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Two careers of serving
The Daily Record - 4/20/2019
WOOSTER — On May 31, Nelson Weirick will walk out of his office as director of the Wayne County Veteran Service Commission for the last time and sail off into retirement — for the second time. He started with the commission in 2007, replacing a retiring Marvin Edwards.
Weirick retired from the U.S. Navy in 1999 as a hull technician, having spent half of his career at sea. He first learned of the WCVSC when he returned home after leaving the Navy and needed help submitting his own Veterans Administration claim form.
“I thought, at that time, this would really be the job to have,” Weirick said about the commission then, as a client. “But, my career at that point was with manufacturing.”
The WCVSC went through some changes and operated without a director for a while before hiring Weirick’s predecessor. “I got wind that he (Edwards) was retiring,” Weirick said. “I threw my name in the hat and started in August of 2007.”
The 64-year-old Weirick has plenty on his plate to keep him busy come retirement day. “I have grandchildren to play with and a boat to get out and into the water,” he joked. “There is plenty to do.”
The mission of the WCVSC is to help veterans apply for their benefits with the VA. According to Weirick, the organization started after the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed each state had to do something for veterans returning home.
“Some of them had lost everything while they were off fighting — their land, personal property — everything,” he said. “It was up to the state to determine what they did to help. In Ohio, we were tasked with three objectives: completing paperwork to get veterans their benefits, providing transportation for veterans to the VA for medical appointments and providing emergency financial assistance.”
The budget for the commission comes from property taxes through the Wayne County commissioners office. Weirick prides himself on having been a good steward of the funds allotted to his office.
“By law, we can have up to 0.5 mill, which equated to, last year, about $1.2 million,” he said. “We base our budget on that figure.”
Weirick explained any unused portion of the money must go back to the commissioners and doesn’t roll over into the following year.
“In my 12 years, we have never used the full 0.5 mill,” he said. “Everything we do is covered by that amount. We were somewhere around $900,000 last year. You don’t want to waste taxpayer’s money, you want to be respectful of it.
“Our commissioners have been really good about understanding what we do and working with us,” Weirick said. “We are blessed in that regard, our commissioners are well above average.”
Commissioner Ron Amstutz praised Weirick on his ability to serve veterans and appreciates his service.
“Mr. Weirick has been a wonderful partner to work with over the years,” he said. “He maximizes the efforts of the commission, but the veterans are the real winners. We have had a very cooperative relationship. The commission provides an important service to veterans and Nelson has been a big part of that, along with the other members of his team.”
Reporter Dan Starcher can be reached at 330-287-1626 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/?WoosterWriter and Twitter at www.twitter.com/?danstarcher.
CREDIT: DAN STARCHER