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Williams, Gathers ready to help veterans

LANETT — Assistant Veterans Service Officers Chris Williams and Sean Gathers hit the ground running Thursday afternoon in the new Veterans Service Office in Lanett. They’d talked to a Chambers County veteran about their benefits even before the 3 p.m. EST ribbon cutting took place to officially open the office.

“We expect a steady stream to be here starting next Tuesday,” Gathers said. “One of us will be here every Tuesday and Thursday until we hire a permanent person for the office and have them trained.”

Williams and Gathers normally work in the Opelika VSO office five days a week. One of them will be in the Lanett office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST every Tuesday and Thursday until the new person is ready to take over. The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to hire a Chambers County resident who is a veteran to man the office on a permanent basis.

The primary function of a Veterans Service Office is to assist veterans, their dependents and survivors in the application and processing of claims for benefits and entitlements available from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the benefits provided for veterans by law from the state of Alabama earned by their honorable service in the U.S. armed forces.

Services include the processing of compensation and pension applications, the appeal of VA decisions, filing of survivor death benefits, applying for aid and attendance and housebound benefits, the certification of claim documents, requests for military service records, the upgrading of military discharges and applying for special veteran license plates.

To contact the Chambers County Veterans Service Office, dial (334) 755-5729.

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs can be reached at www.va.alabama.gov.

“We help veterans, their spouses and their children with benefits they earned through their military service,” Williams said.

“We help them with a variety of services they’re entitled to from the time they left the service.”