ATLANTA – State Representative Barbara Massey Reece (D-Menlo) met with Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters and Tom Cook, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Service, on Friday, February 4, 2011. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss opening a Veteran Service office in Summerville, Georgia.

I am pleased to assist veterans in northwest Georgia by working with Commissioner Winters to provide a local office,” said Rep. Reece. “This will ensure our local veterans have easier access to Veterans Service staff and programs.”

Based on the February 4th meeting, it is expected that the Summerville Veterans Service Department office will be completed in 4 to 6 weeks, with office space, supplies, and volunteers being provided by County Commissioner Winters. Deputy Commissioner Cook plans to begin itinerant service to that office soon after by sending a field service officer from the Lafayette office the new Summerville office one day a week. This field service officer will be able to work with veterans through the federal Veterans Affairs (VA) claims process. Services will include advising veterans on how to document their claims for benefits, assisting veterans in locating and submitting copies of required information and following up on submitted claims.

Chattooga County has approximately 2,400 veterans. Last year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. distributed more than $4 million in veteran benefits in Chattooga County.