KANE’S CORNER ~ Jeffrey Hollett, Haverhill Veteran Services Officer

By Kane – July, 2022

Kane went on a field trip to interview Haverhill Veteran Service Officer Jeffrey Hollett at his office in Haverhill, MA. Jeffrey has dedicated his professional life to helping Veterans navigate civilian life after serving our country with honor. Jeffrey, who originally served as the VSO in Dracut, stated that Haverhill has given him the unique opportunity to serve veterans and their families from a variety of age groups and military campaigns. It would not be unusual for him to assist a young adult veteran trying to find a new job, and then assist a veteran with retirement plans in the same morning. Overall, Haverhill is a community with many veterans from various backgrounds and levels of need. Hollett a veteran of the Army himself, says, ‘I love my job, but it does pull on your heart strings.’

Kane learned that many community members think the Veteran Service Officer’s job was limited to determining eligibility for burial benefits and submitting paperwork. (Chapter 115 benefits). Although assisting families with burial paperwork and costs is extremely important, the VSO wears many hats. A focal point of the position is advising, engaging, and advocating for the veterans that reside in the City of Haverhill. This is one way of thanking veterans for the sacrifices they have made.

A key component for the position is networking and collaborating with a variety of local services and Veteran organizations. Many of these agencies work collaboratively to pool resources, but a key component is knowing where to go to find them. Needs may be very great such as finding housing for a homeless veteran or determining eligibility for school.

Jeffrey Hollett has found over the years that it is hard for veterans to ask for help. Many have spent a life of service putting others and their country before their own needs. It is not uncommon for Jeff to talk to people on the phone several times before they even step foot in the building. Kane learned that common needs are meeting like-minded people, finding employment, finding housing, and relationship challenges. Meeting with another veteran allows a commonality and expected understanding that feels safe and familiar.

Another key component of the VSO position is educating the public on veteran experiences and doing outreach. Jeffrey is working collaboratively with Jamie Melendez (Lawrence VSO) to expand a program that links a young child with a veteran to have conversations and spend time together. This program would bridge the gap between generations and give veterans the opportunity to share their experiences serving others and their county.

Another exciting event is the 215th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard will be playing at the Haverhill Riverside Park on July 7th, 2022. This event has come together through the networking of several different agencies. Jeff explained to Kane that events like this give Jeff an opportunity to meet veterans and their family organically out in the community. It is not as formal as meeting in an office. It is a great way to build relationships, meet people, and educate the public on veteran needs, sacrifices, and of course celebrate all they have accomplished.

Overall, Jeffrey Hollett has hit the ground running as the VSO in Haverhill, MA. Kane could see why people enjoy meeting with Jeffrey. He is both approachable and knowledgeable in his field. Kane felt so comfortable he took a quick cat nap during the visit. If you would like to reach out to Jeffrey Hollett, this is his contact information:

Jeffrey Hollett
978-374-2351 ext 3933
Happy 4th of July to all!
Kane Peaslee, Woof ◊