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5 questions ... for David Bratton

He is the Stutsman County veterans service officer.

David Bratton n tablet
David Bratton, Stutsman County veterans service officer, holds a tablet computer enabled to help veterans get health care through the Veterans Administration hospital system.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

1. What led you to your work in helping veterans?

Warren Tobin, the previous Stutsman County Veteran Service Officer, chose to retire after 20 years in 2015. I had just received my degree in history and political science from the University of Jamestown and was looking for a career field. A friend told me about the VSO job opening at Stutsman County and I thought I would give it a shot. I really liked the idea of helping my fellow veterans in getting the benefits and care that they had earned for their service. I was rather thrilled when I was told I had gotten the job as I think something like ten people had applied.

2. What is a common misconception that veterans may have about getting services?

A lot of veterans have commented over the years that they didn’t want to access benefits because they thought it would take away benefits from other veterans. While a noble sentiment, this isn’t how it works at all. Every veteran is entitled to the benefits and care that they have earned.

3. What types of services does the Stutsman County Veterans Service offer?

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Our primary purpose is to help veterans gain access to state and federal benefits that may be available to them. Usually, this means filing disability claims with the VA or medical enrollment into the Fargo VA Healthcare System. We also help with various grant and loans programs through the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (NDDVA) that are available for state Veterans.

4. Who was a mentor to you in your career?

I was able to train in with the previous VSO, Warren Tobin, for several months before I took over as the service officer. This gave me the opportunity to learn as I went along and proved invaluable. The VSOs from all the counties in North Dakota also have several training conferences every year where we brush up on new laws pertaining to the VA and the veteran community. The VSO community in North Dakota also has a pretty good rapport, so there is really no difficulty in finding any answers we may need to help a veteran.

5. What should veterans know about your office?

My office is in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center here in Jamestown. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. and can be reached at (701) 252-9043. We prefer that veterans schedule appointments in advance so that we are better prepared to help them when they arrive.

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