An average day at the Veteran’s Services office includes five scheduled appointments, 10 to 15 walk-ins, and numerous phone calls. Dawn Troyer, secretary, and Karen Books, intake specialist, greet visitors, answer the phone, set up appointments and make referrals. In addition, the office staff orders and tracks flags and markers for Memorial Day based on requests from other organizations serving Veterans, including the DAV, American Legion and VFW. Money to make the purchases comes mostly from private donations, although Martin’s Supermarkets is an ongoing supporter of this annual project.
In addition to set appointments, Lundy said he also visits veterans in nursing homes, assisted living centers and hospitals, when needed. Finding out a Veteran passed away shortly after visiting them is Ron’s least favorite part of the job, but he knows the importance of visiting them for both the veteran and their family. Currently, veterans needing services at a Veteran Affairs hospital must travel to Fort Wayne or Marion, creating additional challenges and travel expenses. Local veterans also have the local Goshen VA Clinic for most of their general health care needs. In 2015, a larger VA health care facility will open in South Bend, which Lundy said will serve veterans from Elkhart County.
Lundy is the sixth veterans service officer since the department began in the 1940s.
He said, “Our job is to help every veteran in Elkhart County. We would like to get the word out to The Goshen News readers to send Veterans (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) to see us. It’s never too late to come for services.”
The agency is located at 320 W. High St., Elkhart and the phone number is 574-523-2342.