Veterans qualify for burial, marker at national cemeteries

By CARL STODDARD
Capital News Service
LANSING — More than 640,000 veterans live in Michigan, and nearly all are entitled to a benefit reserved for them — burial at a national cemetery with military honors. But many Michigan veterans are unaware of that benefit or many others available to them. In Michigan, burials are provided at two national cemeteries operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

● The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township, about 15 miles south of Flint. ● The Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, about 6 miles west of Battle Creek. At both cemeteries, burials as well as headstones or markers are offered at no charge to veterans and their spouses.

Tax break for veterans faces resistance from local governments

By CAITLIN DeLUCA
Capital News Service
LANSING- A bill to increase the number of disabled veterans receiving property tax exemptions faces cautious resistance from local governments that would lose revenue if it passes . And representatives of some veterans groups sympathize with their position. The bill would broaden the exemption to include unmarried surviving spouses of veterans and residential or agricultural real property used as a homestead by the veteran or the surviving spouse. As it stands, even wealthy individuals qualify. Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, co-sponsor of the bill, said it shows veterans respect.

Local veterans organization provides needed support for community

By Rachel Beard
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

For U.S. veterans, finding information about important issues like veterans care and benefits can be challenging. But for the 666 veterans living in Lansing Township, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, Post 701, provides a vital support system. “There are so many organizations now that no one person could name them all, but many veterans are not aware that they even exist or that there are benefits available for them,” Vice President of the veterans organization Honor for All Kent Hall said. “There is no veterans phone book or lists available for us to contact a veteran in need. It is usually word of mouth.

Veterans have resources, networking to rely upon in Ingham County

By Hannah Brenner
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

There was not a single parking space open at VFW Post 701 on Saturday, Feb. 28. The hall was packed with all people, from old men talking at the bar to children dancing to the live band. It is a day that Navy veteran Ron Ledesma will never forget, the day the community came together to support him and his family. VFW Post 701 housed a benefit for Ledesma and his family to help them pay for medical expenses and bills while he is unable to work.

VFW posts in Clinton County offer veterans a chance to share their experiences

By Nathaniel Bott
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 4,900 veterans of foreign wars currently residing in Clinton County. In fact, the veteran population is dwindling, as projections will drop below 4,000 veterans in the next 10 years. Arguably the most important community program for veterans, despite their downturn in numbers, upon their return to the United States are VFW, or Veterans of Foreign Wars, posts. They are establishments that allow veterans to get together and share their common experiences. “They do a lot of things as far as events, different veteran type of events, like things for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, all types of community activities,” Joe DiGiovanni, a certified Veterans Service Officer for the American Legion said.

State grants give vets more counselors, faster service

By SHEILA SCHIMPF
Capital News Service
LANSING – Almost $200,000 in state money is on its way to veterans’ services offices in 19 counties, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency said. Another $50,000 could be awarded before the year ends, part of a $250,000 allocation from theLegislature, according to the veterans affairs agency. Most of the county offices will use the grants for new technology and to hire more counselors. Wexford County will establish a new office. Rob Price, director of targeted outreach at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Office, said by the end of the year, only seven of Michigan’s 83 counties will be without a county veterans office.

War memorial in St. Johns honors veterans

By Luke Robins
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS – The Veterans Memorial in downtown St. Johns serves as both an attraction and an area to honor fallen soldiers from Clinton County. Dennis Scott, a member of the Clinton County Veteran’s Trust Fund Committee, said, “It’s a labor of love. It’s something we wanted to be proud of when we were done with it and I think we’ve achieved that goal now.”

Erected in 2006, the monument features a cannon, a brick pathway with names engraved, and black granite tables that features soldiers that lost their lives during battle surrounded by flags.

Few Access Problems For Vets, VA Center In Detroit, Ann Arbor Say

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service
LANSING — Nationally, a majority of veterans may wait more than 30 days for their appointments with doctors, according to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, more than 90 percent of veterans in Michigan can complete their appointments within 30 days, according to VA centers in Ann Arbor and Detroit. According to Lauren DeVol, a public information officer at the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Michigan has more than 660,000 veterans, the 11th highest in the United States. Of them, more than 220,000 — or 33.5 — percent live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, DeVol said. For the VA center in Detroit, the access problem is not that serious, an official said.

Delhi Township continues to honor World War II veterans

By Catherine Ferland
Holt Journal staff reporter

In 1945 the United States celebrated its victory and the end of World War II, one of the deadliest wars in world history. Seventy years later, only 855,070 of the original 16 million American servicemen remain. It is estimated that around 500 American World War II veterans die each day. With each passing day, the nation loses witnesses to its history. This struck a chord with C.J. Davis, the Delhi Township supervisor, who said that he wanted to honor the remaining local veterans by documenting their stories.

Veteran-home volunteers hold hands, listen, comfort

By ELIZABETH FERGUSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — In 1994, Pam Jackovich of Marquette turned to volunteering to add meaning to her life after the death of her husband, a Vietnam War veteran. Jackovich visited the D.J. Jacobetti State Veterans Home in Marquette and immediately enjoyed the conversations she had with veterans there. “I started visiting with the residents and I really started learning more about history,” Jackovich said. In April, Jackovich was honored for volunteering more than 9,000 service hours at the home in the last 20 years — an average of seven hours a week. Volunteers who socialize with veterans and run home activities are considered necessary for state veteran homes in Marquette and Grand Rapids, according to Jim Dunn, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency deputy director, who oversees both homes.