Treibel joins Veterans Affairs staff

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Teresa Wood The Hamilton County Veteran Affairs Commission Board meets the first Wednesday of the month at the Mental Health Services Building at 500 Fairmeadow Drive in Webster City. The board oversees the operations of the local Veterans Affairs office. Pictured from December’s meeting are Richard Barkema, Dave Gordon, County Veteran Service assistant Al Treibel, County Veteran Service Officer LuAnn Jackson and Randy Youngdale. Also serving on the Board are Larry Runyan, Don Williams, and Polly Hayes, who filled the seat of Barkema who retired at the conclusion of the December meeting.

Al Treibel is the newest member of the Hamilton County Veteran Affairs Commission, serving as an assistant to LuAnn Jackson, Hamilton County Veteran Service Officer.

Treibel is a veteran with 13 1/2 years of active duty service throughout 31 years.

Treibel joined the Coast Guard in 1972 and then served in the Coast Guard National Guard before joining the Army. Following that enlistment, he then served in the Army National Guard. He has also served in the Air National Guard before retiring in Feb. 2013.

In his duties at the Hamilton County VA, Treibel provides general assistance to veterans for emergency needs, rental, food, utility assistance and specific transportation. The Hamilton County VA also assists with transportation to doctor appointments.

Treibel will also oversee the cemetery care of veterans’ graves, assist in applications for burial benefits, assist with trust fund applications, oversee memorial markers and register the deaths of area veterans with the state VA.

The Hamilton County VA Commission works with wartime veterans who have been honorably discharged from all branches of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

The Veterans Administration has defined a veteran as any enlisted person who has served six months of active duty with one day of wartime service or the two years of active duty for the National Guard. Any member who has served 20 years in the National Guard also qualifies for veterans’ services. Veterans serving after 9/11 are considered deployed, explained Jackson.

Jackson and Triebel assist veterans as they navigate through a variety of VA benefits and help veterans complete and file the necessary forms required to qualify for those benefits. Veterans’ benefits include health care, compensation, pensions, DIC for dependents, burial benefits and the registration of a veteran’s death with the state Veterans Administration.

The Hamilton County VA also assists with transportation, military plaque markers and utility benefits, said Jackson.

Over 300 Hamilton County veterans are served through the VA office located in Webster City, said Jackson. In addition, the VA also provides outreach programs through Easter Seal camps.

If the VA is unable to address the needs of a veteran, the local office also works to outsource services to other agencies when needed, said Jackson.

The five members of the Hamilton VA Commission meet monthly to address agenda items such as budget approval, approve grave markers and oversee personnel.

Serving on the commission board are Don Williams – Army, Larry Runyan – Army, Dave Gordon – Marines, Randy Youngdale – Air Force and Polly Hayes – Navy, who recently filled the seat of retiring commissioner Richard Barkema.

The Hamilton County VA, partners with Iowa’s other 98 counties to advocate for veterans through the state legislature. The Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs is supporting the 2020 Legislative Initiatives that support: the protection, growth, full funding and financial integrity of the Iowa Veterans Home; the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs; the Iowa Veterans Cemetery; the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund; county allocation funds; the Military Home Ownership Program; and the Injured Veteran Grant Program.

In addition to supporting these initiatives, the Hamilton County Va supports an increase of the Military Property Tax Exemption and an annual cost of living increase.

The VA Commission also supports protecting VA compensation income when calculating child support and alimony awards. Initiatives also include offering greater flexibility and growth for the Iowa National Guard STEM/STEAM programs which target the transition of allocated funds to expand scholarship opportunities to the state’s youth.

Additionally, the VA advocates awareness issues that would support: enacting legislation to address mental health for disabled veterans, their families and all Iowans with mental illness: instill Americanism and Patriotism in grades K – 12; and supports the establishment and expansion by the Iowa Legislature of the Veterans Treatment Courts.