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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Holland filling big shoes as Veterans Officer

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mike Holland
It can be difficult taking over a job previously held by a respected member of the community, but Mike Holland is doing what he can to leave his own legacy.

Holland was hired as the Clay County Veterans Service Officer Jan. 20, a little more than a month after previous Service Officer Les Walden passed away.

"As a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 1127, I knew Les well," he said. "I wanted to be in this position so I could keep working for the Veterans in his honor."

After completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, he spent 25 years working in non-destructive inspection at Hulman Field before retiring in 2005 with the rank of Master Sergeant. Holland was also featured in a "Salute to Soldiers" advertisement in The Brazil Times which stated he served in the Air Force in Kuwait from 1996-97 and Turkey in 2001.

"One of the major responsibilities of the job was to inspect pre-flight aircraft for cracks and defects," Holland said.

While not a native, Holland moved to Brazil in 1996 and has set some lofty goals for himself.

"I want to meet with every Veteran in Clay County," he said. "I want to encourage them to keep in touch and not to be afraid to call me."

Holland elaborated by saying he encourages all vets to apply for Veteran Disability Compensation.

"I've had some Vietnam vets tell me they didn't know they could," Holland told The Brazil Times. "At the minimum they can all apply for free healthcare."

Holland said he is willing to help Veterans in any way he can, including reading the labels on prescribed medications and helping them understand what they are taking.

In an effort to reach all of the Veterans in Clay County, Holland is now spending some office hours at the Clay City VFW Post No. 6606, 722 Main St., which is something not previously done.

"I've started going down to the new VFW building every other Wednesday for a couple of hours," he said. "I've only been down there once so far, but I look forward to meeting the Veterans residing in the southern part of the county."

Holland's office hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday and Tuesday and 8 a.m.-noon, Wednesdays at the Clay County Courthouse, and 2-4 p.m., every other Wednesday at the Clay City VFW, but he said that is not a limitation on when he is available to provide assistance.

"I want to maintain an open-door policy with all vets," he said. "If a Veteran can't make it during the regular office hours, they can call me and I'll come in on days I'm not scheduled to."

Holland also told The Brazil Times he is in the process of making it easier for families to remain in contact with soldiers deployed overseas.

"The Clay County Commissioners have loaned me a couple of computers and I hope to set one up at the courthouse and the other in Clay City to allow families of deployed soldiers the chance to come in and send e-mails to their loved ones," Holland said. "Even though more people are getting the Internet, there are still a lot of people who don't have access and I want to give them the opportunity to stay in contact with the soldiers."

He is also maintaining one of the staples of the office which Walden worked hard to improve.

"The van service is still running about once a week," Holland said about the service which takes Veterans to doctor's appointments and other needs. "All we need is at least 72-hours notice so we have time to find a driver and get things set up."

Holland said in the just less than a month he has been on the job, it has been a smooth transition and nothing has surprised him to this point.

"I am still learning and currently also organizing the Loyalty Day parade and dinner, which is May 9," he said.

Holland and his wife Ramona, or "Mo" as he said many know her by, each have two children from separate relationships and a total of five grandchildren.

To contact Holland, call the Clay County Veterans Service Office, located at the Clay County Courthouse, at 448-9015, the Clay City VFW at 939-2292, or his cell phone at 812-239-3070.

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Good luck, Mike. I know you can do it!

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Thu, Feb 26, 2009, at 5:02 AM

Mike does have big shoes to fill. Those of us who knew Les saw a lot of behind the scenes work that most people may not have known about. As VSO, for every hour of office time there is almost as much personal time committed to the mission. Mike will do the work. Good luck Mike! Also, if anyone wants to help with driving the van give Mike a call. Please understand that a clean driving record is important. The more drivers we have, the more flexibility of services can be offered to the veterans. A big Thanks to all of the volunteers so far!

-- Posted by michael.galloway1 on Thu, Feb 26, 2009, at 7:12 AM

Being a Veterans Service Officer is a very important job and comes with a lot of responsibility. Good Luck!

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, Feb 26, 2009, at 2:43 PM

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