To the editor:

A Veterans Service Officer (VSO) is entrusted to receive, manage, and listen to a significant amount of personal and sensitive material pertaining to medical conditions and financial information. I want to thank the approximately 2,675 (Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2020) DeKalb County Veterans and their families for entrusting me to assist with and handle their military service entitled benefits over the past 15 months. In addition to the DeKalb County Veterans, this office also manages military service benefits for approximately 3,736 Veterans (Vetra Spec, 2021) from outside of DeKalb County and outside the state of Indiana. Our DeKalb County Veterans and their families welcomed me into this position and for that I am extremely grateful and humbled. I only hope my professional assistance was as meaningful to our Veterans, as the many close relationships I developed with our Veterans was to me.

My decision to leave the VSO position was based completely on personal goals and professional opportunities. Despite my departure from the DeKalb VSO position, I will continue to serve our county Veterans by volunteering with local Veteran not for profits such as Quiet Knight and VA volunteer services. Additionally, I will continue to serve as a service officer in our local service organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). In short, I will not be a stranger to our county Veterans and their families.

Thank you to Mr. Brian Lamm for being a mentor to me as I came into this office. Brian served as our County VSO for over 16 years and built the DeKalb County VSO program into what it is today. He provided me the tools, training, and leadership I needed to successfully maintain and expand the program he built.

Finally, I want to congratulate and welcome Mrs. Ronda Hunkler as the new DeKalb County VSO. Ronda is a Veteran of the U.S. Army with an extreme passion for Veteran care and benefits. Her experience in the military and as a long-time county employee, combined with her passion to help Veterans, will ensure all of our county Veterans and their families continue to receive unparalleled VSO care.

If you are a Veteran, a dependent family member of a Veteran, or know a Veteran who needs help with their military service benefits, please do not hesitate to contact the DeKalb County VSO at 260-925-0131.

“Greater love hath no person than to lay down their life for their friends and nation.”

With great respect,

Travis Holcomb

Outgoing DeKalb County VSO

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