The first duty of our government is to protect and defend its people.
There is no higher moral obligation of our government than to provide necessary care to those who provide that protection and defense. Our men and women Veterans who have served in our military are owed certain benefits derived from their service.
Recently, our Board of Supervisors was presented with a request for Sierra County to provide $11,500 per year to cover the cost of providing services to our Veterans. The request was not approved.
Jimmy LaPlante, Plumas County Veterans Services officer was asked to provide additional cost justification for the Board of Supervisors to further consider the request. However, at a subsequent meeting, the following resolution was floated by the Board.
WHEREAS, state law, as set forth in the Military and Veterans Code recognizes that there is a public purpose in providing support for and services to veterans who have in turn provided a significant contribution to the security of their country and communities through service in the military; and,
WHEREAS, pursuant to California Military and Veterans Code, Sections 970 et seq., the Board is authorized to establish a local Veterans Service Office and to appoint a local Veterans Service Officer; and
WHEREAS, upon establishment of the position of local Veterans Service Officer the county is required, as a condition of receiving State funding for the Veterans Service Office, to provide matching funds from the County general fund; and
WHEREAS, historically veterans residing in Sierra County have received services through the veterans service offices located in adjoining counties, including Washoe County, Nevada; and WHEREAS, in 2014 the County entered into an agreement with Plumas County to have the Plumas County Veterans Service Officer travel to Sierra County to meet with veterans living in Sierra County and to counsel and provide assistance to Sierra County veterans; and
WHEREAS, Plumas County recently requested that Sierra County allocate the sum of $11,500 to be used to fund the Plumas County Veterans Service Officer to travel to Sierra County to meet with local veterans; and
WHEREAS, given that the number of veterans receiving service from Plumas County Veterans Services has been relatively small and the meetings with local veterans has principally been in Loyalton, the Board has determined that as an alternative to continuing to contract with Plumas County, it would be more beneficial and equitable to all veterans residing in Sierra County, to have the County institute a process for the County to reimburse veterans for their travel in order to meet with a veterans service officer in a neighboring county.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Sierra County Board of Supervisors hereby directs the payment to veterans residing in Sierra County, for reimbursement for miles travel in their personal vehicles, to meet with a veterans service officer in the adjoining county that is closest to the veterans residence. Reimbursement shall be subject to the following requirements: Any eligible veteran may submit a claim for mileage reimbursement to the County Auditor within 60 days of the date of any travel. The claim shall be on a form provided by the County Auditor;
Mileage shall be reimbursed at the current IRS approved rate; Mileage shall be reimbursed only for round-trip travel to the veterans service office in an adjoining county that is closest to residence of the veteran requesting reimbursement; No more than 4 trips to a veterans service office within any calendar year shall be eligible for reimbursement.
ADOPTED by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sierra, State of California on the 5th day of January, 2016, by the following vote:
As a Veteran, I take umbrage with this penurious approach to the needs of our Veterans.
Many of our Veterans are of an age when, during a very unpopular war-Vietnam-they were openly scorned and ridiculed if seen in public in uniform. In recent years, it has become trendy for a â€œThank you for your serviceâ€ salutation from many of the same people who, in previous years, derided our military men and women.
It rings quite hollow to equate the cost of tending to the needs of our Veterans to sacrificing snow removal as was done at a December BOS meeting. To paraphrase the one Veteran on our BOS, Our Veterans are not welfare recipients. They have put their lives and health on the line for us.
I might add that in view of the current world situation, there will be more of a need for Veterans services. I hope that our Board of Supervisors will acknowledge that we have an obligation to our Veterans and approve the $11,500.00 annual cost for Veterans services in Sierra County.
And to my fellow Veterans, God Bless You and Thank You For Your Service,
NOTE: I understand that the measure was not voted on, but my point is that this is the mindset of a board that does not recognize the importance of our veterans.