OSCEOLA COUNTY — County officials hope a new grant program will provide funding for local veteran services.

According to information provided by the Michigan House of Representatives, the $2.1 million grant program proposed by state Rep. Jason Wentworth, of Clare, encouraging Michigan counties to establish and maintain veteran service offices, was signed into law Monday, June 25, by the governor.

Under the new law, each county with a veteran service office meeting pre-approved requirements will receive $25,000. To continue receiving the grant, the established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year's funding level.

"This funding focuses on access to services for our military heroes and raises the bar for veteran services nationally," Wentworth said.

Susan Vander Pol, county coordinator for Osceola County, said she is hopeful after applying and looking into receiving the grant the county will be able to receive the funding.

"No man or woman who has served our country selflessly should have less than adequate resources for finding help navigating through the (Veterans Affairs) benefits system. It should not matter where they live," Wentworth said.

"Veterans and their families deserve easy, local access to strong care by accredited county Veteran Service Officers who can help assist in filing for benefits," he added.