LAPEER COUNTY — Pete Kirley, Director of Lapeer County’s Veterans Affairs Office, is expressing his appreciation to residents for their support of Lapeer County veterans.
On Nov. 3, Lapeer County residents approved an additional 0.085-mill levy for Veterans Affairs programs through 2023. The increase is in addition to the previously approved 0.10 mill levy for county veterans.
Kirley was encouraged that the measure passed by such a widespread margin, with 29,320 (63%) voting in favor and 17,635 (37%) opposed.
“It was a great day for our Lapeer County veterans,” Kirley said. “We want to thank everyone who showed their support for those local men and women who have served our country.”
He pointed out that t
here had been no increase (only renewals) in funding for the VA office in years, which led to a budget shortfall.
With the favorable election result, an additional $261,217 will be raised for veterans programming in 2021. Combined with the existing millage, the total amount raised in 2021 will amount to about $565,000.
Kirley said the additional funding is needed to meet existing and future needs of Lapeer County’s 5,700 veterans, 64 percent of whom are of Vietnam-era age and older.
“These extra funds are going to allow us to expand our outreach programs for veterans, while helping meet their immediate needs,” he said. “Veterans need to be aware of the benefits and services they have earned and deserve.”
Though the pandemic has forced canceling in-person outreach programs, including the LCVA’s annual trips to the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Kirley intends to restore such programs when the time is right.
While health issues are at the forefront of older veterans’ concerns; younger veterans often need help transitioning back to civilian life.
“They need help finding jobs, housing, legal and financial assistance and medical insurance,” Kirley noted.
In addition to Kirley, Lapeer County VA staff includes Cheryl Burrough, Denise Owens and administrative assistant, Jolene Kreiner.
Contact Pete Kirley at 810-245-6829, 810-845-3623 or leave a message at the Lapeer County VA Office at 810-667-0256 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.