The community room at the Depot in Caliente, still decorated from the tree lighting, was a comfortable place for veterans and family members to wait on Dec. 6 to receive free legal help, as well as guidance on other benefits available to them because of their military service.
The event was a combined effort from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military and Legal Assistance and the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS).
Five lawyers set up in the city council chambers, helping veterans and family with legal benefits such as family law, landlord/tenant/public benefits, bankruptcy, consumer law/protection, how to update/create a new will and applicable powers of attorney.
Ron Kozak of Eagle Valley, who served in the U.S. Air Force, donated his time to provide notary services.
Owen Hill, Nevada Veteran’s Advocate, and Ryan McDonald from the attorney general’s office were on hand to assist with coordination.
The event also connected veterans electronically to a NDVS Veterans’ Service Officer. Veterans were able to ask questions about topics including veterans’ benefits, accessibility to health care and how to start a service-connected disability claim.
“We are the first of two counties in the entire state of Nevada that are reaching their veterans electronically and securely, so that veterans don’t have to travel to Reno or Vegas,” event coordinator Linda Rollins said. Rollins is a registered nurse, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a local NDVS veterans advocate. She, with help from her husband Bob Rollins, U.S. Navy Retired and sheriff’s office dispatcher, set up tables with information and provided hot beverages for those waiting.
“The gamut of things and questions that were asked were all across the spectrum,” Rollins said. “We felt it was an awesome event.”
Linda Rollins holds regular office hours to assist veterans at the Panaca Senior Center on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month and can be reached at (775) 962-1304.
She mentioned most counties have a two percent veteran population. Lincoln County has an eight percent veteran population.
Around 24 veterans were assisted.