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2015-06-25

Veteran's Honor Fund of Bandera

By Dennis Birchall

By Dennis Birchall
Veterans Service Officer

Upon taking the Bandera County Veterans Service Officer position, Judge Evans gave me his vision of how this office should work. He envisioned the Bandera County Veterans Service Office as a focus of the county's effort to support veterans. He stressed the need for this office to reach out to other agencies, charities and organizations both within and outside the county to ensure veterans received the support they have earned and needed. This vision was reinforced by all the County Commissioners.
During my initial Texas Veterans Commission training I learned of the Veterans County Service Officer Association of Texas (VCSOAT). One of the members of that group who also participates in the Hill County Veterans Council (HCVC) put me in contact with the representatives of an anonymous donor in Gillespie County that wanted to thank veterans for their service by feeding veterans in need. The way he accomplished this was to establish a Veterans Honor Fund. Initially, the donor teamed with the County Veterans Service Officer and the Golden Hub in Gillespie County to provide meals to veterans who needed assistance. With the success of the program in Gillespie County the donor wanted to expand the program.
Pam Thatcher the Executive Director and Amy Dee Hawley the Administrative Assistant at Silver Sage Community Center indicated they would be willing to participate in a similar program here in Bandera County and provided a tour of the Silver Sage facility for the donor's representatives. Needless to say, the representatives were impressed with the Silver Sage facility and programs, they transferred the funding, and the Veterans Honor Fund of Bandera was born.
The donor has transferred funding to the Silver Sage to spend down the cost of the veteran meals. Silver Sage will refer veterans in need to the Bandera County Veterans Service Officer (BCVSO) or, the BCVSO will identify veterans who need assistance with meals. The BCVSO will verify veteran's status as United States Military Veteran, screen the veteran according to Veteran Administration Pension Guidelines for low income level, and whether veteran wants assistance with meals and will use meals.
The BCVSO then provides the veteran with a letter of authorization and adds the veteran to the master list that is provided to the Silver Sage and the donor's representatives. The veteran then coordinates with Silver Sage for meal procedures and will not pay any fee for the meals. The Silver Sage provides the BCVSO with a monthly report on the number of meals consumed and the balance in the fund. The BCVSO forwards this monthly report to the donor.
To determine your eligibility for this veteran's program please contact Dennis Birchall at the Bandera County Veterans Service Office located at 403 E. 12th Street in Bandera, Texas. You can also call at (830) 460-1643 or email at dbirchall@banderacounty.org.