Harris welcomes veterans back to office



Dubois County veterans now have a new veterans officer to assist them.

Amber Harris has been making the rounds to introduce herself. She has been visiting the different veterans organizations in the county and getting to know local military men and women.

“I want veterans to know that I’m here and the office is open,” she said.

Harris is a veteran herself. She served in the U.S. Air Force from 2014 to 2019, including spending four months in the Middle East.

“When I got out of the Air Force, I knew I wanted to help fellow veterans,” she said. “So, I was looking at, you know, this type of job, or maybe as a veteran career counselor, or even volunteering at the VA. When this job became available, I decided to apply for it. And here I am.”

Harris took over the position last month, replacing Bob Johnson.

She is hoping to reach all veterans, old and young. Harris wants to help them take advantage of the benefits that come with being a veteran, “mainly because they've earned these benefits,” she said. “I want them to know that these benefits are made available to them.”

And there are many available. A few are: disability benefits, the GI Bill that veterans can use for their education, special Purple Heart and disabled veteran license plates, and property tax deductions for those who are disabled due to their service. There is also financial help for veterans who must use assisted living, like nursing homes.

Harris can help them get those benefits and more. “I can help with a bunch of things,” she said.

Veterans are slowly learning that Harris is available.

“They come in and ask about different benefits. But they'll also come in and just sit down to introduce themselves,” she said. “They want hear a little bit about me, my background.”

Harris lives in Gentryville with her dog, Mary, a corgi-jack-russell mix.

Harris helps run the food pantry at Community Outreach Ministries, a nonprofit organization in Tennyson. In her spare time, she loves to hike with Mary and to cook.

Harris also loves writing letters to family and friends. “I feel like it's a lost art," she said. "But I like to keep it alive."

The county veterans service office had been closed for a while due to the coronavirus. But now it’s open again. “I want to continue getting the word out to people who may have not heard yet,” Harris said.

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday of each week. Making an appointment ahead of time is best, Harris explained.

“I love walk-ins. They're usually some of my favorite meetings with individuals,” she said. “But due to COVID, “I don't want to have people up on top of each other in the waiting room. So, I do prefer appointments.”

To make an appointment or for more information, call Harris at the Dubois County Veterans Service Office, 812-481-7090.

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