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Veterans Service Office opening in Keweenaw County

Over 300 veterans residing in Keweenaw County have a local option for help. Derek Parkinen has been tapped to head a new Veterans Service Office, located in Allouez at the town center on Bumbletown Road. It is the first time that Keweenaw veterans will have their own branch for resolving compensation and benefits issues, utilizing the GI Bill for a college education, and getting access to healthcare. Previously, it was handled through the Houghton County location.

Parkinen says there is a donut, with many Vietnam veterans and older stretching to even World War II, plus younger men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, with few representing the mostly peaceful years in between. He says younger veterans in particular should not hesitate to take advantage of what they have earned.

We want the younger guys out there to know that we are there to serve them. We want them to know that you are not taking away from an older veteran who needs benefits. The benefits are there for everyone because you’ve served the country and the country wants to take care of you for what you’ve done.

Parkinen commends the VA for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is shifting to vaccinations now. Parkinen says he got his first shot earlier this month.

Actually last weekend, we opened up at the Hancock VA, our satellite office, 400 spots opened for any veterans of any age that were able to come in and get their first COVID vaccination with Moderna. The second will be held at the end of this month. I actually went in there myself and got my first shot.

You can reach the Keweenaw County Veterans Service Office at (906) 934-2354 or by email: vso@keweenawcountymi.gov.

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