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Friday, June 14, 2024
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Veterans and Benefits

I am writing this article on Independence Day. I thought about attempting to make a wit­ty connection between military service and our freedoms. As much as I enjoy painting a murky picture with my ill-conceived analogies, I must once again circle back to previously discussed topics. I have come to realize (but not fully ac­cept) I may never achieve my goal of connecting with every Veteran in my county. As a Marine and CVSO, I may never stop trying.

Merriam-Webster defines Veteran as “a former member of the armed forces”. The federal defi­nition is “Veteran means a person who served in the active military… discharged… under conditions other than dishonorable”. Minnesota defines Veteran as “a citizen… separated under honorable conditions.. from.. armed forces… having served on active duty for 181 consecu­tive days…”. These slightly conflicting (and all-to-often confusing) definitions aid in determin­ing eligibility for benefits.

A Veteran is someone who served in the mil­itary. A Veteran is your mother, father, or other relative. A Veteran is your neighbor, teacher, or co-worker. A Veteran is approximately one out of every eleven residents in Lake County. There is no single identifying physical attribute of a Veter­an. A Veteran is a person, who selflessly and hon­orably served their country.

VA provides benefits to Veterans who are deter­mined to be disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. A service-connected disability is deter­mined by VA based on an in-service event, cur­rent diagnosis, and medical opinion linking the event and diagnosis. A Disabled Veteran is any­one that has received a VA service-connected dis­ability rating. Disabled Veterans are not defined by gender nor by wartime service. I think it is important for everyone to realize appearance is not everything and not all injuries, illnesses, and wounds are visible.

The anticipation mounting, your curiosity peaked, I will finally get to the point. If you are a Veteran, then please stand up and be recognized. If you know a Veteran, then please pass along the message. Veterans, you have earned and rightly deserve benefits; the choice to apply is yours.

Please contact your CVSO for information and assistance. Grandpa, this includes you!

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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