Service officer puts in overtime fighting for veterans


James Withrow was a farm kid with big dreams. He figured the best way to see the world would be to join the military.

“I didn’t want to stay on the farm in West Virginia,” he said. “So at 19, I signed up.”

Withrow’s adventurous spirit was the first step on a 26-year military career. Always an advocate and member of the VFW, he served as State Adjutant of the Department of Delaware while he was still on active duty.

When he retired from the military, Withrow wasn’t just looking for any job. He wanted something a little more meaningful than pushing paper nine to five.

“I wanted to accomplish something—I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.”

That’s why he became a VFW service officer.

“It’s a challenge every day, but we always go the extra mile to help the veterans who come to see us,” Withrow said about his office and the professionals he works with at the VA. He says their working relationship is “like a family.”

It’s a good thing he enjoys the office, because Withrow spends a lot of time there. With over 2,000 claims in the queue and just one assistant, he more than stays busy.

“We have more clients than any other office in Delaware,” he explained. “I like to think that’s because we’re so compassionate and hardworking.”

No case is too tough for Withrow and his team either. When a Vietnam veteran came to see Withrow in 2000 for help with a long-delayed VA claim, Withrow welcomed the challenge.

Suffering from Diabetes, the Vietnam vet filed a claim in 1969 that was promptly denied. However, the veteran sent a letter of disagreement so the claim was technically still open all these years.

Withrow capitalized on this detail and got to work. In the end, the VA confirmed service-connected Type II Diabetes and awarded the veteran $428,000 in retroactive compensation.

“This guy had no income and was living on meager disability payments from Social Security—he was completely overwhelmed by the victory,” Withrow explained.

“We take veterans through the entire process,” Withrow concluded. “They are eternally grateful for the help they receive. It’s worth the long hours.”



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