By Kellie Van Maele
The Ingham County Chronicle
INGHAM COUNTY– The Veterans Resource Center at Michigan State University has recently welcomed a new representative, Sarah Mellon, to the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative. The new program, located in room eight of the Student Services building, is in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, as well as the Michigan College Access Network. The goal of the program is to provide services and assistance to veterans that are transitioning from the military to college.
“As of right now I am working on getting staff for the office, as well as gauging the needs of the veterans on campus,” Mellon said. “In the fall we hope to host more events to introduce the program to veterans on campus.”
The program is located at colleges across Michigan such as Western Michigan University, Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University with the intention to connect college veterans to higher learning and support.
Ingham County also has a program that serves veterans in the area.
“My first responsibility is to ensure that our department as a whole is providing adequate and competent services to our areas veterans and their dependents,” said Randy Marwede, director of the Ingham County Veteran’s Affairs office. “Another hat that I wear is one that is to ensure that area veterans and service providers are aware of the services that we provide.”
The Ingham County Veterans Affairs office files nearly 500 disability claims per year, which serves only a fraction of the 20,000 veterans and survivors in the area.
“Each and every benefit has its own eligibility criteria,” Marwede said. “I would encourage all veterans and their dependents to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors to determine their eligibility for the various benefits.”
Both programs continue to grow as the needs of veterans develop.
“The veterans look to us service centers for the benefits that they are entitled to,” said Pam Frame, trust fund agent at the Ingham County Veterans Affairs office. “When they come in I assess their needs and direct them to who they need to speak to.”
The staffs at both centers are very eager to help those that have served our country.
“I would say it’s rewarding,” Frame said. “They are absolutely wonderful to help out.”
If you are a veteran seeking benefits, visit the office’s website to schedule an appointment.