Veterans can find assistance through local VSO


By Harold B. Wolford - Veterans Corner



The Delaware County Veterans Service Office is located in the Historic Courthouse at 91 N. Sandusky St. in Delaware. The office is located on the ground floor and is easily and directly accessible using the rear entrance. There is parking specifically designated for veterans and handicap spots, and office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The office is closed on holidays.

For services other than questions, it is recommended that veterans call 740-833-2010 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are also available evenings and weekends, upon request.

The VSO acronym is used in more than one definition: Veterans Service Office, Veterans Service Officer and Veterans Service Organization. The acronym can be confusing at times if more than one type is being covered. They are not being used in this column to help avoid confusion.

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services provides training and certification for county veteran service officers and county veteran service commissioners. This is to ensure that claims filed with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maximize benefits compensation for Ohio veterans. Neither the Ohio Department of Veterans Services nor county veterans service offices are a part of the VA, or under the VA’s jurisdiction. The Delaware County Veterans Service Office helps veterans obtain VA benefits and assists many Delaware County programs and veterans organizations.

Delaware County Veterans Service commissioners are the administrative staff for the Delaware County Veterans Service Office. The main function of the administration is to approve financial items, such as the Delaware County Veterans Service Office annual budget, veterans assistance, and reimbursements to veterans and organizations that assist veterans. The Delaware County Veterans Service commissioners work directly with the Delaware County Veterans Service Office director and staff to help plan, structure and schedule events. There are five veterans appointed to the Delaware County Veterans Service Commission. One veteran is appointed each year by the common pleas judges. According to Ohio Revised Code (ORC), the veteran appointments are members of Veteran Service Organizations; American Legion, American Veterans (AMVETS), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) & Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Short-term financial assistance is provided for eligible Delaware County veterans, their families or eligible survivors who provide proper documents that meet the needs and qualification requirements. Veterans must be honorably discharged. Assistance includes, but is not limited to food cards (local stores), utility payments, rent or mortgage payments, and quarterly assistance for those at or below an established percentage of the Federal Poverty Level. You may call the Delaware County Veterans Service Office to ask about other assistance needs.

The honorably discharged veteran and/or the client must demonstrate a need and be a Delaware County resident for at least three months. The veteran’s discharge document (DD-214) and proof of residency are used to verify eligibility requirements. Other documents are required to demonstrate the financial and assistance needs.

Service is provided for veterans, family members or survivors for applying for VA benefits. Examples of some of the possible VA benefits are service-connected disability compensation, veterans pension (non-service connected), VA health care, VA burial benefits, and many others.

Other services that are provided include obtaining a DD-214, notary public, dental program for emergency and preventative care (for those who qualify), eyeglass program (for those that qualify), remote office sessions at various Delaware County communities or to you if you qualify, and active military preseparation benefits advisement.

Delaware County veterans are offered free round-trip transportation to local VA medical centers. The Delaware County Veterans Service Office can also assist with travel to other medical locations for those that don’t have transportation. A three-day notice is requested for transportation appointments or changes. The Delaware County Veterans Service Office can also assist in providing transportation for special programs such as Honor Flight or SourcePoint excursions, on an availability basis.

The Delaware County Veterans Service Office provides assistance for veteran health benefits. Veterans must apply for enrollment in the VA health care system. They can apply through the office by completing VA form 10-10EZ. The veteran’s DD-214 will be needed to attach to the form. The Delaware County Veterans Service Office will review the completed package and deliver to the VA medical facility. If the VA approves your application, here is a partial list of benefits: primary and specialty care, preventive medical services, prescriptions, surgery, mental health and substance abuse, and women’s health programs. Physician and/or prescription co-pays may be required, based on status and/or service connected status.

The Columbus Vet Center is a community-based counseling center that provides a wide range of social and psychological services. Delaware County Veterans Service Office has partnered with the Vet Center to allow use at their facilities.

There are VA and Delaware County burial benefits available for eligible veterans. Delaware County Veterans Service Office is there to assist you and your family during those difficult times. Here is a list of those benefits: burial in a VA National Cemetery, VA headstone or marker, presidential memorial certificate, burial flag, military honors at funeral or burial site, flag holder at burial site, and indigent burial.

Benefit check is one of the most valuable services the Delaware County Veterans Service Office offers. Upon presentation of the veteran’s DD-214 or report of separation or NGB-22, one of their experienced veterans service officers will review all the benefits available on the federal, state and local level, based on when and where the veteran served. The Delaware County Veterans Service Office will then help the veteran access those benefits.

There are currently seven positions at the Delaware County Veterans Service Office. They are changing and growing at a good pace. All positions are filled by veterans, which is a requirement of ORC laws that governs county veterans service offices.

Brian Galligher is the director. He is listed as a U.S. Navy veteran on the Delaware County Veterans Service Office website. Brian is a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve and is deployed at various times. He also assists active duty Navy with military honors at funerals, when available.

Scott Leonard is the deputy director. Scott is also a county veteran service officer. He is a U.S. Army veteran and was a stinger gunner (shoulder-fired, supersonic missile system) in Germany during the Cold War.

Wayne Kissel is the financial services officer. Wayne is also a county veteran service officer. He is a U.S. Army veteran. Wayne is retiring early this year.

Bill Piwtorak will be the social services officer, which is a restructure replacement of the financial services officer position. Bill will be filling Wayne’s position and also become a county veteran service officer. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Rey Cordero is a county veteran serviceOfficer. He is a U.S. Army veteran and a Desert Storm combat veteran.

Andrew Apostolec is the transportation officer. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq.

Karen Kish is administrative assistant II. She is a U.S. Army veteran and served in the Army National Guard, where she retired from.

Lisa Upperman is a county veteran service officer. She is a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army veteran. She is retired from the U.S. Army Reserves.

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By Harold B. Wolford

Veterans Corner

Harold B. Wolford is president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095. He served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973.

Harold B. Wolford is president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095. He served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973.