American Legion National Vice Commander Dave Hall and 17th District Commander Jim Nagel will host a regional caravan stop for local veterans and Legion members at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Heyworth American Legion Post. (Photo by Beth Whisman/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - Veterans will have a chance to get their questions answered Thursday when the national Vice Commander of the American Legion comes to Central Illinois.
Dave Hall is on a 10-day caravan through the state and has stopped at 11 legion posts so far and will hit nine more before the tour concludes.
He said Monday one of the biggest complaints he's gotten is that there's such a major backlog in veterans' injury claims.
"In the country right now there are one million claims that are in backlog," he said. "That means that there are one million veterans out there waiting. Their livelihood could depend on this and they're waiting for decisions to be made and some of this is taking months or possibly even a year."
Hall said the caravan is a good time for veterans to ask questions and to get one-on-one time with other veterans and with the organization's local and national representatives.
Thursday's meeting will be at the Heyworth American Legion post at 8 a.m.
Budget cuts and unemployment
Hall is concerned that more defense and veterans affairs budget cuts could mean higher unemployment for veterans.
"I think you're going to see in the neighborhood of somewhere around 300,000 soldiers each year no longer needed in the military," he said.
Currently, Hall said, the veterans' unemployment rate is 9.9 percent and the rate for female veterans is 12.5 percent.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.