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Congrats to new veterans affairs director and thanks to Bill Bechdel

We want to offer, on behalf of our readers, advertisers and the entire community, a congratulations to Jennifer Hagaman, Clinton County’s new diretor of veterans affairs.

At the same time, we want to offer our thanks to former Veterans Affairs Director Bill Bechdel for his tremendous hard work and dogged determination to help his fellow veterans and their families.

The county Veterans Affairs Office is among the cornerstone agencies serving our military veterans, active-duty personnel and their families.

The staff offers a number of direct and indirect services.

They are the connection between veterans and government, helping to get those who sacrificie and their families benefits they deserve.

They maintain files for all current and deceased veterans.

They record all transactions with any veteran or dependent utilizing the services of the office.

“Personal service is given to every veteran and dependent regarding pensions, insurances, schooling, hospitalization, medical benefits, home loans, counseling services, grave registration, and cooperation with local funeral directors regarding burials,” the department’s web site link reads.

American flags and standards are provided for veterans’ grave sites.

Here’s more:

“The office maintains an open door policy, attempting to address every problem on an individual basis, and when necessary, making home visits in cases of disability. Veterans no longer able to care for their personal needs are helped with placement in available Veterans homes. In cases where the veteran or his dependent is home bound, application for Aid and Attendance, or home bound benefits are provided. The obligation of this office is to make certain that all veterans and their dependents are accorded the full benefits due them in compliance with Federal, State, and County Law, upon proof of eligibility for said benefits.”

A van is available for transportation for appointments to the James E. VanZandt Medical Center in Altoona, and the community based outreach center in State College.

And Bill, with Jennifer’s assistance, of course, brought the county into the MilitaryShare food distribution program.

It’s one of Bill’s wonderful legacies … and we know one of Jennifer’s continuing priorities. And we know first-hand the personal and family sacrifices Bill made to serve his fellow comrades.

This county’s VA office is among the busiest in the entire state of Pennsylvania based on the number of people it assists as a proportion to the number of veterans in the region.

That’s a testament to the director staff leadership over the years.

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