Clinton Twp., MI - Macomb County has been selected by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) as its “Veteran Friendly County of the Year.”
The award recognizes counties that demonstrate noteworthy impact on its veteran population through the use of a County Veterans Service Fund Grant and other resources in the areas of benefit connectivity, employment, education, health care, quality of life and/or innovative programming.
"When it comes to our veterans, we take pride in serving those who have served us,'' said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "It is not only our duty to provide support to our veterans, it's our honor. The Macomb County Office of Veterans Services focuses on helping them receive the benefits they deserve. They are on the ground every day connecting individuals with resources and guiding people through complex processes. It's because of these efforts that Macomb County has the distinction of being the number one veteran friendly county in the state."
Macomb County’s Veterans Service Fund Grant from the MVAA has been used for a variety of advertising campaigns that have increased website traffic and contacts with veterans. The grant has also been used for doctor opinion letters for PTSD and hearing loss, financial coaches and a site coordinator for tax assistance programs.
Outside of the grant, the county has a veterans mileage to provide additional support for those that have served our country. These additional funds have made it possible for veterans to receive assistance above and beyond what is offered as a benefit for service from the federal government.
Ultimately, Macomb County Office of Veterans Services Director Laura Rios attributes the MVAA honor to the active and responsive coalition of agencies who stand ready to offer whatever assistance a veteran may need.
“Through the Macomb Veterans Action Collaborative, we take a person-centered approach to every veteran who asks for our help,” Rios said. “We are able to provide individualized assistance to veterans based on their specific needs. With the help of many organizations, we are able to provide job assistance, veteran specific emergent need food, health care transportation, housing assistance, financial counseling, homecare, women veterans support groups, readjustment counseling and education assistance.”
County officials accepted the Veteran Friendly County of the Year honor at the MVAA’s first-ever Michigan Military & Veterans Gala on November 6. Katie Carroll, an employee within Macomb County Veterans Services, also accepted an individual award for Trust Fund Agent of the Year, an honor that recognizes the various projects and programs this position manages. The formal event, which was held at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, was designed to celebrate Michigan's National Guard members, state veterans and advocates who support both groups.
"We are excited to be hosting this inaugural event which is a recognition of the significant contribution the Michigan National Guard and our state's veterans have had in our efforts to defend the homeland and support so many aspects of our daily lives here in Michigan," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Zaneta Adams, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, said the gala presents a great opportunity to celebrate Michigan veterans leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
"It's important to recognize and honor our veterans for their sacrifice to our country," Adams said. "This inaugural event brings together members of the military and veteran communities to showcase and celebrate our 'member for life' philosophy here in Michigan."
For more information on Macomb County Veterans Services, visit vets.macombgov.org.