ESCANABA - The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Mobile Service Office van made its way to Escanaba recently to meet with local disabled veterans at the VFW Post 2998.
The DAV's MSO helps disabled veterans apply for a wide range of benefits, according to Robert McClellan, a DAV national service officer from Detroit.
"Everyday we help them file and apply for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs and medical benefits through the VA Medical Center system," he said. "We help them apply for the DD 214, their service medical records, their medals and awards from service. There's an array of things."
The MSO van is shared with other DAV offices in approximately five other states, though McClellan provides services to disabled veterans throughout Michigan.
"We have a blocked period that we get the MSO and when we do, we set up checkpoints across the state," he said.
McClellan visited Escanaba with another officer from Saginaw. The MSO van will now travel across the U.P. to meet with veterans in Newberry, St. Ignace, and Sault Ste. Marie, before heading back downstate to Gaylord and Grand Rapids, and returning to the eastern side of the state.
McClellan estimates meeting with anywhere between 50 to 100 veterans in one day while on the road. As of noon on its first day in the area, service officers had already met with roughly 20 veterans from the Escanaba area.
fficer or department service officer with DAV is a disabled veteran, said McClellan. When he was injured and left the military, he was unaware of all the VA benefits and processes there were but was assisted by members of the DAV. As a national service officer, he now gets to help other veterans facing similar situations.
"To give back to an organization that helped me get my disability, you can't ask for a better job to help others do the same," he said.
He noted any disabled veterans that need help should be sure to contact the DAV for assistance.
"A lot of people look at the Disabled American Veterans and the VA as being you've got to be so disabled that you're in a wheel chair or have had amputations, but they don't understand. It could be just a ringing in your ears or hearing loss or post-traumatic stress disorder," said McClellan. "A lot of disabilities go unseen so if they have any questions or anything, they should always contact us for help."
To contact DAV, or for more information on the organization, visit www.dav.org.