The Porter County government is made up of many wonderful departments, but one of the county’s best-kept secrets is the Veterans Affairs Office, a group of hard-working individuals striving to make a positive, invaluable impact on the veterans within the community.
The Veterans Affairs Office’s mission is to assist veterans in claiming their federal, state, and local benefits. They can assist veterans with receiving their disability benefits, pension, VA healthcare, or property tax reductions.
The office can also assist a veteran with something as small as getting a disability discount for a hunting and fishing license. Additionally, the office assists the families of veterans in receiving funeral benefits to cover the cost of their loved one’s funeral.
Edwin See, the new director of the Veterans Affairs office, understands firsthand how important it is for veterans to receive their benefits. As a retired police officer and a veteran himself, See is passionate about his work and is dedicated to his mission of encouraging veterans to come and receive their benefits.
“When a veteran gets benefits from disability or from a pension, their chances of becoming homeless go down to almost nothing. It allows them to take care of themselves. They’re able to pay for rent, food, and clothing,” said See.
A problem the office is facing right now, though, is that veterans aren’t coming in.
“We have a volunteer military. These are people who believe in what they're doing and who stepped up because they felt it was the right thing to do. Oftentimes, they won’t come in until it’s almost too late,” said See.
See encourages all who can to come and get their benefits because they’re not just important for you, but also for the people you love.
“It took me 10 years after coming back from Iraq to actually realize that I needed to get those benefits. The way it was explained to me by my wife is that you're not doing this for you. You're doing it for your kids, and you're doing it for the people in your life that care for you,” said See.
Ultimately, it’s very important for veterans to learn more about the Porter County Veterans Affairs Office’s services so that they can receive their benefits. There are two Porter County offices: one is located at 155 Indiana Avenue, Suite 103 in Valparaiso, and the other is located at 3560 Willowcreek Drive, Room 150 in Portage. The offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If people have questions, they are always welcome to walk in and ask. People can also reach out by phone or email. See is working to hand out more fliers at local events, such as the Porter County Fair, so that people can learn more.
The Porter County Veterans Affairs Office may be small, but the impact it has on the community is not. When a veteran is ready to receive their benefits, whether they’re a recently disabled veteran or an 80-year-old who fought in Vietnam, the Veterans Affairs Office is always there to help.
To learn more about the Porter County Veterans Affairs Office and its mission to support veterans and their families, visit porterco.org.