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Expo to offer array of services for veterans

Joplin Globe - 9/4/2017

Sept. 04--A free expo will be held later this week by American Legion Post 13 to connect area veterans with services and discounts available to them.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Joplin's Memorial Hall.

There will 42 exhibitors, said Richard Russell, a member of the legion's executive board who organized the event.

He said the purpose is for veterans to get information about services they may not know how to obtain.

"There are a host of benefits that are never touched" by veterans, Russell said. "That's all the way from veterans housing to the veterans hospital to educational benefits -- which there has been a change to that recently -- to outreach for post-traumatic stress disorder and for jobs."

Six of the exhibitors will be companies that have jobs available to veterans, Russell said.

"We will have a veterans affairs officer there from the Job Corps office to provide jobs information" as well, Russell said. That officer also can provide details about other state and federal programs for those who have served in the military.

Some veterans have injuries and may qualify for disability they did not know to claim, Russell said. Those could include veterans who have hearing loss from their service or illness due to exposure to Agent Orange.

Organizations that offer support services for vets also will be involved. Those include the Purple Heart Society for those were wounded in conflicts and are in need of a support system about their experiences in the war. K9s for Veterans also will be on hand to discuss the availability of service dogs and their purposes.

The Marine Corps League will give information about its programs include assistance to homeless veterans.

There will be free health screenings provided by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, which operates the VA Hospital at Fayetteville, Arkansas, as well as clinics at Mount Vernon and at Jay, Oklahoma.

The Missouri Veterans Commission will be on hand to explain state programs available for veterans and their dependents. Representatives of the Mount Vernon Veterans Home, which is operated by the commission, also will be at the expo.

Commission representatives can inform veterans about their service-connected compensation, non-service-connected disability pension, education and training, vocational rehabilitation, burial, and survivor benefits. They also can help determine health care eligibility, VA Home Loan Guaranty, and other benefits, including those offered by the state.

The legion and the VFW also will be represented at the expo as well as Patriot Guards.

"It's an informational tool for the veterans. Whatever category they have an interest in or a question about they can find there," Russell said.

There will be drawings for door prizes that have been donated.

Number of veterans

There are 5,000 veterans in Jasper County and 4,000 in Newton County, according to Richard Russell, of American Legion Post 13. The expo is open to veterans in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas as well.

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(c)2017 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)

Visit The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.) at www.joplinglobe.com

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