Veterans Day is uniquely special to me because it is the recognition of all veterans, those currently serving and those who previously served, from all branches of the military, and those who have served in all capacities.

It’s uniquely special and meaningful to me because in my capacity as a public servant, I have the extraordinary opportunity to interact with the wide cross-section of veterans among us in addition to being able to attend memorial services for those veterans that have served our country so honorably. I get the chance to work with everyone from our county veterans service officers to the leaders we have at Fort McCoy. I get to work with everyone from community leaders to business people that have previously served or are currently serving in the National Guard. I also have the opportunity to facilitate conversations and help solve problems for those I speak with and that contact me with issues where federal personnel are more equipped to help. On top of that, I have the unique opportunity to work with the spouses and families of those currently serving and who have served.

I share this because I wanted to take the opportunity to share the commonality that exists among the variety of individuals and groups I have the opportunity to work with, and it will come as no surprise. The common trait I run into among the variety of veterans I work with is the desire and willingness to do whatever they can to help other veterans. This is a trait that runs as deep and as strong in our veterans as the characteristics of honor, respect, and dignity.

Although consensus can’t always be reached among various stakeholder groups on the best way to help veterans, I think that for the most part, one would be hard-pressed to find parties not interested in doing what can be done to both help and recognize our veterans. Yes, there are a variety of things that have been done and can be done legislatively to help aid in this pursuit but that said, there are also a variety of things that can be done close to home and 365 days a year, from community groups to non-profit organizations focused on assisting our veterans. Here in Monroe County, we’re especially blessed to have Fort McCoy, a tremendous asset to our region, close to home. With this home comes a variety of opportunities to give back.

If you’re a veteran in need of assistance or have any type of question related to local, state or federal governmental programs (housing assistance, education benefits, employment opportunities, etc.), or otherwise, please reach out one of our phenomenal county veterans aervice officers:

Monroe County—Monroe County Justice Center, 202 South K Street Suite 5, Sparta, WI, 54656, 608-269-8726.

Jackson County—Jackson County Courthouse, 307 Main Street, Black River Falls, WI 56615, 715- 284-0225.

Republican Nancy VanderMeer, Tomah, represents the 70th Assembly District.

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Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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