When Ancil Jones would set up a meeting with a veteran about a claim, he often found himself at an area restaurant.
“My favorite place was Cups-N-Cones,” said Jones, the adjutant for the Havelock chapter of the Disabled American Veterans.
But now, thanks to the support of area residents and businesses, the chapter has opened an office in the Westbrooke Shopping Center in Havelock.
“I walked up on this thing, and I just wanted to start crying,” Jones said. “I just felt so good. It’s nice.”
The DAV celebrated the opening of the office with a ribbon-cutting put on by the Havelock Chamber of Commerce last week.
Jones said the office is a huge step up in terms of the services the DAV provides.
“With this office, we have some privacy,” he said. “We have computer access, and everything is right here.”
The DAV chapter, recently renamed in honor of long-time former member David Williams, serves eastern Craven and Carteret counties. Jones said the main function is to provide claims assistance for veterans. He said the office can also provide some financial assistance to veterans in times of need.
Inside the office, veterans can submit and follow the progress of their claims, check on benefits and even work on job resumes.
“We’ve got computer stations in here,” Jones said. “We have computer access for veterans who may not be able to afford Internet access at home. Some of them might not know how to do it, but we can teach them in here.”
The Jackson Company donated the office space, and the office furniture and computers were all donated to the nonprofit group.
“Everything in here was donated,” said Jones, adding that the DAV members volunteer their time to operate the office as well. “It tells me there’s a cry out in the community for this office to be here. There’s a lot of support here.”
And the office is already making a difference, with more than 20 people coming in to get information during its first two weeks.
“We have walk-in traffic like you wouldn’t believe,” said A.D. Brady, chapter commander. “We have a lot of calls every day. We want to fulfill our promise to the veterans, and we’re going to do that. It’s a great resource for Havelock to have.”
The DAV office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Appointments can be made by calling 652-9166.
The DAV chapter, which started in 1976, holds meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the Havelock Senior Center.
Contributors who helped get the DAV office open include First Flight Federal Credit Union, OneMain Financial, A3 Communications, Jim Beasley, Jimmy Wooliver, Martin Bell, Noah’s Glass Shop, McDowell Floor Coverings, Rose Brothers Furniture, Time Warner Cable, Havelock Business Park, Dan Schreck, Frank Door Company, Walmart in Havelock and Morehead City, and Tandemloc.