MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission is the first out of 88 Veterans Service Commission offices in Ohio to offer veterans legal services.

“The actual services that are provided are things like estate planning, administrative help, housing defense such as evictions or foreclosures,” said Steven Strain, Montgomery County veterans legal council worker. “That’s the direct representation, but everyone is entitled to come in for a consultation at a very minimum. If we don’t provide the actual services to them, then the job is to find the right attorney and resources to help them out.”

The program was created in March of 2021 and helps an average of four veterans a day, five days a week. “This is really the first one and it’s only been going a little over six months. The uptick once the word got out, we went from I think maybe ten people coming in a month to I think 50.”

With such a new program, Strain says figuring things out as you go makes the job even more fun and fulfilling. “Sorta like building an airplane while it’s taking off on the runway. Everything’s been really great. The need is there in the community obviously. Because we’re the only county who offers it, we’ve been able to assist veterans outside Montgomery County as well,” said Strain.

In the last six months, Strain estimates that nearly $50,000 dollars has been saved for area veterans in legal fees and he hopes more sign up. “Any veteran in Montgomery County and the surrounding area can make an appointment for a consultation. We also make that available to veterans’ dependents, spouses, children, things like that.”

Strain said he wants every veteran to know they are deserving of these services. “This is not a hand out, this is something we’re able to give back to the community based on the service they’ve given us,” said Strain.