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COOK COUNTY CONNECTIONS: Honoring our Veterans

Nov 06, 2020 09:12AM ● By Editor

By Cook County Veteran Services Officer Pat Strand from Cook County MN - November 6, 2020

On November 11, we once again celebrate our Veterans and their service to our country.  I would like to share a poem with you titled, “It is the Veteran,” author unknown.

It is the Veteran, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Veteran, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Veteran, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the Veteran, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Veteran, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.

It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, who gave his or her oath to support and defend The Constitution and Our Nation Against all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic, and whose coffin is draped by the flag

It is the Veteran, with faith in God and Country, who has given us all our Freedoms!

I want to thank all of our Veterans, no matter how small you may think your contribution was, for your service to our country.  No matter what your MOS was, you sacrificed your time with family and friends, and you were willing to put your life on the line at any given moment for our country.  Countless Veterans sacrificed their spirit and peace of mind; endured complete loss of, or use of, their limbs; and lost their health and/or their lives. 

A Veteran does not have to be on a battlefield to lose a piece of their life or endure life altering events.  There are so many sacrifices that have been made, and continue to be made, in service to our country that Veterans themselves aren’t aware of unless pointed out to them.  In fact, many Veterans tend to downplay their military service.  Less than one-half of one (1) percent of today’s U.S. population is serving in the military, making Veterans a pretty elite group.  Always stand tall and be proud of the time you served – and know that we owe you our gratitude and support.

Due to COVID-19, most Veterans Day events will be held virtually this year.  The Official State of Minnesota Veterans Day Program will be a 30-minute recorded program available starting at 8 am on November 11 on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website at

The Cook County Veterans Service Office is also closed to in-person meetings due to COVID-19.  Most business can be conducted over the phone, through email or via regular mail.  There is also a drop box for mail located by the front door of the courthouse on the west side of the building.  Signatures can be obtained in person by scheduling an appointment, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

I want to remind our Veterans that the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is still taking applications for the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant and the Special Needs Grant for Veterans financially impacted by COVID-19.

There is also a new grant called the Distance Learning Support Grant.  This grant is for Veterans financially impacted by children from K-12 required to participate in distance learning.  For more information, visit or call your Veteran Service Officer (VSO) Pat Strand at 218-387-3639.  You can also email me at [email protected].

Cook County also has a Tribal Veteran Services Officer, Clarence Everson.  You can contact Clarence (Clinker) at 218-475-2780.  There are many state and federal benefits for which a Veteran may be eligible, so please do not hesitate to call us. 

Once again, a huge thank you to our Veterans for their service and for keeping our country free and safe!  Take good care of yourselves and your family.

“In the aftermath, we are because they were.”  
RJ Heller


County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service


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