In 2006, Ravalli County citizens voted overwhelmingly in favor of a one-mill levy to support the Valley Veterans Service Center. As a public charity 501(c)3 non-profit organization, without the mill levy, director Rob Embree says the doors would have definitely closed. With the mill levy, however, came a decrease in grants and donations, leaving Embree to believe that the community was under the misconception that the mill levy paid 100% of the organization’s operating expenses. It covers approximately 70%, with organization having to come up with the remaining funds.
As more veterans learned of these services, VVS began to see a tremendous increase in those veterans seeking assistance with disabilities received during their time in service, and requiring assistance with filing medical claims. All services are 100% free of charge to the veteran and their dependents. VVS sees veterans from WWII through our present conflicts. Recent reports show that returning Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans are committing suicide at the rate of 18 per day according to many government agencies, which means nationally 5,760 veterans are lost each year to medical and psychological issues.
This office is one of a kind in the state of Montana. Rob Embree is the only active Certified Claims Agent within the state of Montana, and one of 74 within the United States. He has helped and assisted veterans from as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Florida. This office has been a pilot program for the VA with teleconferencing equipment bringing instant information between the VA and veterans for the past six years.
A Veterans Fun Run will be held on Saturday, July 28 in Hamilton. Start off Daly Days with fun for the whole family at the Veterans Benefit 5k and 10k Fun Run or Walk at the Canyons Athletic Club, 472 Tammany Lane in Hamilton. All ages are welcome and you don’t have to be a runner, or a veteran, to participant. Registration is at 8 a.m. with race start time at 9 a.m. Cost is $25 per person or $5 for kids 8-12. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash. Food, refreshments, and medical aid will be available on site plus prizes and drawings. Each registered participant will receive a 2012 Fun Run shirt at the gate. Go to www.valleyveteransservicecenter.org to download entry forms. For questions about the event call 363-9838 or Tony (event coordinator) at 396-2755.
If you would like more information about available veterans’ services, stop by the office at 299 Fairgrounds Road, Suite #4 in Hamilton, or visit valleyveteransservicecenter.org.