Butler County veterans board member re-elected President

Butler County Veterans Service Commissioner Bruce Jones raised his right hand Wednesday as Common Pleas Court Judge Noah Powers swore him in to a second term, one he hopes will be full of new benefits for veterans.

After his swearing-in the 68-year-old former Army Master Sergeant was also re-elected president of the five-member board.

The Vet Board used to be a dysfunctional organization that had a hard time getting much done because of constant in-fighting between the commissioners. Powers said he was pleased to reappoint Jones to the board that has been transformed over the past several years.

“He was doing a good job, in fact a great job, those guys just work together very well...,” Powers said. “The thing I love about this new board they are innovative and they’re committed to the cause. When I became presiding judge it didn’t always work smoothly and wasn’t always dedicated to the job.”

Often confused with the Veterans Administration, the independent board is charged with helping vets navigate the Veterans Administration system to get medical help and other services, arranging and paying for transportation to medical appointments and finding local services for everything from legal issues to marriage counseling.

The BCVSC is responsible for helping about 22,000 veterans using a slice of the county’s general fund, the board approved a $3.35 million budget for this year.

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Jones of Hamilton is the member representing AmVets, he was first appointed in 2018. He is eager to get started on the next five years.

“I think we all take a lot of pride in what we do as commissioners,” Jones said. “It’s not a money job, it’s something you want to do to help veterans, because you’re a veteran.”

Later this year he hopes they can expand the new dental program — he and Commissioner Tom Jeffers came up with the new benefit and the rest of the board agreed — for veterans. He said they plan to meet with participating dentists and ask them to absorb part of the cost of their services so the board can also fund services beyond just check-ups.

“So we can pay for the next step the veterans would need,” Jones said. “Because if you’ve not been going to the dentist obviously a cleaning is not going to cure your problem, you’ve probably got other issues.”

During his five-year term he would like to see the board host a veterans appreciation day with music and other entertainment like some other vet boards do. He wants to work with cities and townships on a streetlamp banner program to honor veterans and expanding their advertising efforts to let more vets know about the benefits they offer, to name a few.

Past board president Commissioner Chuck Weber said they were thrilled Jones was reappointed.

“I think we’re on a really good trajectory right now,” Weber said. “I see every reason to reappoint Bruce, I see no reason to change horses in the middle of the stream.”

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