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June 2012 Community Caregiver - Ed Burfard

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake

The Voice of Seminole County Veterans - Ed Burfard

When was the last time you spoke to a veteran about the difficulties they faced when returning home? My answer to that question would be 2009. And now that I think about it I’ve only ever spoken to one veteran about the subject. For some reason, it’s just not a conversation that gets brought up on a daily occasion. I’ve always wondered what the transition would be like though. To put yourself in a Veteran’s shoes, you’ll have to think what it must be like to have trained most of your life for a particular task, only to have your training no longer needed on the same level. You’ve got to think about what your new career will be now that you’re home, adjust to the everyday things that we civilians take for granted (Don’t worry about traffic though, Veterans. None of us have ever been able to adjust to the grueling I-4 debacle each morning and afternoon.) and figure out how to pay the bills until you get settled in. It gets even more challenging if you’re a wounded veteran. As a wounded Veteran, you may not be able to work long hours, or at all.

But there is help... and for Seminole County Veterans it comes from a man named Ed Burfard. Ed is Retired Military and holds a Seminole County position labeled, The Veteran’s Services Officer. He works with Seminole County Veterans by helping them take advantage of their VA benefits and he is extremely busy. Seminole County is ranked as the second largest VA group in the Nation with 38,414 Veterans making their homes here. “By the time the new hospital is built, we’ll need to start working on the next one!” he jokingly stated when talking about his duty to returning Veterans. All of these returning Veterans will need help with the transition back to civilian life. “There are injury benefits” he states.

“Ranging from the low end of a couple hundred bucks per month to being fully taken care of at 100% disabled. The VA also wants EVERY Veteran to sign up for Healthcare.” And don’t forget about G.I. Bills to help pay for school, Home Loans, Life Insurance, Stress & Mental Health Counseling... and the paperwork to go with it all. Because of the Veteran Services Office’s helping hand, over $144 Million in tax-free benefits have been brought in to Seminole County, with all of these funds being earmarked for veterans and/or their families in Seminole County. Anyone that can work tirelessly to help our unspoken heroes transition back into the lives that they’ve put on the line so that we may continue to live free is all right in our book. What’s even better is that Ed and I both believe that all of the Active Military and Veterans of the United States of America are as much deserving of the Community Caregiver award as he is. That is why, In honor of the United States Military during this 4th of July, 2012, Ed has chosen to donate his cash prize to the Seminole County Area Veterans Advisory Council. A $50 donation will be made in his name. When asked if there was anything else I should know, immediate gratitude shined through this Veterans bold and proud statement:

“If you know a Veteran, shake their hand and thank them for their service. If you are a Veteran, we as individuals owe you a debt of gratitude. And if you know the family of a fallen Vet, thank them for their sacrifice and tell them you will not forget.”