Philip Simmons To Head Clatsop Co’s New Veteran’s Services Office

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved a contract with a new provider of services to local military veterans.

Philip Simmons, a former Marine Corps officer and attorney, will become the county’s new Veteran’s Services Office effective Nov. 1. He will take over the program from the current provider, Kenneth Rislow of Veterans Hall Inc.

The Veterans’ Service Officer provides assistance to military veterans, their spouses and dependents in Clatsop County. The officer counsels people on eligibility for veterans’ benefits, assists in completing application forms, provides referrals to other resources, helps with appeals of denial of benefits and provides other forms of assistance.

The Veterans’ Services Officer position is funded by the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, with supplemental funding from Clatsop County. This year’s contract includes $35,538 in state funding and $6,200 county dollars.

According to the state veterans’ office, there are 4,267 veterans in Clatsop County.

Simmons is a 21-year active-duty veteran of both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. He served for 12 years as a Marine Corps attorney until his retirement in 2007 as a lieutenant colonel, and earned numerous awards including the Bronze Star. Since retirement he has operated a private consulting business dealing with military and veterans law. He currently resides in Arch Cape.

Contact information for Philip Simmons will be publicized once the transfer of the service contract is complete.

According to the Clatsop County website Veteran’s Services‘ page the veterans’ service officer will assist with matters pertaining to the Oregon Division of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and related governmental agencies. The veterans’ service officer can help acquire DVA compensation, pension, education and death benefits for county residents.  If a claim is denied, this program can help with the appeals process.

The service officer can assist with filing for Service Connected Disability Compensation, Non-Service Connected Pensions, Widows Pensions, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, burial benefits, medical benefits, home loans, vocational rehabilitation, clothing allowance, adapted equipment applications, and Home Improvement for Handicapped Adaptability and Remodeling.

The service officer also helps obtain and compile documents necessary to complete the claims filing process. Forms typically include military service and military medical records, Discharges and DD214′s, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, death certificates, birth certificates, civilian medical records, information on the receiving of medals, ribbons and commendations and any other information that may be required by the Veterans’ Administration.

To arrange for veterans’ counseling services call:

  • Spexarth Building, 818 Commercial Suite 201 in Astoria at (866) 325-2429 between 2 and 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays
  • Suzanne-Elise Assisted Living Center in Seaside at (503) 738-0307 between 2 and 5 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of the month
  • Cannon Beach Post 168 American Legion at (503) 436-2973 from 6 to 7 p.m. the last Wednesday of the month.

TRANSPORTATION

Free transport is available to veterans to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, the Portland Regional Office and the Camp Rilea Community Based Outreach Clinic near Warrenton.

 

The North Coast DAV transport van leaves designated pickup points to arrive in Portland at 9:30 a.m. as needed Mondays through Fridays. The return transport leaves Portland around 3 p.m.

 

The van to Camp Rilea is available for scheduled appointments Mondays through Fridays. The van leaves Camp Rilea at the end of the scheduled appoint day as determined by patient load.

 

Please give at least 48 hours notice of transport needs by calling (866) 325-2429. For standby, call to see if is space available both ways on the day of an appointment.

 

The Clatsop County Veterans’ Service Officer Program is sponsored by the Astoria and Cannon Beach American Legion posts and auxiliaries; Clatsop Voiture No. 547, La Societe 40 & 8; VFW Charles H. Abercrombie Post No. 371; VFW Fort Stevens Post No. 10580 and Auxiliary; and the Astoria Veterans