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NAVY VETERAN TAKES PRIDE IN HELPING NEW VETERANS

Following 30 years in the Navy, Dan Schmidt vowed to spend the remainder of his career helping his fellow veterans.

Dan Schmidt

Dan Schmidt wasn’t sure what the future held for him after he left the military. But with his 30-year Navy career at an end, he was ready to start exploring his options.

“As I considered the direction I wanted to take, I remembered how much it meant to me that people took time to explain my benefits and what was owed to me when I was separating,” says Schmidt. “I thought I would like to do the same for my fellow veterans.”

It took just one call to VFW, and Schmidt was on the road to becoming a VFW Service Officer.

“I separated in 2001 and became a service officer in 2004,” Schmidt shares. “And the simple truth is, I love coming to work every day.”

The new veterans Schmidt helps day to day are especially glad to have him on their side as well.

“Dan genuinely cares about his job,” says Frank Pulley, a veteran Schmidt is currently assisting with a VA claim. “His superb advice, attention to detail and genuine concern with the VA screening and filing process have proven to be invaluable to me.”

Catching Marines before they leave the military has become Schmidt’s personal mission. He works at the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) office at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“So many people don’t apply for benefits or realize what they’re entitled to prior to leaving the military,” Schmidt explains. “Most of them leave and then years down the road their buddies tell them they should have taken care of this stuff years ago. I want to prevent as much of this type of hardship as I can.

“It’s my job to help veterans transition smoothly from the military back into their civilian lives and make sure they receive all the support and care they deserve,” he concludes.

The Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) Program was founded in 2001 — a cooperative initiative of the VA and the Department of Defense. VFW has nine offices at some of the largest military installations across the nation, with plans to expand.

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