Veteran service officer settles into new role
ESCANABA — Since January 2016, David Dziewior has served as a full-time veterans service officer (VSO) for Delta County. Dziewior said things have been going well in the position so far.
“The response from the community and the support from the county has been nothing short of outstanding,” he said.
According to Dziewior, he has been able to assist hundreds of veterans since his arrival.
“This office has helped a little over 550 veterans with veterans benefits, financial assistance, and/or county benefits,” he said.
The amount of financial benefits provided to local veterans has increased since Dziewior began working as a full-time VSO. In 2016, a total of $21,699,000 in benefits was provided to local veterans — an increase of $2,424,000, or about 12 percent, from the $19,275,000 in benefits provided to local veterans in 2015.
Dziewior said while he played a role in the increase, he does not believe he was the only person responsible for it.
“It’s also a joint effort between myself and the state service officers that come into our county to assist veterans,” he said. These officers included representatives of organizations such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Dziewior also noted Delta County’s commissioners and administration have played an important role by advocating for the hiring of a full-time VSO and supporting the program.
“Without their support, I don’t think it would have happened,” he said.
Over the past year and a half, Dziewior said he has accomplished several of his goals for the veterans service office. These goals included establishing a better flow of information to veterans, increasing and improving the services available to veterans in the county, increasing the financial assistance provided to area veterans, working with businesses in the area to provide services to veterans, improving the veterans service office and its technological capabilities, and purchasing a van to provide veterans with transportation to Iron Mountain’s Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.
“That’s coming in July or August,” Dziewior said of the van.
In the future, Dziewior said he hopes to set up an annual veteran career fair in the area, create a Veterans Helping Veterans program, establish a veterans court, and continue improving the services provided to veterans in Delta County.
Dziewior encouraged veterans in need of assistance and people and businesses interested in assisting veterans to contact his office at (906) 786-7228. The office, located in the Delta County Airport, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and by appointment only on Fridays.