Calhoun County is home to 1,291 veterans.
That number is down by 35 in the fiscal year 2019, Veteran Services Officer Ron Langford told the Calhoun County Commissioners’ Court Wednesday, June 24.
“My problem, though, is I see only a fourth – one in four – of the veterans who are taking advantage of the healthcare or disability that they earned,” he said. He noted that he works with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion to reach veterans but asked those attending and the commissioners to tell any veterans they meet about the office and the services it provides.
“I have really no way to get the word out except through the newspaper a bit,” he said.
Langford told commissioners that funding for veterans in Calhoun County was up $1,707,000 from last year to $13,232,000.
“I do believe our dollar numbers are up a bit because we do have some Hurricane Harvey veterans that were evacuated but have been coming back slowly,” said Langford. “We have others who have retired or otherwise left the service and have come to live in Calhoun County.”
Compensation and pension increased by $707,000 to $8,143,000, and health benefits were up by $812,000 to $4,6624,000. There were 418 unique patients, an increase of 25 over last year. Unique patients are those utilizing the VA facilities and identify Calhoun County as their home.
The economic impact on Calhoun County is more than $13 million, Langford pointed out.
“These benefits are placed into immediate circulation in Calhoun County, and that is a very considerable economic benefit to the county. When I say immediate, I mean they go to the grocery store, they go to Walmart, they go to H-E-B, they go down there and buy a car. They spend their money pretty much right here in Calhoun County,” said Langford.
And, while COVID-19 swirled around, Langford said his office never closed and that he did a lot of work on the phone and met in the parking lot with veterans to fill out paperwork and other forms required to receive their benefits.
To reach Langford, visit him at 201 Austin St., call 361-553-4685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.