Veterans in Orange have new advocate

Nov. 22, 2013 @ 08:44 AM

Those who attended Orange County’s Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast may have seen the county’s newest veteran service officer out and about and not have known it.

Soft spoken yet ready and willing to help veterans in need, Betsy Corbett has joined the Orange County Department of Social Services to help area veterans access the services, benefits and care they need to help them live happy lives after serving their country.
“I’ll mainly look at compensation, disability, education, burial benefits, spousal support, educate people on eligibility and how to maintain their benefits,” Corbett said. “I can also help veterans with other services that many of them may not be aware of if they didn’t serve during wartime.”
Working with veterans is not new for Corbett. As a graduate student at the University of Chicago she and a few other graduate students interned at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center directly interacting with and assisting vets.
“I started a student organization, Student Advocates for Veterans Association, and we did fundraisers, information sessions and helped to create awareness of veterans and the issues they were facing,” explained Corbett. “We had quite a few veterans that were students but people weren’t aware.”
Corbett also comes to this position with some personal experience on the needs of veterans and their families.
“My mom is a veteran. She retired from the Army Reserve,” she said. “When I was in high school, she was deployed and I had to stay with my grandmother and that’s when I learned about the deployment cycle, how my family had to deal with things.”
Corbett also comes with a social work background. Prior to graduate school she did intensive in-home therapy with families and children.
“I’ve always wanted to be a social worker and it narrowed to veterans,” Corbett said. “I really love helping people and with social work you can do so much with it.
Corbett said that she is available for home visits to veterans who do not have transportation or are disabled.
Right now the agency and Corbett are working on Toys for Tots through the U.S. Marine Corps and a concept called Military Mondays is being tossed around.
While it is still in discussion with nothing finalized, Corbett explained that Military Mondays would provide an opportunity to provide veterans with information specific to a particular need at a monthly workshop.
“Right now I’m getting in touch with the community and veterans and their needs,” Corbett said. “Even the older veterans want to help. They come to me to help other veterans.”

Corbett can be reached at (919) 245-2890 or at bcorbett@orangecountync.gov.