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Reyes steps up as new service officer for American Legion
ARLINGTON Arlington American Legion Post 76 Chaplain Keith Reyes is still in training to become the posts new service officer, but he encouraged veterans to contact him with their concerns in the meantime.
Ive been doing on-the-job training with Joy Finley, service officer for Stanwood American Legion Post 92, since early November, Reyes said. Shes been doing this for at least five years and Ive been shadowing her three, sometimes four days a week, five hours a day.
Reyes admitted that learning all of the laws and federal regulations governing veterans benefits has been difficult, but hes also learned which reference materials he can research for his answers. Moreover, he considers his chosen role well worth the extra effort.
These are benefits for veterans, their dependents and their survivors, said Reyes, who retired from the Navy on disability in 1996, after 20 years of service. I already know some of the ropes from my firsthand experiences with the VA system.
Reyes expects to receive his eight-hour official training and accreditation as a service officer by the spring, and plans on continuing the partnership he and Finley have struck up, to assist veterans in both areas and beyond.
The plan is to set up office hours in Arlington Fridays from noon to 4 p.m., Reyes said. Ill probably work in her office Tuesdays and Thursdays, and shell reciprocate by helping me out here.
Reyes and Finley have already served veterans from Stanwood, Arlington, Marysville, Monroe and Snohomish at her office, while Reyes has posted his phone numbers at Legion Halls for both posts offices, as well as his cell phone number and e-mail address.
You dont have to belong to a post in Snohomish County, Reyes said. You dont even have to be a post member at all. A lot of veterans think they have to be. Our counseling exists to educate them on the benefits to which theyre entitled. After that, we can discuss service organizations.
While Reyes spreads the word that Arlington veterans have a new service officer, former Service Officer Jim Barron remains willing to help answer veterans questions on minor issues.
Ill still probably help them fill out application forms, rather than calling Keith in, Barron said. Im looking to get out of this eventually, though, since Ive already got too many things going on.
Barron added that the Arlington Legion Hall would soon be staging monthly benefit dinners, open to the public, for various charities and scholarship funds, but could offer no further details at this time.
To contact Reyes, you may call 360-435-2492 in Arlington, 360-629-8021 in Stanwood, or 360-631-4467 on his cell phone, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.