(Neb)-Dawes Co VSO Open House Today
CHADRON - Dawes County Veteran's Service Officer Justin Bates has been on the job almost 2 months now, but a lot of area residents have yet to meet the 2005 Chadron High School graduate and Iraq War veteran.
That could change with a "get acquainted" open house today from 1:00-3:00 at the VSO office in the former Bump Law building at 342 Main Street in Chadron.
Bates was born in Denver, but his family moved to Chadron while he was in middle school. A wrestler and football player for the Cardinals, he followed a childhood dream - strengthened by the 9/11 terrorist attacks - and joined the Nebraska Army National Guard.
Bates was still in school when his unit, the Chadron-based 1057th Transportation Company, was deployed to the Persian Gulf, but went there later with 2 other units...the 1074th and 1195th...for a total of 25 months of providing security for convoys.
When he left the military, Bates spent a short time in law enforcement before joining the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 2011.
Bates was named Veterans Service Officer by the County Commissioners on the recommendation of the county Veterans Service Board, which received 16 applications, interviewed 11 candidates, and called back Bates and 4 others for second interviews.
While the VSO helps veterans of all ages receive the services they earned through their time in the military, Bates says too many younger veterans like himself don't take full advantage of either his office or their benefits because they don't know what's available - a situation he's working to end.
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