BRADENTON -- A Manatee County commissioner was one of the honorees Tuesday when April was named as National County Government Month here by the county Board of Commissioners, and the board in turn used the occasion to honor another unsung group: returned American Veterans of the Vietnam War.
As the commission's regular meeting at the county building got underway with proclamations honoring Tobacco-Free Florida Week, Public Health Week, Minority Health Month, Fair Housing Month, Guardian Ad Litem Month, Water Conservation Month, Donate Life Month (for organ donors), and a resolutions honoring America's 3,143 counties, the somber memory of the shameful reception - or frequent lack of one - for returning veterans of Vietnam was corrected, if only for a moment.
The commission singled out one of its members, Commissioner Larry Bustle of Palmetto, who was a pilot in Vietnam and next week will join his fighter wing annual reunion in Las Vegas.
"Welcome back!" Commissioner Joe McClash exclaimed. Bustle beamed.
For the entire five-week month of April, the commission's chambers will be the scene of four seminars and finally an open forum and Q&A that will inform veterans and their families on benefit issues.
In April, the seminar will be on "Health Care Benefits and Entitlements;" on April 8, "Non Service-Connected and Widow Pensions;" on April 15, "Service Connected Disability and Compensation;" On April 22, "Burial Benefits and Sarasota National Cemetery;" and finally, the April 29 "Questions and Answers on Veterans Administration Benefits and Services," and an "Open Forum" discussion of home loans, education, adaptive equipment requests and other topics covered in the earlier seminars.
The seminars will be in the board chambers at the County Administration Building at 1112 Manatee Ave. West. Coffee and snacks will be provided. The seminars and ending forum begin each Friday morning at 9 a.m. Veterans and their families can call the county's Community Services Dept at (941) 749-3030.
Seating for the five Fridays is limited; the building is fully accessible to the handicapped.
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