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County seeks new veterans service officer

BY JEBB JOHNSTON

jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

Alcorn County's Veterans Service Office is seeing some staff changes.

The Board of Supervisors on Monday received the resignation of Jill Clement effective Aug. 15 and appointed Steve Wallace, a former veterans service officer who has been employed part-time with the office, to take on the role on an interim basis.

The county is requesting interested individuals to submit résumés to Wallace at the Veterans Service Office in the county courthouse. The board will likely make a hire at the first October meeting, and the new hire will go to training in mid-October.

The law requires that candidates for the job must be either a veteran of a war or a police action or the surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran.

The office assists veterans and survivors of veterans with applying for various benefits available to them.

Wallace said a number of people are already asking about the job, and he had a couple of résumés in hand to present to the board.

Alcorn County is home to approximately 1,870 veterans drawing benefits averaging a little more than $5,000 monthly for a total of more than $1.1 million annually, he told the board.

"This is a very demanding job mentally," said Wallace. "You've got to have the trust of the veteran to get him to tell you things to help them out on their claims. They'll tell you things they've never told their wife, their mother, and a lot of them just kept it bottled up inside for as long as 50 years or so. To be able to get some of these claims through, we have to extract that information from the vet."

It is a very busy office that sometimes deals with veterans from other counties, as well.

"A lot of your veterans service offices are not like ours — they're not open five days a week," said Wallace.