Kenosha County Veterans Services Director Ali Nelson was recently elected president of the County Veterans Service Officers Association of Wisconsin.
Nelson was sworn into office Oct. 18, at the CVSO’s fall conference in Wisconsin Rapids. He will serve a one-year term, while continuing his duties for Kenosha County.
“It is a tremendous honor to serve our veterans in Kenosha County and to serve our statewide organization as President,” Nelson said.
A 29-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who retired in 2010 at the rank of senior regional command chief, Nelson has served as director of Kenosha County Veterans Services since 2015. Previously, he spent four years in the same role for Racine County.
As the County Veterans Services Officer, Nelson leads a team that connects veterans and their families to local, state and federal benefits, assisting with claims processing and ensuring veterans receive the services they need. ‘they won.
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“It’s the best job a person can have,” Nelson said. “You feel like you’re answering God’s call to duty, to care for people.”
Nelson has been active with the County Veterans Service Officers Association of Wisconsin since 2011, serving as region chair from 2012-2014 and then as chair of training and certification. Most recently, he rose through the ranks as 2nd and 1st Vice President in the state before his recent uncontested election as President.
Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar congratulated Nelson on the statewide recognition.
“County Veterans Service Officers and Tribal Veterans Service Officers are crucial to the work we do in administering benefits and advocating for all Wisconsin veterans and their families.” , said Kolar. “Ali has long been an effective and passionate CVSO, and I know he will be an excellent leader for this association of 72 counties and 11 tribal nations.”
Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman and Director of Social Services John Jansen agreed.
“Ali is a passionate advocate for Kenosha County veterans, and I know he brings that enthusiasm to this statewide position as well,” Kerkman said.
Said Jansen, “Ali’s leadership skills and strong knowledge of veterans services will be a great asset to the association.
Nelson said fostering the development of new County Veterans Service Officers across the state is a cause close to his heart, and it’s an important role that the statewide association has. must play.
“Mentoring new CVSOs who join the association is close to my heart, because to fully grasp the job, it takes 18 to 24 months,” Nelson said. “It’s a very big responsibility, and we want to make sure we set these people up for success when they take on the role of CVSO.”
Other pillars of Nelson’s campaign to lead the association statewide include building relationships with the state Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; the creation of an association for retired county veterans; and take steps to improve veterans’ access to health care, transportation and treatment courts.
“I think the motivation is you have to be motivated to do this job,” Nelson said. “Having worn the uniform for 29 years is a commitment to the veterans who came before us. I’m talking about World War II veterans and how we lean on their shoulders, and we have our new veterans coming back from service. We have to take care of them, because if we don’t, no one else will.
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