SHIAWASSEE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS Affairs and Services Director Mike Reeve, shown here in the DVA office on Friday, Oct. 29.

(Independent Photo/Melissa Shepard)

 

    The Shiawassee County Department of Veterans Affairs and Services, located on the 3rd floor of the Surbeck Building in downtown Corunna, provides many services to area veterans. Mike Reeve has been the Director since March of 2018. Reeve is a veteran himself, serving 27 years; including 6 deployments, 22 countries, two different special force groups; retiring as a U.S. Army major. After retirement, Reeve took a year off, then went to work as Director of Veteran Affairs and Government Agencies MIAT (Michigan Institute of Aeronautical Technology) in Canton for 10 months, until March 2018 when he took the Director job in Shiawassee County.

   When asked how COVID affected the department in the past year, Reeve said, “We have adapted as best we can. We work over Zoom when we can, but some of the programs that were stopped because of COVID haven’t started back up yet. We used to have 8 to 10 veterans a day in the office, but we don’t see that many anymore. Veteran burials have gone up though.” The overall number of veterans served in 2020 was 1,810; while through September of this year, the number is 1,692. This includes walk-ins, appointments, Federal claims, transports and emergency assistance.

   Some positives from this year have been the implementation of a fly-fishing event for veterans with PTSD called “Project Healing Waters.” Shiawassee County Veterans Service Officer Marc LeConte came up with the idea and they are still working on the operating procedures. The event is through a National Organization, but is currently working through the Flint Chapter.

   Another positive was the grand reopening of Fiddler’s Green. With new management and the assistance of the new Veteran Service Officer that has been placed in the agency – someone from the VFW to assist them – the veterans again have faith in the facility.

   The department also hired another Veteran Service Officer, bringing the total to three. This allows them to handle the input a little easier.

   In April, they participated in the National WWI Memorial when it was unveiled on Zoom. They also just went through National Certification to keep accreditation.

   Also, during the pandemic, Reeve noticed that veteran death certificates were only stating COVID as cause of death; when, in order for a veteran’s survivor to get benefits, it needs to state the illness and if the illness was approved by the VA in order for the survivor to receive benefits. He contacted Veterans Homeland Security and they are now looking at developing a bill to ensure that veterans and their dependent will receive the benefits that are due to them.

   Two new board members were added during the year – Dr. Gary Duehring in October 2020 and Mark Drayton in mid-October 2021.

   Upcoming events include the Veterans Day Parade, which will be led by the Corunna VFW and held in Corunna on Thursday, Nov. 11; the Crooked Foot Hunt Club Veteran Pheasant Hunt, which has 90 veterans signed up; along with a few more events in the works.

  Thanks to a very generous donation from one of the veteran drivers, the DVA office will be assembling Thanksgiving baskets for veterans in need and distributing them this year on Monday, Nov. 22.   

  Director Reeve also added that volunteer drivers are needed. If you are interested, please call the office at (989) 743-2231.

Shiawassee County DVA Staff Dedicates Themselves to Helping Veterans was last modified: November 9th, 2021 by Karen Elford