This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008 - Veterans Services at the Library

By Rochelle Logan, Associate Director of Research & Collections

Of all the phases in my life, the time I am most proud of was spent as an Air Force spouse. My husband was a pilot, now retired. We moved eight times all over the US and overseas until we landed in Colorado in 1992. It was a wonderful life, but also a hard one. We never knew where the military would send us next. Will it be in a part of the country or world we’d rather not live? How will the children take another move?

There were plenty of times I was anxious and lonely and those were during times of peace for our country. Now I have friends whose sons and daughters are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military and their families deserve our thanks and support from our government. The GI Bill is one way the United States helps veterans.

Douglas County Libraries is participating in a pilot project with the American Library Association to provide information to veterans about the new GI Bill. The American Legion and Congress overhauled veterans’ education benefits and created the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is scheduled for implementation on August 1, 2009. People eligible under this new Bill served after September 10, 2001.

In addition to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, we still have the Montgomery GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and the Reserve Education Assistance Program. Confused yet?

If you think you are eligible for any of the four GI Bills, come to one of the Douglas County Libraries to get help from a librarian and pick up information. You can also visit http://www.wo.ala.org/veteransinfo. Some of the costs you might have covered include tuition, fees, and housing allowances. With the cost of a four-year education skyrocketing, these benefits are especially valuable.

We want to get the word out to all veterans to check on their GI Bill eligibility. Thirty percent of active-duty service members never use their veterans’ education benefits after leaving the military. And only seven percent between 1997 and 2006 used up all their benefits. Let’s improve those numbers.

Another venture I want to mention is the “Speaking to the Future: Voices from the Past” project in the library’s Douglas County History Research Center (DCHRC). The DCHRC is looking for veterans and civilians with wartime service who want to be interviewed and have their oral history become a part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. The importance of collecting and preserving stories of military service cannot be underestimated.

Does your grandfather or aunt tell you stories about their wartime experience that would someday be lost? My father-in-law stepped on a land mine in France during WWII. His telling of that day and being saved by a French farmer is absolutely riveting. Dad was interviewed in San Diego for the Library of Congress project. I encourage you or your family members to do the same.

If you would like more information about sharing your story, call the DCHRC at 303-688-7730.

This month we honor our veterans and their families. I encourage you take the time to thank your friends who are or were in the armed forces.

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