When it comes to helping veterans and their families get the benefits they’ve earned, Rusk County Veterans Services Officer Leo Gonzalez assists them wherever he can; either at his office in Henderson, going to their homes, visiting assisted living facilities or getting them where they need to be.
“I offer veterans, widows, and dependents help with filing of claims, healthcare, education, and military record requests. I will meet them at their homes, or at their nursing homes, if they are not able to come to my office. I set up an information table at our local Syrup Festival and air show to reach veterans and their families that may have questions,” said Gonzalez. “I also offer and arrange transportation to Rusk County veterans to VA healthcare appointments and C&P exams at clinics in Tyler and Longview, and the hospital in Shreveport.”
For veterans to receive VA benefits, Gonzalez explained that the VA must confirm a condition is service related and that a veteran has been treated for the condition since their discharge.
“The main thing a veteran should know is to have a paper trail of the conditions they want to claim,” said Gonzalez.
His dedication to veterans and community goes beyond his role as a Veterans County Services Officer (VCSO). Gonzalez is a board member of Crossroads Medical Clinic in Henderson, Mt. Enterprise, and Palestine, TX.
He counts the grandest community project he has been involved with as the Rusk County Veterans Monument.
“I became the Veteran Service Officer in July 2009 and this is when we began the project of the Rusk County Veterans Monument, I feel my biggest,” said Gonzalez. “It was built on the courthouse lawn to honor all the veterans from Rusk County, and it was dedicated on November 11, 2012. Names are still added to the monument. It was featured on the cover of Texas Farm & Home magazine in 2018.”
In addition to his dedication to veterans and his community., Gonzalez is committed to his fellow VCSOs across the state as a member of the VCSO Advisory Committee of the Texas Veterans Commission.
“All of this could not be possible if I did not have full support of the current County Judge and the Commissioners; but also, the former County Judge that hired me and former Commissioners in 2009,” said Gonzalez.
Pictured are Gonzalez and the Rusk County Veterans Monument.