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Services for area veterans

Disabled veterans in need of assistance in Lunenburg County may have advocates from area organizations, including the Piedmont Area Veterans Council and representatives of the Virginia Employment Commission’s (VEC) Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP).

Claude Tomlinson with the Lunenburg VFW Post offered paperwork that cited approximately 31 Virginia Department of Veterans Services Benefit Offices. The offices in Salem and South Hill, and the VA Hospital in Richmond were sources that Tomlinson had known area veterans to try.

He said while filing claims for veteran benefits can be a long and sometimes stressful process, he said area organizations have been able to help veterans get the assistance that they need.

“Ms. (Sarah) Maddox (Dunn) does a super job for us,” Tomlinson said about the Piedmont Area Veterans Council. “(She) can get claims through Dunn, founder of the Piedmont Area Veterans Council, said there are multiple resources available for veterans of any age or status.

The council is “a voluntary 501c3 organization assisting our active duty service members, veterans and their family members/ caregivers as well as our community partners in the Piedmont Area (Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward),” a description of the organization cited. “Meetings are held the (third) Monday of every month beginning 10:30 a.m. at the Farmville VFW Post.”

“We connect them with benefits and resources and enroll them in VA healthcare, in fact, the director for the VA hospital comes to our meetings,” Dunn, who also operates the Veterans Clothes Closet Thrift Store on Farmville’s 146 N. Main St., said.

To learn more about the council and the resources offered, call (434) 213-3661 or email pavc23901@aol.com.

Rex Ellsworth, who is based in Emporia, said Lunenburg County is among the counties that he represents as providing assistance and services to disabled veterans, or veterans who face Significant Barriers to Employment (SBE).

Ellsworth said the requests he has received for assistance have included medical benefits and resources for returning to school.

“I have a lot of veterans requesting information about their benefits (including) medical benefits or compensation.” Ellsworth said. “I have some veterans who are interested in going back to school.”

He said that disabled veterans include people of all ages.

“The 18-24 demographic are usually the ones who have the most trouble finding employment,” Ellsworth said. “They usually don’t have a lot of work experience … A lot of times whatever they did in service transfers over to the civilian job market. They don’t understand that, so we’ve got to help them with that process matching for jobs.”

He said he can help disabled veterans with employment, education assistance and resources for medical benefits such as group and individual counseling.

To learn more about the program, Ellsworth can be reached at (434) 634-3762 or Rex.Ellsworth@vec.virginia.gov.