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Vets dept. has new officer, larger grant
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MONROE - There were several changes at the Green County Veterans Service Office in 2009.

Clayton Ruegsegger was appointed service officer following the retirement of long-time officer Keith Ingwell. Green County Emergency Management, which had been part of the office because Ingwell was emergency management director, was separated from the veterans office Oct. 1. The office was moved to the Green County Sheriff's Department.

With the changes at the veterans office, the county received a $10,000 grant in 2009, which was twice the amount it received in the past.

Ruegsegger, in his annual report to the Green County Board of Supervisors in July, said the increase was because the service officer is now considered a full-time position.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Green County had 2,152 veterans. Ruegsegger pointed out the number was gathered from the 2000 census. He said that with two combat operations, Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans in Green County has probably grown since the 2000 census.

In addition, Ruegsegger said, the veterans office had between eight to 10 veterans come to the office every week to apply for benefits. Ruegsegger said 40 new claims for disabilities from military service were filed with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and 47 applications were filed for health care at the veterans hospital in Madison.

Also in 2009, the veterans office took part Green County Government Day. Seven area schools sent high school students to tour county offices. The office also decorated 19 cemeteries for Memorial Day with 1,719 flags. The office donated 2,076 flags to area American legion posts to decorate veterans' graves.

Finally, the veterans service office held a Veterans Appreciation Day Nov. 7 at the Albany Lions Club. The dinner is also planned for this year.

Information about the Green County Veterans Service Office is available at (608) 328-9415.