For Immediate ReleaseAugust 23, 2016
Recent addition of support staff will help address pressing needs
San Rafael, CA – After 70 years as a one-person operation, the Veterans Services Office of Marin County Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than tripled in size in recent months and is on a mission to provide timely assistance to the estimated 15,500 military vets living in Marin County.
Stephens recently announced the addition of Ron Paul as a full-time eligibility worker in the office as of August 1. The important personnel addition comes about four months after Brijette Overby joined the office as support staff for 30 hours per week. They join a part-time mental health outreach worker, Marcy Orosco, who is funded through Proposition 63 dollars.
“Due to the volume, complexity, and time-sensitive nature of the needs of the veterans, a decision was made to add an additional person this budget year to work with me to assist this important population,” Stephens said of Paul’s hiring. “Ron is a veteran himself, which will go a long way in earning trust and credibility with the clients he will serve.”
Paul, who has worked the past two years for Marin HHS’ Public Assistance Office in San Rafael, served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1990 mostly in special weapons assembly and field artillery. He’s now teamed with Stephens, who served four combat tours in Afghanistan for the Army.
“Adding that position not only represents an important collaboration between our Veterans Services Program and our Public Assistance Program but also demonstrates our dedication, intention, and commitment to providing excellent customer service,” said Kari Beuerman, HHS Assistant Director. “That service is especially tailored to the veterans population, which is a group with unique and complex needs.”
The Veterans Service Office was established in 1946, just after the end of World War II when most wartime military personnel were transitioning to civilian life. Mort Tallen, a U.S. Army World War II veteran, served as the County’s Veterans Services Officer for 29 years, retiring at age 92 in 2010. After retiring from active duty, Stephens volunteered for Tallen before taking over the position full-time in 2012.
Overby spent a year as a part-time assistant for Stephens scheduling appointments, answering the phone and providing daily service to military vets who stop by to learn more about potential benefits they are entitled to earn. Previously she worked as a patient advocate volunteer and part-time employee in HHS’ Aging and Adult Services Division.
“Brijette has proven herself to be indispensable, not only to me but to the veterans coming in as well,” said Stephens, who has received part-time and volunteer help from others in the past. “Her previous experience with In-Home Supportive Services, Meals on Wheels, the Catch-A-Ride Taxi program, the Point-in-Time Homeless Count and the Information & Assistance Line dovetails really nicely into the kind of services we provide. She has a proven track record of compassionate care, and we’re thrilled to have her expertise and solid background on our team.”
Marin HHS’ Public Assistance Office is working closely with the Veterans Services Office as Paul transitions to his new role and the whole staff coordinates to help Stephens with various customer service needs.
“Our hope is that bolstering staffing will decrease the amount of wait time necessary to obtain an appointment with our office,” Beuerman said. “We would ask for ongoing patience from the community, as we are still a small staff with a high volume of work, so some wait time for an appointment will continue to be a reality.”
The Marin Veterans Services Office is at 10 North San Pedro Road in San Rafael, across the street from the Marin County Civic Center. Learn more about the Veterans Service Office at www.marinhhs.org/veterans-services.
Sean StephensVeterans Services OfficerHealth and Human Services
10 N. San Pedro Rd.Suite 1010San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6193Email: Sean StephensVeterans Services website