By Deb Cody
Fifth District Onondaga County Legislator
One of the most important duties that Onondaga County performs is providing assistance to our veterans. These are men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and risked their lives for our continued freedoms. Veterans who fall on hard times deserve our support. To that end, the Onondaga County Veterans Service Agency procures funding, medical treatment and nursing home care for eligible veterans, as well as their dependents and survivors. This allows them to continue to enjoy the quality of life they are accustomed to without having to rely on funding from Social Services. The Veterans Service Agency is located in the Civic Center.
In addition to funding the Veterans Service Agency, the county is extending its $50,000 appropriation for the Syracuse University College of Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic. This is a mutually beneficial partnership that provides veterans with access to legal services at no cost and allows students to accumulate work experience. Any veteran can contact the clinic for assistance with VA claims, representation in a VA claims appeal, petitions for an increase in disability rating or upgrading a military discharge. The clinic also provides access to a network of pro bono attorneys who may assist with other veteran legal matters. If you or someone you know would benefit from this service, please call (315) 443-4582. The Veterans Legal Clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Another resource for veterans in upstate New York is Clear Path for Veterans. Located on a beautiful campus in Chittenango, Clear Path for Veterans aims to be a single point of contact for veterans, military members, and their families by serving as a hub of information, programs and resources. Because of the innovative nature of the services they provide as well as their dedicated community of staff and volunteers, Onondaga County is continuing its commitment to Clear Path with $192,500 in the 2018 budget. For more information on the many programs they offer, please contact Clear Path for Veterans by phone at (315) 687-3300 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Finally, I would like to highlight some of the recent investments that Onondaga County has made in the War Memorial. This past week, I had the honor of attending the unveiling of the “Gold Star Mothers” display. The legislature had previously authorized $190,000 to add this new exhibit, which will serve to recognize the sacrifices made by family members who lost their loved ones in service to our country. In addition to the Gold Star Mothers display, a portion of that funding was used to add a kiosk system to provide information to educate the public. The kiosk will recognize and honor veterans of new conflicts and operations whose names will be added to the system in real time. I hope that you will take the time to visit the War Memorial and see the new display. I look forward to enhancements to our veterans exhibits that will be added in the near future, to honor all those who have served our great country.
Deb Cody represents the Fifth District, which includes portions of the towns of Salina, Cicero and DeWitt. Deb welcomes constituent feedback; she can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (315) 726-3570.