assistance Coun-cil for Veterans said it is an organization dedicated to ensuring veterans have a voice in issues, such as mental health and homelessness. The organization works on behalf of veterans and also provides homes for those who are in need. “I?want to make sure the guys who are coming home know what is available to them,”?said Weinandt, an Iraq war veteran. Jonell Wilson and Deb Kaiser of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs were on hand to talk about the benefits in employment, education and housing, as well as medical services that are available to them. Wilson said so many of them just don’t know what is available. Helping a veteran find that information and helping them fill out the necessary claims reports is the goal of the organization. More about the providers can be found at the Red-wood County Veterans Service office in the county government center or by calling (507) 637-4034.