By Christian W. Peck
Public Information Officer
Niagara County Public Information Office
The Niagara County Clerk's Office has long made veterans' outreach a top priority, and County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski said a new appointment at the Veterans Service Agency he heads reaffirms that commitment.
Jastrzemski welcomed new Veterans Service Officer Christopher Butler to work Monday, his first day on the job serving county veterans, saying veterans services provided by the county amount to "a promise kept to those who kept their promises to us."
Butler, an Army veteran who has spent several years teaching life skills at Venture Forthe Personalized Home Care Services in Niagara Falls and the Gersh Experience in North Tonawanda, where he was director of life and social skills, ended his military career in 2002. Since then, he's remained an active supporter of military and veterans.
"It's a privilege to be able to serve those who've given to our community, who served their nation honorably and deserve to know that we haven't forgotten them," Butler said. "I look forward to meeting with our vets and veteran groups in the coming weeks and months to ensure they're receiving the benefits they've earned, and that this county gives them the thanks they deserve."
Jastrzemski said he is eager to get Butler to work, noting that bolstering the county's veterans services had been one of the top goals he had set when he announced he would seek the county clerk post.
"Our veterans deserve to be treated well, and treated as a priority," Jastrzemski said. "With the changing face of our military, we need to adapt our veterans agency to meet the needs of a new group of veterans who are different in some ways from those who came before them, but the same in one important regard: They made a promise to us, and kept it. Now, we're keeping ours."
Jastrzemski noted Butler's hiring is part of efforts by Veterans Services Director Nina Cabrera to make the agency more accessible and to meet demand for services brought on by ongoing U.S. military missions.
"We know our veterans - those who served our nation in the past, in Vietnam and Korea, in the Cold War, as well as those serving in the post-9/11 military - need to know someone is on their side when they try to access services, whether it's the Veterans Administration or the military branches themselves. Christopher routinely interfaced with the VA in his previous jobs, and will put that experience to work for Niagara County's veterans," Cabrera said.
Butler will work out of the Veterans Service Agency offices at 111 Main St., Lockport, where counseling is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Veterans interested in utilizing counseling services may do so by calling 716-438-4090.