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Friday - March 9, 2018 3:39 am

Veterans explore benefits at Bonanza in La Crosse

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Veterans of all ages were downtown Thursday in La Crosse, finding out about benefits to which they're entitled.

Rick Coffin, mentor coordinator for the La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor program, said vets are there for many reasons. Some just to make connections.

He added that while there's "a wealth of help available" sometimes veterans can get overwhelmed by the process and looking at all of the options. A program like his helps those just learning the ropes get a better grasp on things.

Coffin also pointed out how veterans are diagnosed now versus the past.

"The biggest thing we see now with the young veterans is a lot of mental health issues that have come out of afghanistan and Iraq," Coffin said. "They came out of Vietnam and out of Korea but they called it something else. They called it shellshock or battle fatigue."

A steady stream of vets made it to the Radisson, hundreds by estimate, to find out about housing, disability, education benefits, among the things.

It's the third year of the La Crosse Veterans Benefits Bonanza. Coffin said it can also be kind of a big brother program.

"All of our mentors are veterans so they can talk to the vets in terms that they'll understand," he said.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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