Officials hold first Vets Outreach Meeting

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Smith County officials met with about a dozen residents Tuesday evening (June 12) at the first Citizens and Veterans Outreach Meetings, said public information officer Casey Murphy.

Smith County Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton introduced the initiative, as well as the Smith County Veteran Services Officers, during the meeting held at the Smith County R.B. Hubbard Facility, “The Hub.”

Another Veteran Outreach Meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Monday, July 16 at the Kinzie Community Center, 912 Mount Sylvan Street in Lindale.

Smith County Veteran Services Officer Mike Roark and Assistant Veteran Services Officer Catherine Thomas discussed services and resources their office provides to local veterans and their families.

“I think we did a really great job explaining the resources we can provide as a county to our veterans,” Hampton said. “While there was a good turnout at our first meeting Tuesday, we would like to see even more people show up at our future meetings.”

Roark agreed.

“I think it went really well,” he said. “We had a good turnout … and they asked some really good questions.”

The Veteran Services Office provides information and advocacy services to veterans and their families throughout the claims, appeals and benefit processes with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

There are more than 17,000 veterans in Smith County.

The Smith County Commissioners Court and Veteran Services Office will hold four meetings throughout the county this summer as part of “Operation Reciprocity: Serving Those Who Served Us,” an outreach initiative for the local veteran community.

In addition to the Lindale meeting, other meetings held throughout Smith County include:

6:30 p.m., Monday, July 9, at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1799, 14391 Rhones Quarter Road in Tyler

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Smith County R.B. Hubbard Facility, 304 E. Ferguson in Tyler.

“Operation Reciprocity” seeks to ensure that the office is providing the highest quality customer service to local veterans and their families and, when needed, to serve as a bridge to other veterans organizations that can assist veterans in need.

Participants who have received help from the Smith County Veteran Services Office are asked to fill out a feedback form. These forms can also be filled out online at www.smith-county.com.

The Smith County Veteran Services Office, located at 210 E. Ferguson, is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 903-590-2953.

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