EATON — State and local officials and military veterans from across Preble County turned out to help celebrate the official grand opening of the new Preble County Veterans Services Office with a ribbon cutting with the support of the Preble County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
Located at 1322 N. Barron St., in Five Points Centre, the new facility boasts greater accessibility with an up-to-date look.
The former office was located in the US. Bank building in downtown Eaton for approximately 18 years, according to Preble County Veteran Services Officer Cole French.
“I just thought it was time for an upgrade and a new scene. It was kind of in the ‘old times’ and I think it was time to upgrade and get with the ‘new times.’ It really helps veterans coming in and seeing everything. It brings a smile to their faces and it’s just really good,” he said.
“It also helps with our privacy,” French added. “At the other office we had some privacy concerns, where if there’s multiple people in there, they can hear each other, so this way we’ll be able to get them in private rooms and be able to have private conversations with them, which helps tremendously.”
The new location currently has six offices in use, with room for up to six additional, according to French, who said Veteran Services also used to have to rent a storage unit and no longer has a need for that. “Now all of our wheelchairs and things that we lend out to people are stored here, which helps,” he said.
The new space has conference room space, two restrooms, and more.
“It’s a lot more handy for parking,” French said. “Parking was a big problem at the other place. We only had those four parking spaces in front of our office, and now we have a whole parking lot.”
French said the Preble County Veteran Services Office sees at least 25 people each week. Among its many services, the VSO offers financial assistance to veterans. “We offer help filing claims for disability or pensions, really anything a veteran needs,” French said. “Whether it be finances, whether it be life problems — anything really.”
“Thanks to all the veterans,” French said. “Just know that we’re here to help the veterans in the county and if they want to reach out for help, they can without hesitation.”
Veteran Services is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, and closed from 12-1 p.m. for lunch. The office can be reached at 937-456-6111, or via email to email@example.com.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr