Porter County Veterans Service Office

Porter County Veterans Service Office Assisting veterans and their family members in applying and receiving all federal, state, and local benefits. Our mission is to assist veterans and their eligible family member to apply and receive all rightful veterans’ state and federal entitlements, and provide veterans information or other assistance as required.

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Operating as usual

Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Tal...
08/17/2021
VA.gov | Veterans Affairs

Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Taliban.

You are not alone.

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.

Resources available right now

• Veterans Crisis Line - If you are having thoughts of su***de, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

o For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.

• Vet Centers - Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.

• VA Mental Health Services Guide - This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.

• MakeTheConnection.net - information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.

• RallyPoint - Talk to other Veterans online. Discuss: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?

• Download VA's self-help apps - Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.

• Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) - Request a Peer Mentor

• VA Women Veterans Call Center - Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 6:30PM ET)

• VA Caregiver Support Line - Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 5PM ET)

• Together We Served -Find your battle buddies through unit pages

• George W. Bush Institute - Need help or want to talk? Check In or call:1-630-522-4904 or email: [email protected]

• Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes - Join the Community

• American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network - Peer Support and Mentoring

• Team Red, White & Blue - Hundreds of events weekly. Find a chapter in your area.

• Student Veterans of America - Find a campus chapter to connect with.

• Team Rubicon - Find a local support squad.
Common Reactions

In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:
• Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief or distressed
• Feel angry or betrayed
• Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
• Sleep poorly, drink more or use more drugs
• Try to avoid all reminders or media or shy away from social situations
• Have more military and homecoming memories

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service.

Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:
• Become overly protective, vigilant, and guarded
• Become preoccupied by danger
• Feel a need to avoid being shocked by, or unprepared for, what may happen in the future

Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them. Often, these feelings will naturally run their course. If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.

Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress
At this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.

It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you? This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.

It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good? If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”

Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:
• Engage in Positive Activities. Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions. Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.
• Stay Connected. Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.
• Practice Good Self Care. Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
• Stick to Your Routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
• Limit Media Exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.
• Use a mobile app. Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (see https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) such as PTSD Coach which has tools that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
• PTSD Coach Online. A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.

If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.

Apply for and manage the VA benefits and services you’ve earned as a Veteran, Servicemember, or family member—like health care, disability, education, and more.

08/04/2021

Apologies for our current phone problems.

We experienced hardware failures as well as software issues with the telephone system. Yesterday the Commissioners approved the replacement of all failing hardware and for a software upgrade.

Equipment needs to be ordered and once installed, software will need to be configured and then all the data from our current telephone system moved over.

A resolution is coming, but I am unable yet at this time to say when we will be fully back up and running.

Thank you for your patience!

VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter.
08/03/2021
VA.gov | Veterans Affairs

VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter.

Apply for and manage the VA benefits and services you’ve earned as a Veteran, Servicemember, or family member—like health care, disability, education, and more.

07/15/2021
05/24/2021

The Portage office will be closed this week for NACVSO training. Apologies for any inconveniences. The Valpo office will be open all week. 219.465.3587

Please welcome our new Asst VSO Jeffery Imhof. Jeff served his country as an Army Ranger, with 2 deployments to Iraq and...
05/21/2021

Please welcome our new Asst VSO Jeffery Imhof. Jeff served his country as an Army Ranger, with 2 deployments to Iraq and 2 to Afghanistan. We are delighted to have him aboard. He will be manning our Portage office.

Please welcome our new Asst VSO Jeffery Imhof. Jeff served his country as an Army Ranger, with 2 deployments to Iraq and 2 to Afghanistan. We are delighted to have him aboard. He will be manning our Portage office.

On April 2, 2021, our Director of Veterans Services Jim Atkinson stepped off into retirement. Sergeant of Marines, Khe S...
05/20/2021

On April 2, 2021, our Director of Veterans Services Jim Atkinson stepped off into retirement. Sergeant of Marines, Khe Sanh veteran, superb mentor, Jim personifies the Warrior Ethos and the qualities the Marine Corps holds most dear. Courage, Honor, Discipline.

Sir, you have been the perfect example of a Servant Leader. We are all honored to have served with you.

Semper Fidelis!

Porter County Animal Shelter waives adoption fees for Veterans.
05/17/2021
Pets For Vets | Porter County Animal Shelter, IN

Porter County Animal Shelter waives adoption fees for Veterans.

When a Veteran is matched with the right pet, both lives change for the better. That is why the Porter County Animal Shelter will WAIVE ADOPTION FEES for a veteran who adopts a pet from us!

Please note the 1 JUNE 21 cut off date!
04/12/2021
CPT James Ahn Memorial Scholarship

Please note the 1 JUNE 21 cut off date!

CPT James Ahn Special Forces Memorial Scholarship Captain James Ahn, a graduate of UC Riverside and the Claremont McKenna College Army ROTC program, died in 2015 during a parachute training operation while participating with his Special

Heroes to Hives
02/11/2021
Heroes to Hives

Heroes to Hives

Heroes to Hives is a unique program through Michigan State University Extension that seeks to address financial and personal wellness of veterans through professional training and community development centered around beekeeping.

AgrAbility (www.agrability.org) and the Indiana chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition are hosting an in-person worksho...
01/23/2021

AgrAbility (www.agrability.org) and the Indiana chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition are hosting an in-person workshop for veterans who have an interest in farming and agriculture on January 29, 2021 at the Beck Agricultural Center on the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education near West Lafayette. We plan to begin the program at 10:00 a.m. EDT, and conclude by 4:00 p.m. Catered lunch will be provided.

The program is free, but pre-registration is required for all participants for COVID-19 protocols and planning purposes. COVID-19 precautions will be observed, including face masks, social distancing, and limited attendance.

A flyer with registration information and planned agenda is attached. Topics to be covered:

“Ag Enterprise Options, Opportunities, and Challenges”

• Beekeeping
• Small Ruminants
• Outdoor Recreational Enterprises
• Small Farm / Agritourism Insurance and Liability Issues
• Small Flock Poultry
• Funding Opportunities
• Indiana AgVet Update and More

Please share this flyer with your veteran clients and/or local veterans’ organizations!

Feel free to contact Ed at the email or phone number below if you have questions about this event or other AgrAbility veteran programs.

Ed Sheldon
Purdue Agricultural Safety & Health
Agricultural & Biological Engineering
225 South University
West Lafayette, IN 47907
[email protected]
Cell: 765-720-0229

11/11/2020

Veterans' Thanksgiving Dinners.

The Valparaiso Elks Lodge #500 will be providing Thanksgiving meals for Veterans.

Thanks to the generosity of Douglas Meece and the SmokeDaddy food truck, we will be offering hot, ready to eat, smoked turkey dinners to any and all Veterans and their families.

Doug will set up in front of our lodge located at 157 Jefferson St. Valparaiso, IN and start distributing dinners at 3:00PM on Saturday November 21st. Veterans can pick up the meals or enjoy them in our dining room. We will also have volunteers to deliver meals in the surrounding areas.

If you know of anyone one needing a meal or would like to help with this project please call the lodge at 219-462.5421 or email at [email protected] contact me Bruce Pillar Exalted Ruler, Cell 219-381-4501.

The Valparaiso BPOE Lodge 500 has a saying, " So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them."

Address

155 Indiana St. Rm 103
Valparaiso, IN

General information

Office Locations/Hours: Porter County Administration Center, 155 Indiana Avenue Suite 103, Valparaiso IN 46383. Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Ph: 219-465-3587 Fax: 219-465-3345 North Porter County Government Complex, 3560 Willowcreek Road Room 150, Portage, IN 46368 Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM Ph: 219-759-2328

Opening Hours

Monday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm

Telephone

(219) 465-3587

Alerts

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Our Story

Who are County Veterans Service Officers? CVSO's are veterans who stand ready to help you with your veteran-related needs. The County Veterans Service Offices have all the forms and other information you may need to obtain service from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the forms for requesting State veterans' benefits. The Service Officers will assist you in finding the information and resources you need to solve your service-related problems. They are your liaison for all veteran issues. There is no charge for any of their services.

Our Offices and Hours:

Porter County Administration Center, 155 Indiana Avenue Suite 103, Valparaiso IN 46383. Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Ph: 219-465-3587 Fax: 219-465-3345

North Porter County Government Complex, 3560 Willowcreek Road Room 150, Portage, IN 46368 Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM Ph: 219-759-2328

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Comments

Take a veteran to dinner and demonstrate your appreciation for his/her service. Tickets are $20 and can be obtained at any 1st Source Bank location in Valpo or online. All tickets must be purchased before November 1st. No tickets will be sold at the door. Last two years have been "sell outs" with all 400 seats being sold. It is the largest veterans dinner in Porter & Laporte Counties. Dinner, cash bar, speaker, and every veteran will be recognized by name at the event. Date: Wed. Nov. 6th, Time: 5:30-8:30 pm. Place: Old Town Banquet Center in Valpo. Feel free to share this info. It has been made public. https://allevents.in/…/valparaiso-kiwanis-a…/200017994682604#