By DALE GRAHAM
Cheatham County’s first ever Veteran’s Service Officer Bob Counter, has taken on an important job for local veterans. “It’s a pretty all-encompassing job”, Counter said this week, “whatever a veteran needs”, from help with paperwork and filings for disability claims due to injuries or diseases that occurred when they were active duty, etc. In other words, to help the vets get the benefits that they are owed, “that they fought for”, Counter added.
That is usually a complicated mess for most people to sift through, and can take years and lead to frustration and simply, giving up. Counter explained, “We’re dealing with one of the largest organizations in the government, and their bureaucracy is overwhelming”, to an average person. It can also take an inordinate amount of time, “Those guys are looking at a couple of years before they get their just rewards you might say”, or even longer he adds, “it’s a daunting task”.
Counter knows all about daunting tasks. He has years of experience with government, beginning with 23 years of active duty with the Air Force, several years as a defense contractor and a variety of other positions before retiring in 2009. His experience and energy, as well as his energetic helper and wife, Kelley, make him a valuable asset to Cheatham County Veterans
On Memorial Day this week, Counter emceed the first, hopefully annual, Veteran’s Memorial Service held at the Tucker Empson Building in Ashland City. There was a standing room only crowd on hand to remember those lost, and to dedicate the new flag poles on site. Also present was a contingent of WWII veterans who also participated in the ceremony.
The county has authorized Counter to work 20 hours weekly. He is available on Tuesdays from 12 – 7, and on Wednesdays from 9 – 4 in the Tucker Empson building in Ashland City. The remaining hours are spent doing research and paperwork, and in meetings. He meets with the Veteran’s Council, and the Veteran’s Advisory Committee, which is comprised of county commissioners, other vets, and concerned citizens.
He also hopes eventually to set up meeting places in the county’s three other large cities: Pleasant View, Pegram and Kingston Springs where he could meet with local vets on a rotating basis.
On this Memorial Day Counter was able to meet lots of area veterans, and reach out to them and their families. The ceremony included words from State Representative Mary Littleton, County Mayor David McCullough, even a Cheatham County Memorial Role Call, where the names of local service members lost during WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan were read. Danny Young sang “The American Vet”, a song that he wrote.
There was a delicious breakfast provided on the beautiful, sunny morning as well.
To speak with Veteran’s Service Officer Bob Counter, call (615) 308-0917.