April 17, 2024

County looking for new VA director

Provost

Union County Veterans Affair department is looking for a new leader as director Kevin Provost is retiring in the spring.

Provost has had the position for seven years, after he retired from the Iowa State Patrol. Part of his time working in Union County included assisting the Adams County VA office until it could find a director.

Veterans Affairs assists veterans with a variety of services including medical care, compensation, pension, the Iowa Veterans Home, records, grave markers and other benefits.

During his term, President Biden approved new legislation where certain cancers and ailments presumed to be connected to burn pits that were used to dispose of trash and potentially toxic materials. For veterans who served during the Vietnam War, hypertension and other conditions were added to the list of problems presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange, which was used by the U.S. military to clear vegetation.

About 111,000 veterans who are believed to have toxic exposure have enrolled in VA health care since the law was enacted. In addition, more than 4.1 million veterans have completed toxic screenings, which are questionnaires to analyze their potential exposure and determine whether additional tests are required.

Implementing the legislation has proved challenging for the VA despite hiring new staff to accommodate a historic influx of claims.

Provost said military experience does help the person with the county position.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” he said. He knows of other Iowa counties with administrators who do not have military experience.

“And they do a fine job.”

Provost is planning leaving either late April or early May. He is willing to train his replacement until then. The person will attend various training courses and beign certification work. The county’s veterans affair board has begun accepting applications and will schedule interviews.

Associated Press contributed to this story

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.