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Harrison County VSO aims to be state’s best

The Harrison County Veterans Service Office continues to grow its mission and hopes to reach as many of the approximate 3,000 veterans in the county as possible, according to Desley Snyder, veterans service officer.
‘We want our VSO to be one of the best, if not the best, VSO in the state of Indiana,’ she said, during an update for the Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning about the progress of the office.
The goal is to make the office a one-stop option for employment services, support groups, informational meetings and for providing current V.A. information and services.
Snyder also asked for additional funding ($5,000) for the part-time office position held by Carrie Bridgewater.
The request, along with $500 for training, was unanimously approved to go before the county council.
‘I think we’ve made a lot progress as far as helping our veterans,’ Snyder, who took over the position full-time at the beginning of 2015, said.
Snyder said the office was restructured in 2015 to make it a one-stop location for veterans to receive exceptional and quality service.
The office now has an updated database of county veterans, with 509 additions last year and 1,017 claims made on behalf of veterans.
Snyder said they served veterans from 12 other counties last year as well.
‘We’re doing something right to get referred (to out-of-county veterans),’ she said. ‘I’m not going to tell them (non-Harrison County veterans), ‘I’m not going to help you’.’
Snyder said she plans to have a couple more open house events this year for veterans at the office, located on the first floor of the Government Center in south Corydon.
Bridgewater coordinates the DAV van program, which includes scheduling the runs, finding a driver, keeping mileage and gas records, etc.
In 2015, the van program recorded 306 runs, a significant jump from 270 a year prior.
This year, through February, 52 van runs have already been coordinated through the VSO.
Bridgewater has completed the TRIP (Training, Responsibility, Involvement and Preparation of Claims) program, essential to the office.
Snyder complimented Veterans of Harrison County Inc., which has helped tremendously with funding and outreach, she said.
‘They pick up the slack,’ she said.
Snyder, a Navy veteran, hopes to do more outreach by getting out and going to the veterans, many of whom are unable to get out themselves.
The VSO issues a quarterly newsletter to keep veterans in the loop of V.A. and other issues.
Snyder said all veterans from World War II to those currently fighting the War on Terror have benefits available to them.
For more information, visit the office, located at 245 Atwood St., Suite 102, or call 812-738-4249. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To avoid delays, Snyder recommends making an appointment.
For a list of services provided by the VSO and other information, visit online at www.harrisoncounty.in.gov and click on ‘Veteran’s Office’ under office listings.
The office also has a Facebook page, ‘Harrison County Indiana Veteran Service.’

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