Mobile Service Office Aims to Help Veterans

Helping veterans is the mission of the Disabled American Veterans, who brought their mobile service office to Cadillac today, as part of their Northern Michigan tour.

With Vietnam vets aging, and more veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan returning home with problems of their own, there’s a lot on the DAV’s plate, but getting vets the benefits and services they’ve earned remains their primary mission.

National Service Officer of DAV Jason Zielke says, “Basically what we do is we find out what they need, and we do the best we can to help them get it.”

This mobile service office of the DAV stopped in Cadillac Thursday. Their mission, to help sometimes reluctant vets get the benefits, and services they’ve earned by wearing the military uniform of their country.

“We advocate for the veterans, so they can actually deal with the paperwork, and some of the bureaucracy that they have to deal with,” explains DAV Department Service Officer Robert Gallaird. 

And that bureaucracy can be daunting, even the local DAV commander has a little problem he’s trying to straighten out with the V.A.

Chapter 39 DAV Commander Allen Retlewski says, “I, still myself, get rid of a little problem that they don’t want to acknowledge that I’m married, and I’ve been married for almost 42 years.”

The DAV helps all veterans of course, but Iraqi and Afghan War vets are becoming more numerous. And they have a new set of problems.

“You know transitioning back from war, combat, Afghanistan, Iraq, is very difficult, and they are a bit reluctant, but once we get the word out that we’re here for them, we like to say, they do start to come, it’s almost like, you build it, they will come,” says Robert. 

And this DAV job is one that’s hard to keep from getting a little emotionally involved in.

Jason says, “you get close to ’em, and a lot of them are sick and there’s a lot of need there, and you get a little emotionally attached sometimes.”

The DAV’s mobile service office moves on to Mt. Pleasant Friday where it will be at Kelly Shorts Stadium on the campus of CMU from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Any vet is welcome.