Mahaska County Appoints Navy Vet for Director of Veterans Affairs

Curt Grandia (photo by Haley Brown)

By Hailey Brown

(Oskaloosa, Iowa) – There are almost 1,500 veterans in Mahaska County. Nearly 500 of those veterans have secured benefits through the Mahaska County Veterans Affairs, according to the most recent VA report from 2014. Benefits received each year total more than $9 million, including about $5 million in compensation and pensions and nearly $4 million in health care. The process for securing these benefits can be difficult and intimidating, but Curt Grandia, recently appointed as the Mahaska County Director of Veterans Affairs, says it doesn’t have to be.
“Because the Department of Veterans Affairs has so many programs with so many rules of eligibility, the process for obtaining benefits can be a bit intimidating. It’s my job to try to make that process go smoothly,” he said.

In addition to helping veterans access their benefits, one function of Grandia’s new position is to coordinate transportation for healthcare when a veteran has no means of travel.
“The only reason that program works is that we have some great volunteer drivers who are very generous with their time,” Grandia explained.

Grandia comes into his new position as a U.S. Navy veteran, having served as a journalist and photojournalist from 1984–1990. An Oskaloosa native, he graduated from Oskaloosa Senior High School in 1979 and went on to get his Bachelor’s from Arizona State University and the University of Iowa in 1983. He now has three children, ages 17, 24, and 30 and is an active member of the Oskaloosa American Legion Post #34 and Oskaloosa VFW Post #2237. Service is something he has dedicated himself to over the years, and he expects that same excellence in his newest position as Director of Veterans Affairs.

“The [Mahaska County Board of] Supervisors and the [Mahaska County] Veterans Affairs Commission are committed to Mahaska County veterans and it’s an honor and a privilege for me to work with our veterans and help them understand and access the benefits they have earned by virtue of their service,” he said. Grandia believes that his time in the service has helped him to connect with veterans on a deeper level through a sense of understanding and respect.

Military service is a family affair for the Grandia family. His father, Lee, was a lifelong resident of Mahaska County and a Korean War U.S. Army veteran (straight-legged infantry 1950-52) and his brother Clay retired from the U.S. Navy in 2012 after an astonishing 26 years of service.

Grandia will spend a lot of time in-office helping veterans find out about their eligibility but he says he’ll also be out in the field a lot, visiting care centers and nursing homes and doing other things that require him to be away from his desk. In an effort to help as many veterans as possible navigate their benefits, Grandia urges those who wish to inquire for more information to call ahead so he can be sure to be there.

“We can’t always help every person, but I hope they still come in and even if they find out they aren’t eligible, that they’re satisfied and feel as if someone really listened and paid attention to them and I hope they know that I did whatever I could to help them,” he said. “Just call. Call any time. If you think you remotely might be eligible for a program. It never hurts to check.”

Grandia officially started his new position on Monday, June 5, the same day he was approved by the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors. The Mahaska County Veterans Affairs office is located at the bottom level of the Mahaska County Courthouse in Oskaloosa. To learn more about obtaining benefits or to ask a question, call 641-673-7727 or email veteran@mahaskacounty.org.

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Posted by on Jun 17 2017. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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