CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County has a new veterans affairs leader.
The county’s Board of Supervisors and Veterans Affairs Commission on Monday named Nicole Kehres the new director.
Kehres will oversee the operation of the Linn County Commission of Veteran Affairs, according to a news release. She also will implement the commission’s general policies and direct assistance programs for eligible veterans and their dependents to ensure they apply for and receive benefits.
She will oversee a staff of four.
She succeeds Don Tyne, who retired in May after 18 years as director.
“I have dedicated the past 11 years to serving veterans and their families,” Kehres said in the release. “This truly is a passion of mine. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to bringing my knowledge, skills and experience to advocating for Linn County veterans and their families.”
Kehres has more than 20 years of military service in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. She has deployed multiple times during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the release said.
She also worked as an accredited veterans service officer for a decade in Ohio before recently working for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Iowa City.
The Linn County Veterans Affairs Department has been working throughout the coronavirus pandemic, providing its services of assisting veterans and directing outreach to them to make them aware of its services.
“It’s been more challenging,” said Suellyn Parson, veterans outreach coordinator. “We look at reaching out and making sure minority and women populations are being served. We rely heavily on our partnerships with other agencies to help get information out about our services.”
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Veteran Service Officer Phillis Pittman said that before the pandemic, 20 to 30 veterans a day would come to the office for services. The office has been working by phone and email to ensure veterans are getting their benefits.
“We really miss seeing our veterans,” Pittman said.
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