Peru officials welcomes the La Salle County Veterans Assistance Commission to its new home in Peru.
La Salle County VAC Outreach Coordinator Lissa Olson spoke at the meeting and said her organization is excited to join the city and to make the move to a larger office.
“We have been operating out of the downtown courthouse in Ottawa for way beyond my years and we knew that we needed to expand the services for veterans in our area,” Olson said. “We knew that the only way to do that was to get out of our two-office hole in the county building.”
The La Salle County VAC will be leasing two end suites in the building on Progress Boulevard. Olson said the organization hopes to move into the new office in the middle of August and tentatively the agency has set an open house and ribbon cutting for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30.
The La Salle County VAC advocates for veterans and their families and assists them acquire a variety of benefits.
The benefits include but are not limited to military records requests, health care applications, education or employment, disability compensation, pension benefits, burial costs, among others.
“We are not for profit so no matter what they get, as far as back pay or monthly compensation or pension, we do not touch it,” Olson said. “It all goes straight to our veterans.”
Olson works alongside Superintendent Steven Kreitzer and Assistant Superintendent Christa Hammers in the long-standing organization.
Olson said the agency saw the need of additional space to incorporate services, such as PTSD support groups, caregivers support groups, suicide outreach and awareness, among others.
“We need to be able to put these guys and girls somewhere so we can get these veterans off the streets and into a better habitat,” Olson said.
The La Salle County VAC also looks forward to creating a computer lab veterans may utilize and have assistance in looking for and applying for jobs.
Aside from its new location in Peru, the La Salle County VAC also offers various outreach locations on different days.
These pop-up dates include visits to Streator City Hall every Monday and Tuesday, Oglesby City Hall every Wednesday, Mendota Chamber of Commerce every Thursday and Sandwich VFW on the first Friday of the month.
Mayor Ken Kolowski and many others on the council welcomed the organization and said they look forward to the services it will bring to the area.
“When she contacted me and told me about this move to Peru, I was extremely excited,” Kolowski said. “That’s why I asked her to be here to fill us all in on everything it will bring to our community.”