Johnson City Press: Story on the frontline helping veterans
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Story on the frontline helping veterans

Robert Houk • Jun 29, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Jerry Story began work as Washington County’s veterans service officer in 2016 after a 38-year career as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at schools in Washington and Greene counties.

He is a Johnson City native and Vietnam-era Air Force veteran.

Story said he was attracted to the job as a result of difficulties he and other veterans have experienced in accessing their benefits.

Fast Facts

Dog or cat person: “I am neither.”

Favorite movie: “The Green Berets” with John Wayne.

Best place to unwind: “My favorite fishing hole on Boone Lake.”

WHAT ARE YOUR DUTIES AS VETERANS SERVICE OFFICER?

My duties as the Washington County veterans services officer are to advise and counsel veterans and their eligible dependents of all benefits, privileges, and rights for which they are eligible.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS LINE OF WORK

The County Commission voted to hire a VSO for Washington County, and I read about it in the paper. I wanted to continue working after I retired from the Washington County Department of Education, so I applied for and was hired for the job. I am a veteran also and wanted to help other veterans receive the benefits for which they are eligible.

WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB?

The most rewarding part of this job is to receive a phone call, email, text, or visit from a veteran or dependent letting me know that the benefits for which they had applied have been granted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

WHAT ARE THE TOP ISSUES FOR VETERANS TODAY?

There are many issues facing veterans. Some of these would include homelessness, mental health, receiving health care at Mountain Home or other VA medical facilities, waiting months or even years to have claims decided and proving a nexus between what the duties of a veteran during active duty caused and the problems they are having now — just to highlight a few.

 WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS LOOKING FOR A WAY TO HELP VETERANS?

The best way to help a veteran who is asking for help is to listen. Find out what the veteran needs and then genuinely try to locate the resources that will eventually lead to resolving the problem. Show by your actions — not your words — that you are willing to help.

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