Union County is searching for a new veteran affairs director because a knee injury forced the current director to resign after two months on the job.
“It is tearing me apart to have to leave,” said former Veterans Affairs Director Blaize Reha. “It is pretty depressing because it is something I really enjoyed doing.”
Reha’s resignation letter was regretfully and unanimously accepted by the Union County Board of Supervisors Monday.
VFW Post 1797 Commander Gary O’Daniels said the reason for the resignation was because of Reha’s surgery Aug. 18 and long-term recovery from a re-aggravated knee injury. The surgery will replace a bone in Reha’s knee.
“Due to me being down for so long, there would be no one there to cover the office,” Reha said. “If I am out for six months (recovering from surgery), the office can’t be closed that long.”
Reha is an Army veteran and served in Iraq. He also worked at the Army Reserve Center in Creston. He replaced Kevin Scadden as veteran affairs director in April.
O’Daniels is currently working from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday while applications are being accepted for a replacement.
“I’ve been there every day answering the phone and answering questions from veterans that come in by giving as much information as I can,” O’Daniels said. “We will continue that process.”
However, the office will be closed starting Thursday through Aug. 17 because of O’Daniels’ previously scheduled vacation.
A message will be recorded for all phone calls and a sign will be on the office door to remind any veterans seeking aid of the temporary closure.
O’Daniels is hopeful they will be able to refill the position by Sept. 1. Typically the office is open 20 hours a week.
“I loved that job,” Reha said. “I am very passionate about working with the veterans. There is a lot of stuff out there the vets are not aware of ... seeing them get the smile on their face or know there are programs that can help them is very rewarding.”
The new director will have one year to complete certification through the National Veterans Association and any state requirements that are not already satisfied when he or she is hired.