Huizenga hosts event to answer veteran's questions, help them obtain medals

BALDWIN — Lake County is home to a large number of veterans who have served in the armed forces of the United States. An upcoming event in Baldwin will help those veterans navigate the often complicated system of the Department of Veterans Affairs and obtain any medals or commendations they may be missing.

The event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, at VFW Post No. 5315 in Baldwin. There, Krista Umanos, a district representative with Congressman Bill Huizenga's office, will be on hand to assist the veterans of Lake County.

"It's basically just an opportunity for veterans to fill out paperwork to obtain their medals, get information or records they may need and have any questions they might have about the VA answered," said Umanos.

Veterans who have earned medals earned them through hard work and sacrifice, yet sometimes bureaucracy, time or simple human error can prevent them from receiving them, she added.

"Sometimes they didn't get them when they were discharged, they could have been lost or stolen over the years, sometimes it's a family member who might be trying to obtain the medal a deceased loved one had earned," explained Umanos.

Sadly, the process for helping veterans and answering their questions can be long and complicated. Umanos said this is why Congressman Huizenga has taken an interest.

"As a congressman, he has the ability to contact the agencies on his constituents' behalf," said Umanos. "Plus, we want to help veterans navigate the process."

Huizenga himself stated how important addressing the needs of veterans are and how he wants to ensure the needs of his constituents are addressed even while he is in Washington D.C.

“Making sure Lake County residents have a voice in Washington is only part of my job," said Huizenga. "My staff and I also assist residents when they have an issue with the federal government. Whether it is a question about Social Security, Medicare, or an issue regarding the VA, I want to be sure people know they can turn to their Congressman for assistance.”

In addition to helping veterans obtain the medals and commendations they have earned, Umanos will also be answering any questions veterans have regarding the VA.

"A lot of the questions I'm expecting will be regarding benefits, but it's not limited to that," said Umanos. "We've also gotten a lot of questions about the new veteran's choice program. We'll be there to help veterans in whatever way we can."