Cass County Veterans Affairs Office welcomes new leadership

CASSOPOLIS — A change in leadership at the Cass County Veterans Affairs Office was welcomed with a standing ovation Thursday evening.

During its regularly scheduled meeting, the Cass County Board of Commissioners hosted a Change of Responsibilities Ceremony for the Cass County Veterans Service Officer’s position, which leads the Veterans Affairs Office. Cassopolis resident Karee Krause is taking over the role following the retirement of Tom Green, who served in the position for 12 years.

During the ceremony, Green was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a flag. Krause was welcomed into the position with a flag that will be flown at the county building.

Krause comes to the position with 22 years’ experience in the U.S. Army and three years’ experience as a veterans service officer in Van Buren County. Cassopolis born and raised, she said when she learned of the opening in Cass County, she jumped at the chance to serve in her hometown.

“There is nothing better than to help the veterans in your home county,” she said. “I’m excited about helping the vets in the county. … Being a veteran, I know the simplest thing can change [a veteran’s] life.”

Thursday’s ceremony was emotional for Green, who blinked back emotion as he addressed the Cass County Board of Commissioners.

“I don’t know where the last 12 years went, but I will say they have been wonderful,” Green said. “I feel elated.”

During his 12 years as veterans service officer, Green found fulfillment in helping veterans like himself.

“There is a knowledge that you are doing some good,” he said. “It’s the kind of job that people will say ‘thank you.’ You help them sometimes get a life-changing benefit that helps them get over some of the troubles they are in. That’s the best part.”

Despite his love of his work, Green, 77, said he knew it was time to retire.

“I’m past retirement age, so it just was time,” he said. “There comes a time when you just know it’s time to move on to the next phase.”

Before he set off into retirement, Green offered Krause some parting words of wisdom.

“She is going to find that she has a lot of support here in this county,” he said. “[The Board of Commissioners] believes in dedication to our veterans, and that’s what we are all here for. We are here to give them the benefits they are entitled to. That is what we are all about.”

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