By Warren Stutesman
MIO – Andrew J. Welser of the Oscoda County Department of Veterans Affairs is truly a man that wears several hats. A veteran himself, he understands the needs each veteran has. Andrew served his time in the Air Force from 1973 through 1977, serving in Korea three times during that period. For the last three and a half years AJ, as he likes to be called, has headed the Oscoda County Department of Veterans Affairs office. In an average month AJ is helping around 45 veterans to find their way through the bureaucracy that simply confounds many veterans when trying to get the benefits due them. In lay mans terms he helps cut through the ‘Red Tape’.
One of his main jobs is helping to file claims. For physical disabilities or PTSD or any other service connected disability, AJ is there to guide veterans through the paper work. AJ can also put you in touch with the professional help needed to substantiate these claims. The Veterans Office can even help with travel to appointments if you have need of a ride. As if that was not enough of a full time job, AJ also has charge of the Veterans Relief Fund. This helps those needing help with food, heating fuel (gas or wood), property tax issues, late utility bills and vehicle repairs. The Veterans Office can also help with home repairs needed, mainly roofs but others repairs also.
AJ is associated with Habitat For Humanity and with his knowledge of both programs he can really get you the help you need. Now if that help you need is in the form of a ramp for access to your home, then AJ can get you in contact with the Dummy Club which helps in these matters. For both veterans and senior citizens, a new program just started in partnership with the Oscoda County Council on Aging. They have five volunteers that will mow your lawn if you are physically unable to do so yourself.
DVA office hours are by appointment Wednesday – Friday 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For those unable to meet AJ in his office, which is in the old DNR building beside the airport, he also has two hours on Tuesday at the Foreign Legion and two hours on Thursday at the Knights of Columbus. These programs are funded through a mileage on your property taxes. And while no one likes taxes this is one case where I am personally glad that we as grateful Americans have stepped up in support of our troops.
Anyone that knows AJ knows that he goes above and beyond in his work to help our veterans. So when you see him stop and say thanks for the good job. And lastly thank you to all the veterans who so happily gave of their time to serve for us.
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