Joe Adair, commander of American Legion Post 39 in Williamsburg, said the new Virginia Department of Veterans Services office will be important to the region’s population of veterans as they transition out of the military.
A formal grand opening ceremony for the office, located at 203 Ironbound Road in the Dillard Complex on the College of William and Mary campus, took place Thursday with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Williamsburg Mayor Paul Freiling, 93rd District Del. Mike Mullin and 1st District state Sen. Monty Mason among those in attendance. About 75 veterans and supporters also attended.
“I think a lot of the veterans that are here in Williamsburg just don’t know where to go, or know what to do when they do get out,” Adair said.
Adair said the military has transition programs when people are leaving service, but said this office will provide service that helps even more.
“I tell them, ‘Try it out,’ ” Adair said. “There’s no guarantees in life, but there is some place you can go where you can sit down and talk.”
The office will serve military veterans and their families in Williamsburg, along with the counties of James City, York, New Kent, Gloucester and those at Fort Eustis. The office, the 29th in Virginia, is designed to help veterans in accessing federal and state benefits.
“Opening this new office here on the William and Mary campus is another concrete example of Virginia’s commitment to serving our veterans and their families in the Historic Triangle region and throughout the state to make it easier for them to successfully transition from the military to being a veteran,” said Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner John Newby II.
Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and veterans can be seen from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The office is closed to the public on the last business day of the month.
Previously, the nearest veterans benefits office was in Hampton, which provided a satellite service once per month at the Williamsburg Library.
McAuliffe, who said 14 percent of the state’s veterans are in the Williamsburg region, said Virginia has more veterans in the workforce than any other state, and said DVS offices helped secure $3.1 billion in benefits to state veterans.
“That’s why there’s the need for this benefit office,” McAuliffe said. “It is so important to make sure our vets are getting services. They’ve worn the cloth for the country, and when they come back we’ve got to make sure we’re doing our part to make sure to get their benefits, the health care that they need.”
Virginia Department of Veterans Services Williamsburg Office
Location: 203 Ironbound Road, College of William and Mary Dillard Complex.
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.