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VSO changes hours

The Wasco County Veterans Service Office has changed its hours to accommodate more walk-in clients while allowing personnel to spend uninterrupted time filling out the paperwork for benefit and compensation claims.

The new hours at the 201 Federal Street office are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and the office is open only for special appointments on Friday, which is the day two service officers will spend putting together files for submission to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Walk in hours will be 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday instead of just two days. Meetings with clients who have made appointments is noon to closing on the same days.

“This new schedule is going to allow us to further develop veterans’ cases,” said Patrick Wilbern, assistant service officer. “There’s a lot of research that goes into these claims.”

He works with senior officer Russell Jones and volunteers who man the front desk to answer phones and make appointments. They also let veterans know about the documents they will need to gather to speed up processing of claims.

Wilbern said volunteers are a necessary part of the operation because the budget cannot accommodate more paid staff. He said many of the volunteers that have been with the office since it moved to the 201 Federal Street location in 2011 are now stepping down for retirement. So, there is a real need now to bring other people onboard.

“You can set your own schedule if you want to help out,” said Wilbern. “It is a good opportunity to meet many of the veterans in the community and provide them with assistance.”

Jean Maxwell is the volunteer coordinator and can be reached for more information at 541-506-2502, which is also the number for veterans to make appointments.


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