The Sandoval County Commission opened its February 16, 2017 meeting by paying tribute to a wounded Iraq War veteran and then offering space in the county administration building for other veterans to come and get information and sign up for benefits.
The wounded vet is Sgt. Eric Schei, a combat engineer who is confined to a wheelchair as a result of injuries suffered in July 2005 during his second tour in Iraq. Schei is one of more than 12,600 veterans residing in Sandoval County, according to his father Gordon Schei, who also is a veteran and an employee of the New Mexico Veterans Services Department.
Gordon Schei came to the meeting seeking the commission’s help in securing a permanent office within the county to offer veterans outreach services.
Commission Chairman Don Chapman, who is in the commercial real estate business, pledged to look into finding such an office before County Manager Phillip Rios interjected with a ready solution.
“Mr. Chairman, we have provided the veterans services department an office to do outreach services on the first floor (of the county administration building) once a month. I wasn’t aware that they needed a permanent office. We certainly can set them up with that office on the first floor. It’s not being used.”
Currently, Department of Veterans Services officials are on the first floor of the county administration building from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on the first Friday of each month. They provide any veteran who visits information on the following:
• VA Health Care Benefits and Counseling
• VA Disability/Compensation & Pensions
• Death Benefits/Veterans Cemetery Burials
• New Mexico State Benefits for Veterans
• Veteran Business Opportunities.
The next of these outreach session is scheduled for Friday, March 3, 2017. A video of Gordon Schei’s presentation to the commission can be viewed here.