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Posted: January 24, 2009 8:23 p.m.

Veterans’ services

Dear Editor: Once a man or woman leaves the military, they are entitled to earned benefits, but each must be applied for in writing. Within the state of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Veterans Service provides their expertise, at no charge, to maximize each and every benefit applied for. Additionally, the veteran's spouse and children may be entitled at earned benefits. Each office is called a VSO - Veterans Service Office. The VSO in Conyers services the counties of Rockdale, Newton and Walton, but veterans and their families make use of this VSO from all counties along I-20, from I-285 to Madison, which includes southeast Gwinnett and Henry County. The manager of the Conyers VSO is a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran, Tommy Clack, Vietnam veterans and war veterans from around Georgia come to Conyers for help. The assistant manager, Mylene Brett, takes care of widows from 20 surrounding counties. Thus, the Conyers VSO is always very busy.

The counties serviced by the Conyers VSO have the following number of veterans and their monetary benefits had a great economic impact during fiscal year '07 (Oct. 1, 2006 to Sept. 30, 2007). Rockdale has 8,720 veterans with $11,699,000 in earned income, Newton has 6,148 veterans with $10,286,000, Walton has 5,988 veterans with $7,979,000, Henry has 16,751 veterans with $30,151,000, DeKalb has 46,002 veterans with $100,073,000 and includes the VA Medical Center and Gwinnett has 47,647 veterans with $52,784,000.

During 2008, the Conyers VSO had 27,737 contacts. That number represents a growth in 2007 of 24,449 contacts. Every veteran should check into their earned state and federal benefits. Veterans can call the Conyers VSO at (770) 388-5075.

Each citizen should tell all veterans and their families thank you for their service and sacrifices. Remember "Freedom isn't free."

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