PRESS RELEASE - State Veterans Services Officer Joins Kittitas County

Press Release
Public Health


State Veterans Services Officer Joins Kittitas County

Kittitas County, WA - 04/30/2024 - The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) is adding a State Veterans Service Officer in Kittitas County. The new State VSO joins the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) local VSO Timothy Paxton. Both VSO positions are available to assist veterans along with their dependents and survivors. The office is open Monday through Friday at the Morris Sorenson building located at 507 N Nanum Street in Ellensburg, Washington.

Eddie Vader's hiring, along with three additional Veteran Service Officer positions in other locations, comes as a result of the State Legislature's allocation of funding to support the state's ongoing efforts in connecting Veterans and their families to the newly available benefits under the Federal PACT Act.  This legislation, which expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances, aims to ensure that generations of Veterans and their survivors receive the care and benefits they have rightfully earned.

Kittitas County Map

“Washington has a significant veteran population, with thousands of individuals who have served in the armed forces. Veteran Service Officers provide the expert knowledge needed to navigate the process of filing a claim for disability compensation, pension, or making connections to other earned benefits like education and healthcare,” said David Puente, WDVA Director.
“We are grateful for the support from our State Legislature to expand funding for Service Officers which demonstrates our state’s commitment to providing comprehensive support to our nation's veterans. By ensuring that veterans have access to the care and assistance they need, we are honoring their sacrifices and helping them thrive in their post-military lives.”
Eddie Vader will serve in the role of State VSO.  Mr. Vader is originally from Goldendale, Washington. He retired from the Army after 20 years of service in 2017 and has lived in Ellensburg ever since his retirement.  “I look forward to being the connection point between local veterans and healthcare, disability benefits, and other deserved resources for veterans of all eras.  We are here to support them, in uniform and out.”
Both the VSO positions can assist with emergency funds for qualifying veterans, coordinating resources, and information about veteran benefits like financial support, employment, healthcare, and more.  Additionally, the VSO can assist with vouchers. Vouchers are for low-income Veterans for food and fuel.  Vouchers for low-income single individuals are $2,000 for the year or $2,250 for a married individual. Voucher assistance is available Monday to Friday from 10 am to 3pm. The voucher assistance program is first come, first served with a limited number of vouchers available per month. Documentation of financial need and military service through form DD214 are both required.
Vader is eager to assist Veterans in accessing all the benefits they have earned, including healthcare, disability compensation or pension, and other local resources. Together, WDVA, Kittitas County Public Health, and Vader aim to create a supportive community that stands behind Veterans of all eras, both in uniform and out.
“We are fortunate to have access to a local and state VSO,” states Mr. Paxton.  “An increase in service officers means more assistance for Kittitas County, but with the state level position Mr. Vader can travel and assist other counties in need as well.”  PACT Act legislation is providing additional funding for this position.
If you are a Veteran or family member with questions about your earned benefits, we encourage you to reach out to a Veteran Service Officer and get connected with benefits and services that could change your life.  Please either call 509-933-8325, or email, or visit KCPHD’s front desk.  Anyone interested in working with the VSO will need to provide discharge paperwork to verify military service.  Veterans and families can also email, call 1-800-562-2308, or visit

Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at


Contact: Kasey Knutson, Kittitas County Public Information Officer, 509-962-7515
Heidi Audette, WDVA Communications Director, 360-791-8966