While the pandemic decreased the number of walk-in veteran appointments, Wadena County veterans service officer David Anderson continued supporting veterans in a “rewarding” year, as he shared in his annual report with commissioners on April 20.

The number of walk-ins was decreased from March to July 2020 with 706 walk-in visits at the courthouse, Menahga senior center and Sebeka city hall for the year. In 2019, there were 1,234 walk-in visits. The senior center and city hall were closed for a period of time and walk-in services were not offered then. The phone calls remained steady at 1,123 compared to 1,116.

The number of veterans in the county is at approximately 1,120. Anderson also serves about 50-60 veterans outside the county. He has been having more people recommend him to their fellow veterans.

In 2020, veterans used $25,926.81 in dental, optical and special needs grants; in 2019 $15,406.18 was used. The increase comes through a state funded grant program for unemployed veterans, which Wadena County veterans benefited well from, as Anderson said.

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The Veterans Affairs funds in Wadena County in 2019 were $17,774,000, or $15,841.35 per veteran. The total in 2018 was $16,176,000 and $14,005.19 per veteran.

“I try to get as many veterans into my office as I can, get them benefits or get them medical benefits or things like that,” Anderson said.

Anderson thanked the commissioners for the opportunity to work in this position. He has been the veterans officer since 2006.

For veteran services, including transportation, you can call Anderson at 218-631-7617 or email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us. The county website also has additional information.

Read the full report on the Pioneer Journal website.