Helping veterans is more than a career, it's a lifestyle.

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“So many veterans don’t know their rights,” said North Carolina VFW Service Officer Donald W. Priem, Jr. “They need to talk to someone that can guide them through the benefits available to them.”

When combat veteran Annie Conrad visited Priem’s office in Winston-Salem, N.C., she was in desperate need of some guidance. Priem, having retired from a 24-year career in the Air Force, understood her frustration.

Conrad was injured in a service-connected automobile accident. This accident left her with a cervical spine injury and intense neck and back pain.

“After meeting with Annie, it didn’t take me long to figure out what she was missing,” said Priem. “She needed a notarized statement from someone who witnessed the accident and a medical opinion that backed up her claim.”

In a letter featured in The VFW Leader, Conrad shared her gratitude for Priem’s assistance.

“He gave me his utmost attention and always returned my phone calls within the same business day, no matter how busy he was. He worked persistently and relentlessly for me. He worked on my claim while I was confined to my couch.”

Once Priem pointed Conrad in the right direction, they secured the needed documentation, and Conrad was awarded full benefits.

“It always feels good when I win a case,” said Priem. “Annie had gone so long without success. It was nice to give her some different news.”

After 25 years as a service officer, 21 of which were spent as a county service officer in Florida, Priem stays two steps ahead of the VA. When Priem isn’t taking appointments with veterans or accepting walk-ins, he’s visiting VA rating boards to assure that all claims are reviewed.

“As long as I’m helping a veteran, my goal is fulfilled,” said Priem. “That’s the name of the game.”

Whatever the name of the game, Priem reigns victorious. Last year, Priem helped veterans receive over $18.5 million in benefits. This translates to over 6,000 interviews and 6,500 processed claims.

To all the veterans out there who need guidance, Priem calls on you.

“Go to someone who is knowledgeable,” said Priem. “Come to me.”



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