Southwest Iowa graphic

The Pottawattamie County Veterans Affairs Commission took no action on the appointment of a new administrator during its May meeting Thursday and instead heard about a flood-related benefit from current administrator Darlene McMartin.

A proposal by Commissioner Jesse Shea during the commission’s April meeting to nominate Nick Jedlicka for the post ended in a tie, with Shea and Commissioner Skyler Dooley voting in favor and Commissioners Robert Jorgensen and Ellen Fritz voting against. Commission Chairman Phillip Jacobs, who is also a candidate for the position, abstained.

In other action, McMartin said her office has gas vouchers for veterans (and/or their spouses) who had to leave their homes because of the flood and are now staying somewhere else and driving back to their primary residence to check on it or work on cleaning and restoration. Those who come into the office will also receive information on other resources that may be available to them.

She said Pottawattamie County Veterans Affairs served 368 people in the office and 643 others via telephone calls during the month of April. Five families were assisted with food, and the Boy Scout food drive had succeeded in filling up the pantry again. The agency also had two grave markers placed.

Al Ruby, who attended the meeting, said there is a backlog of grave markers that need to be placed.

McMartin said funeral homes sometimes hold the markers until outstanding bills are paid and that cemetery requirements must be met.

“Every cemetery has criteria for what they require,” she said. “There’s some that have never been placed because of criteria.”

She said she would ask funeral homes where any remaining headstones needed to be placed.

Pottawattamie County Veterans Affairs will receive 660 small flags for a Flags for the Fallen display, McMartin said. They are being paid for by the Iowa Veterans Foundation. The flags will be placed along South Sixth Street beginning where the South Expressway curves down to ground level and extending past the VA Building. She asked people to meet at 1 p.m. May 17 to put the flags in and said they would remain on display until after Memorial Day. Then they will be handed off to the next community in the county that will be having a town festival, with similar hand-offs to follow.

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