San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 8th, 2010
County to conduct veteran's outreach meeting

STAFF REPORT

Hays County officials will conduct an outreach meeting to veterans throughout the county Tuesday night in Dripping Springs.

“The meetings we’re holding throughout Hays County are to gather information from veterans and their dependents about the services they need,” said Mike Mendoza, the county’s interim veterans services director. “We’ll also explain assistance available from Hays County and how our programs mesh with those from the state and federal governments. We’ll share information presented by a county veteran’s task force that has helped us better understand local needs, and in turn we’ll emphasize the programs Hays County already brings to the table.”

Mendoza said some veterans are unaware of what Hays County already provides, free of charge.

“Our office’s focus is on helping veterans and their dependents secure the benefits to which they are entitled,” he said. “That means sitting down with individuals and working our way through the different VA (Veterans Administration) forms for programs that meet their needs. We help replace lost paperwork and medals, fill out forms and refer those in need to state and federal housing and land programs, job training programs, education benefits and assisted living, rehabilitative or in-home health services. There are myriad programs designed for veterans and their dependents, and we want to make sure everyone is aware of that assistance.”

Hays County has, for many years, offered transportation to veterans who have medical appointments at Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio.

“Based on what we’ve learned at the meetings so far and from information presented by the veteran’s task force, we’re looking at upgrading our transportation service with a pilot program that will provide more frequent service to more locations than we can currently offer,” Mendoza said. “We’ll evaluate that program as part of our goal to provide quality transportation.”

With a population less than 200,000, Hays County is not required by law to provide a Veteran Services Office, but has done so for many years.

“We admire and respect our veterans and are grateful for what they have done for our country,” Mendoza said. “Hays County officials fund a Veteran Services Office as a thank-you to those who served and we want to make sure our program is the best possible.”

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at the Hays County Precinct 4 office, located at 195 Roger Hanks Parkway in Dripping Springs. In addition to Mendoza, Hays County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) and Precinct 4 Commissioner Karen Ford (D-Dripping Springs) plan to be at the meeting, along with other county officials.

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