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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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County Veterans Service Officer

A new year with resolutions aplenty. I am not one to self-impose unrealistic, unobtainable, or unwanted goals upon myself. I think I have plenty of necessary daily activities to keep myself busy right up to the line bordering insanity. Perhaps this is what I tell myself to justify my procrastination which includes writing this article. I am a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) and here is the beginning of what might be several articles explaining what and who is a CVSO. Minnesota Statutes 197.60 – .606 are the laws pertaining to and defining a CVSO.

The statutes state in part “the county board of any county… shall appoint a county Veterans service officer…”. A CVSO is Minnesota resident, US citizen, and a Veteran per MN Statute 197.447. “It shall be the duty of the county veterans service officer to aid all residents of the governmental subdivision by which the officer is employed in securing benefits provided by law on account of the service of any person in the armed forces of the United States, from which the person has a discharge other than dishonorable.” “It shall be unlawful for any person to pay any county veterans service officer or… to receive any fee directly or indirectly for any service rendered in securing any benefit…”

As a CVSO, I often find myself adding a disclaimer to many of my statements and here is the first of many. I am not a lawyer or legal professional. My simpler, less legal definition for a CVSO is a Veteran that advises, assists, and advocates for other Veterans and their families to include surviving dependents regarding federal and state Veterans benefits. I would like to make clear my “simple” definition does not imply a simple position or job. As I near my word limit, reality sets in that this topic may require many articles to fully articulate the complexities, challenges, and rewards associated with being a CVSO.

Many counties only have one CVSO serving. Please keep this in mind and exercise patience and understanding while working with and waiting on your CVSO. Being a CVSO is by far the best work opportunity in the civilian sector. Minnesota CVSOs are close-knit, professional, and dedicated Veterans serving their counties, fellow Veterans and their families. Being a CVSO is more than a job, more than a career, it is a calling. Minnesota is one of only 29 states that require VA-accredited CVSOs.

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us
Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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