The Northwest Indiana Veterans Assistance Center hosted military veterans and their families at the Center’s recent Christmas party in Gary this Holiday season. The Center exists to provide services to veterans to assist them in obtaining their Veterans Administration benefits, inform veterans of employment opportunities, and to be a friend in the community.
Bob Farmer is the Executive Director of the Center, located at 5921 W. 25th Avenue, in Gary. The Center, a volunteer staffed operation, has been open since 2013. According to Farmer, the Center assisted more than 600 veterans in 2016. Those veterans have served in conflicts that include World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraqi Freedom Wars, to the present.
“The time frame from acceptance of a VA application to the receipt of benefits can be a tedious, time consuming one,” said Farmer. “We expedite that time frame by providing VA applicants with all the paperwork and forms they need to get started. When they arrive at the VA offices and are told you need this form and that form they can say ‘I have them right here, all filled out’.”
In addition to providing practical functions for veterans, the Center also houses a Case of Honor, a wall mounted memorial to veterans of Northwest Indiana who have served with distinction. Center personnel review and select candidates for the Case of Honor. This year George Osborne, a Viet Nam veteran, was recognized for his heroic actions in the Viet Nam War. Osborne was killed when he jumped on a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers.
The Northwest Indiana Veterans Assistance Center was started by Bob Farmer. It operates without any government funding. Shawn Guy, 45, is an Army veteran of the Gulf War. She and Farmer manage all the responsibilities of running the Center. They receive no salary, and work because “the need is there,” says Guy.
The Center hosted almost 100 guests at its Christmas party. Farmer attributes the success of the Christmas party to the many helping hands in the Gary community.