The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

September 17, 2013

Montour County veterans affairs director earns best-in-the-state honor

MAHONING TWP. — Montour County has been named County of the Year when it comes to serving veterans.

The county received the award, which it is sharing with Clinton County, Friday from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, according to Doug Resseguie, Montour County veterans affairs director.

He was also presented with an award for claims worth more than $1 million for veterans during the veterans’ office fiscal year from July 1, 2012, through June 30.

“I was surprised I ended up getting the award for the most per veteran in my county. I knew I would come close to the award,” said Resseguie, who attended the Pennsylvania State Association of County Directors of Veterans’ Affairs in Mechanicsburg, where the awards were presented. He took a national test and is now certified on the national level.

Montour County received the top honor based on the county having the highest amount, or $1,084, per veteran in the county. The county’s veteran population is listed at 1,512.

Clinton County, with two and a half times more veterans than Montour County, is sharing the top honor for having the highest number of claims, 327, based on its veterans population.

“We tied in the way the points are ranked. They got a plaque and I got a plaque,” Resseguie said.

“I got the highest award per amount per veteran in my county plus I am part-time with no assistants and Clinton County has a full-time director with two or three assistants,” he said.

“For little Montour County, I’m beaming. I take care of veterans God sends me,” he said.

This is the second year the department of military and veterans affairs has presented the awards. Montour County received a five-star service award last year for recovering $812,932 in compensation and pension benefits for veterans during the previous fiscal year. Last year, counties with more than $500,000 received five-star awards.

For this past fiscal year, counties recovering more than $1 million in compensation and pension benefits for veterans were honored. Montour County’s compensation and pension benefits totaled $1,638,879 for that fiscal year.

“I don’t think you’re going to see that number next year,” Resseguie said. He said the past fiscal year was a big year because of backed-up claims, some two years old. “The Veterans Administration is trying to speed up the backlog. In June, it was mandated to have the two-year-old claims done and is now working on claims one-year-old,” he said.

“The point is to get better services for our veterans and their widows,” he said.

Help for veterans and their widows can include compensation for disabilities, pensions and assistance to stay in nursing homes and assisted living facilities if they have a low income.

Montour County was credited with 49 veterans’ claims this past fiscal year although Resseguie believes that number may be higher.

He pointed out it didn’t cost the county anything for him to become recertified last week with the state picking up the tab. It is mandatory county veterans’ directors are recertified every five years.

Receiving the top award “put Montour County on the map. They know where Montour is now. I consider the award on behalf of all these smaller counties who haven’t been recognized. It’s nice to stick up for small counties,” he said.

A Vietnam era Air Force veteran, Resseguie plans to display the awards on the wall of his  office along Woodbine Lane.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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