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Around the Town: April 29, 2011

Veterans Services

I have great news for the almost 45,000 Hempstead Town veterans who fought to defend our nation’s freedom. The veterans booth at Hempstead Town Hall is serving more clients than ever!

After being closed in the summer of 2009 by the Governor and the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs, the veterans booth was reopened with the assistance of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Veterans, as well as their spouses and children, can continue to come to our counseling center every Wednesday and Thursday at Hempstead Town Hall to discuss veterans benefits and other veterans issues.

Counselor Rick Gales, National Service Officer with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, is available for one-on-one interviews from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. All interviews are confidential.

The counselor’s office is located under the “Veterans Information” sign on the ground floor lobby of Hempstead Town Hall. Appointments are not necessary, but please call ahead of time to make sure Rick Gales will be in on the day you would like to visit. Mr. Gales may be reached at 516-812-3506.

The town is excited to have this service available to our residents. It’s important to make sure your personal information on file is current and that you are getting all the veterans benefits to which you are entitled.

On March 1, 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs will stop issuing paper checks to comply with a Department of Treasury policy to extend electronic payments to all Americans receiving federal benefit and non-tax payments. Veterans have the option of direct deposit into a bank or credit union account of their choice or into a Direct Express® debit card account. To ensure a smooth transition to electronic payments, I am urging the township’s residents to switch as soon as possible.  For more information about the federal government’s switch to direct deposit or to change VA benefits to direct deposit visit or call 1-800-333-1795 or speak to our veterans counselor Rick Gales.

In addition, the Town of Hempstead has waived pet adoption fees for veterans as part of its “Pets for Vets” program. We hope to continue helping residents experience the joys of pet ownership while giving animals at the town’s shelter good homes with loving owners. Many veterans may benefit from having an animal companion, and the dogs and cats will be thrilled to be placed in a forever home.

Through this program, the town will be waiving all adoption fees for all veterans who bring new pets into their homes. What’s more, all cats and dogs adopted by veterans will be spayed or neutered and microchipped free of charge. Microchipping implants a rice-grain sized tracking device in animals, which contains contact information so owner may be reunited quickly with lost pets. Veterans are invited to come to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at 3320 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh to meet the great dogs and cats looking for homes. Facility hours are 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call (516) 785-5220.

I urge you to take advantage of these great services. Veterans and their families will obtain valuable information through meeting with the veteran’s counselor and by adopting a pet, you will experience the joy of pet ownership while giving a great pet a loving home.