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County Veterans, Leaders Mull Coalition

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — October 12, 2007 — Sullivan County veterans organizations are considering forming a new group, one that would encompass them all.
Orange County Veterans Service Officer Tony Zippo attended Thursday’s Veterans Committee meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature to explain the inner workings of the Orange County Veterans Coalition.
Incorporated as a non-profit five years ago, the organization actually formed in 2000, designed not to replace or supersede existing veterans’ groups but to offer a time and place to mingle and consider joint concerns and efforts.
“It’s more social than anything else,” said Zippo, who stressed that it has no affiliation with county government.
The coalition’s twice-a-month meetings are supplemented by twice-a-year family picnics, and members (who pay no dues) are planning their first fund-raiser, a big band concert at the Paramount Theatre in Middletown.
Yet even without an official fund-raising effort, members have raised thousands of dollars for needy families over the past seven years.
Sullivan County officials and veterans see a similar effort here as re-energizing area veterans groups and tapping into their combined power to do good in the community.
After all, Sullivan County has nearly 10,000 documented veterans.
“I think this would be a great thing to get everyone together,” remarked Veterans Service Agency Director Eric Nystrom.
“We’d like to get it off the ground [in Sullivan County],” agreed local vets leader Chuck Buchholz. “I hate to say that there’s a lot of apathy on the part of veterans in the county. This may get them all together.”
In other veterans’ news, Nystrom urged Cold War veterans to apply now for a Cold War Recognition Certificate confirming their service in the years 1945-1991.
The window to apply is closing soon, he said, and if vets don’t take advantage of it, they also won’t be able to opt-in to a partial property tax exemption on their county taxes (should school districts and townships participate, there will be a discount with them, as well).
The exemption will take effect in January 2009 and last 10 years, though veterans must reapply every year through the Sullivan County Veterans Service Agency.
For more information, call 794-3000, ext. 3370.
Also, the Veterans Administration clinic has moved from Broadway to 60 Jefferson Street (the Jefferson Professional Plaza) in Monticello.
The clinic, offering VA services to area veterans, is located in Unit 3, which is accessible via the lower parking lot, and can be reached via phone at 791-4936.

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