Veterans around the area gathered together on July 17 for the monthly meeting of Veterans United. Veterans from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and peacetime form this local organization and hold these and other events at the Disabled American Veterans Hall on Old Sparta Dr. Fifty veterans and their families enjoyed a homemade meal while listening to Arnie Krebs, a local vocalist and entertainer.

After enjoying lunch, Ed Lewis took front and center to stress the need for a full-time veterans service officer for Cumberland County. Recently, the volunteer veterans service officer has noted plans to resign and the group is in need of a replacement.

A veterans service officer would assist local veterans and their dependents on their rights, privileges, immunities and benefits. According to the 2000 census, Cumberland County is home to 6,500 veterans. Proponents say a full-time veterans service officer would help ease the application process and other requests.

"The veterans here need it. The veterans here deserve it," Lewis emotionally stated during the meeting.

There has already been interest shown in taking over this position but it is up to the county commissioners to approve funding for a full-time officer. During the July 11 meeting of the Cumberland County Commission budget committee, a new committee was formed to review funding for a part-time veterans service officer. The committee consists of Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner; Don Ivey, 2nd District commissioner; and Carmin Lynch and Clyde Cramer, 9th District commissioners. No meeting date for the committee has been set.

Veterans United asks that all who attended the monthly meeting and also the community help support their need for a full-time veterans service officer by calling their local county commissioners and encouraging them to see to it that this position be filled.

If you are a veteran in Cumberland County and would like to attend the group's next monthly meeting, it will be on Aug. 21 at the Disabled American Veterans Hall starting at noon. A meal will be provided. For more information about Veterans United, please contact Bill Oehlecker at 788-9222.

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