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Nevada Gov. Sisolak honors veteran service officers

Sometimes just being a proud, helpful veteran does not go far enough for some individuals to feel they have contributed all they are capable of. So without hesitation or seeking payment of any kind, some veterans go the extra mile or two when it comes to helping others.

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services has initiated two programs that pay tribute to the type of individuals noted above. The first is named Veteran of the Month. Awardees are Nevada veterans who have gone beyond the call of duty to help fellow veterans, as well as extending a helping hand to others who require some non-profit assistance in their daily lives. The department has also developed honors for Veteran Supporters of the Month.

This month the Veteran Supporter award went to a group of men and women who are members of the Pahrump Disabled American Veterans Chapter 15. But they are not merely chapter members — as a group they are certified as Veteran Service Officers, and are charged with helping veterans fill out proper claims and file for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

At a recent ceremony in the Grant Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Gov. Steve Sisolak presented the Veteran Supporter of the Month certificate to the Chapter 15 Veteran Service Officers. “Chapter 15 files claims on behalf of all veterans,” Sisolak said. “In 2018 more than 300 veterans filed claims through the group, which was instrumental in helping advance the quality of life in Pahrump.”

He went on to say that “Their pay is a ‘thank you’ from veterans and their families. I am honored to present the award.”

Stepping up to receive the award was Marine Corps veteran Steve Pittman, Air Force veteran Cathy Girard and Marine Corps veteran Steve Chase. Pittman addressed the audience by thanking the governor, and saying, “A dollar spent locally goes around nine times.” He credited his father for that bit of financial advice, and used the words to illustrate how helping veterans on a local level helps the entire Pahrump community.

He reported that through the efforts of the Veteran Service Officers, $3.5 million dollars went to local veterans in the form of VA compensation. In addition to filling out benefit claims, the group operates free van transportation that takes veterans to appointments at the VA clinic in North Las Vegas. Chase is the scheduling coordinator for the van.

Army veteran and Chapter Commander Greg Cardarelli said he and his staff appoint the service officers.

“That’s what we do, that’s how it works. I’ve been commander for three years now, and they have been doing their work long before me.” The service officers operate out of the lobby at Desert View Hospital, and they are always seeking volunteers who can assist in different ways. Even non-veterans are welcome, but it’s not an easy task. “We’re always looking for volunteers,” Cardarelli said. “But it’s like pulling teeth.” The service officers and the chapter as a whole do receive much help from the Ladies Auxiliary. “Without them we’d be done,” the commander said.

For more information, to learn how to become a member, or to volunteer, individuals are urged to go the chapter website, www.DAV15NV.org

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