In the far flung rural areas of the Texas Panhandle, to take care of fellow veterans Rev. George W. Hall, US Army Ret. travels hundreds of miles and countless hours.
“Many in this area travel to larger cities for work and come home at night. Others out here don’t drive or don’t have computers. Being in a rural area, you have to be available all the time due to the demographic and geographic factors. I just get in my car and go,” said Hall, Veteran County Service Officer for both Donley and Hall counties. The two counties combined are over 1,800 square miles. “I traveled 200 miles once to assist the widow of a veteran.”
He works with Justice Involved Veterans as well and it too takes extra coordination. “In bigger cities, you have Veterans Treatment Court. Here older or younger veterans may get in trouble and if you give a fine that takes all they got,” said Hall, pictured, who noted the fine can put them in further trouble with the courts as the veteran cannot afford the fine. “I’m working with local judges and coordinating with area churches and organizations to give (Justice Involved) veterans community service, so it doesn’t take all they have.” Hall said he hopes to eventually develop this program to a monthly meeting between veterans and judges.
To help any veteran or their family member, Hall gets to know them first. “By listening to them and finding out exactly what their needs are we can get them enrolled in VA hospitals, disability compensation, pensions, education benefits, transportation services, help with transitioning back to society, et cetera.” Hall is involved with all aspects of the VA so he can help “the veterans out here know all the services available to them.”
And, he is effective, having recently helped a sight and hearing impaired veteran that was denied care get the health care he needs. Hall also traveled to visit a veteran regarding a Claims compensation rating. “I got him to 100% and he got $30,000 back pay dating back to the error made by the VA.”
Hall credits his success to team effort. “I appreciate the help from the (Texas Veterans Commission) Claims Strike Force; Glenda Wilcox (Texas Veterans Commission [TVC] Claims Benefits Advisor [CBA] ) has been my right hand in all the cases. Also, Sandra Covin (TVC Claims Manager); she certified me and trained me during accreditation. And I really appreciate the help of Laura Bivens (TVC VCSO Liaison).
Hall noted that since many of his clients are homebound, he may provide services for them as a Reverend as well as a VCSO when he visits. “I’ve performed weddings and funerals too.”
Ordained as a Reverend after becoming a VCSO, Hall’s veteran service career started with outreach events on Fridays for a VFW in Utah. “It kind of blossomed from there.” Hall has been VSCO for Donley County since July 2014, then added Hall County in 2017. Prior to all this, Hall served 20 years in the Army, Reserve and National Guard, retiring at the rank of Sergeant.