Jeremy Miller has become the Prowers County Veterans Administration representative, replacing Carol Grauberger who, after 34 years of service in that capacity, retired at the end of 2012.
Miller, who served in the U.S. Navy and recently retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves, says he wants to reach as many local vets as possible and keep them informed of the services that are available to them. “I want to start conducting some outreach programs where I can distribute information to area vets, their spouses and children and even widows of veterans,” he said. He said he plans to set up information tables at events such as Cinco de Mayo, Lamar Days or the annual Oktoberfest where he can distribute information, and at the local SOS Center on East Olive Street. Miller said it’s important that vets know about the VA benefits and the medical transportation vans that can be used for appointments in Denver at the VA hospital and other areas.
“We have three vehicles and volunteer drivers that can take vets and their spouses or other family members to their appointments,” he offered. Miller said the vans make about 350 trips a year and are funded through grants. There’s no cost to the veteran to take the trip. “Our grant cycle almost runs through the whole year, but the local Elks lodge contributes funds to us to close the gap for about one month out of the year,” Miller explained. “All you need to do is contact me at 336-2606 between 8 and 5, Monday through Friday and make an appointment a day ahead of time,” he added. The volunteer drivers make sure the veteran gets to the front information desk and coordinates with the patient for their return trip once they’ve seen a medical provider.
“It’s also important younger vets know about the Post 911 GI Bill available to them,” he said. Miller suggested returnees or anyone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan for more than 90 days contact him to get a list of the benefits for which they may qualify. “You receive your benefits based on the number of days of service in those areas and the longer you’ve served, the more you can receive,” he explained. If you had an E5 pay grade you can also qualify for a stipend along with providing some of your tuition costs. Miller said he plans to contact Lamar Community College to coordinate information to veterans who are attending the community college, making sure they know about all the education benefits they may have available. He said it’s possible that a veteran can transfer his benefits to his children or spouse if they want to use it for their education at LCC, and Miller can help explain how that process works.
Miller returned to Lamar from Hays, Kansas where he had been working, but says he was always looking for ways to come back to the community. “A friend suggested I check out the Colorado Workforce webpage through our facebook contacts. I sent in my resume, got an interview and was hired for the position. Now I’m back in Lamar and closer to my family, and I’m ready to hopefully expand the scope of VA services to area vets,” he explained.
By Russ Baldwin
About the Author: