Elk Grove Township has a new state veteran service officer working out of an office at Elk Grove Township Hall four days a week.
Township Supervisor George Busse said Walter Wilson, who began working out of the township offices in Elk Grove Township two weeks ago, has 10 years of service management experience. He works for the Illinois Dept. of Veterans Affairs by appointment Monday through Thursday and is accredited by the U.S. Veterans Administration.
Busse said Wilson is there to assist all veterans, including those living outside Elk Grove Township to identify what benefits veterans are eligible for, assist them in signing up to receive those benefits, navigate state and federal veteran bureaucracies and help resolve disputes.
"It’s a Godsend to have someone like that in our backyard,” Elk Grove Village VFW Post 9284 Cmdr. Wally Campbell said.
Campbell said prior to Wilson’s posting, a veteran service officer came to the Frisbie Senior Center in Des Plaines one day a week, but "was very difficult to get a hold of.” With Wilson working out of the township offices four days a week, having veterans’ issues addressed would be much easier.
Campbell said each VFW post has a member who serves as the post’s veteran service officer. When those post veteran service officers need assistance they consult officers like Wilson.
Andrew Goczkowski, mayor of Des Plaines and a senior aide to the U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), said in his role with Schakowsky he frequently referred veterans to veteran service officers, including Wilson, and said the opening of the veteran service office in Elk Grove Township will be a great benefit to the area.
Schakowsky’s Communication Director Miguel Ayala said whether veterans served in World War II or are more recently returning from Afghanistan, and may be looking for GI Bill or health care benefits, "we are there to help them.”
Prior to working out of Elk Grove Township Hall, Wilson worked as a veteran service officer out of an office in Deerfield serving Cook and Lake counties.