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Johnson County Veterans Service Center available to assist those in need

There are at least 1,800 veterans from all branches of the service living in Johnson County. Over the years, the Johnson County Veterans Service Office, the America Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have been pursuing the possibility that a medical clinic for veterans could be located in the county. In order to have a chance on accomplishing this goal, they need assistance from Johnson Countians.
According to Ralph Hutto, Johnson County’s Veterans Service Officer, the names, branch of service, time of service and contact information of local veterans are needed to submit to the Veterans Administration (VA) in the quest to be able to provide a local VA clinic. The previous VA clinic in the area closed approximately five to six years ago. A new facility would serve not only Johnson County, but also Ashe and Watauga Counties, Damascus, Virginia and other nearby locations. The county has a significant number of veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam that need local access to medical care. Contact the local Veterans Service office at 423-727-7929 to rely your information. The best times to call are Monday and Tuesdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon and from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. The information gathered will be used to make a case for a local VA clinic.
According to Hutto, several community members and the family of Billy Mosier from Laurel Bloomery have contacted the local veterans service office regarding replacing the headstone provided by the VA for Mosier with a newer one. The VA only provides for one headstone unless it is damaged or broken. Mosier was 18 years old when he died in Korea trying to save others. He won the Distinguished Service Cross Medal. He worked in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit. According to Hutto, the long-running television series, M.A.S.H. 4077, was based on the unit Mosier worked in. There is also a hospital in Fort Lee, Virginia that was named in honor of Mosier’s on January 13, 2013. “All the veterans in the county are special to me, but I am sure that most of you vets feel as I do that when someone has paid the full measure, they should be remembered,” said Hutto. “ I feel very fortunate to have the position of Veterans Service Officer for Johnson County. I meet many heroes every day. We don’t have to speak much about what we did. Everyone knows that what we did was necessary to secure the peace and freedom we all enjoy today.” Hutto would like to see a committee and funding established to take care of the county’s veterans, abandoned veteran gravesites and memorials. “Johnson County has the distinction of having some of the most decorated soldiers of all counties in Tennessee,” he said. “We should be proud of this fact.”
The Johnson County Veterans Service Office is available to assist and answer any questions you may have with your benefit claims. They also provide assistance with insurance issues and supplemental policy information, as well as information for low-income veterans, their families and neighbors. The office is located at 211 N. Church Street in Mountain City. You may contact Hutto or Karen Manuel at 727-7929. “I ask that each of you can please support the veterans, join the American Legion, the VFW and the Honor Guard,” Hutto said. “These are the organizations that can help lobby Congress for the veterans needs, where the laws need to be changed.”
If you would like to contribute funds that will directly impact the lives of veterans of Johnson County, checks can be made payable to Johnson County Memorial Fund and dropped off at the Johnson County Veterans Service Office