01/16/2008: "New County Veterans’ Advisory Board Formed"
The San Juan County Veterans’ Advisory Board (SJVAB) to the County Council will hold their second meeting Friday, January 25, 2008 at 11:30 am – 2:-00 pm in the large conference room (formerly called the Countrywide Room) in the Legislative Building across from the Courthouse, 55 Second Street.
The Board held their first organizational meeting on December 20, 2007. The SJVAB is a state-mandated county board that makes recommendations for the awarding of money that has been collected for a Veterans’ Relief Fund. All counties in the Washington are required by law to set aside one and one-eight cents per thousand dollars each year that is collected from property taxes. This years total budget was $56,000.00 (which included a carry-over from last year).
The money is to be used to help indigent veterans, and families of indigent veterans, who have medical, housing, and treatment needs that they cannot afford to provide for themselves. Applicants in need may make application to a VAB, who will review the application, and based on evidence and testimony, the VAB will make a recommendation for an award of funds.
The state program has been in existence for a number of years, but until now it has been informally administered by local American Legion Posts who made their recommendations directly to the SJC Auditor. While this has served the purpose, it failed to meet proper procedure.
AJC Auditor Milene Henley brought the matter up in a report the Council, and recommended that a formal board be formed as required by the state. Members of the SJVAB must be a veteran, and since Alan Lichter is the only veteran on the board, he took the lead to bring the County into compliance.
Lichter worked with Jerry Pfannenstiel, Veterans Services Coordinator for Washington State Veterans Advisory, to form a local board, and asked the council members to nominate county veterans to be on the board. A total of twelve names were submitted, and from them, a selection was made of the eight that are required to be on the board.
The members of the board are: Alan Lichter, Chairman (Army); Jack Cory (Army); Roger Salquist (Navy); Brent Johnson (Air Force); Mike Kaill (Navy); Michael Baker (Army); Robert Cook (Air Force); Ron Metcalf (Air Force) , and Susie Teague; (Army)