Kosciusko County Commissioners on Tuesday approved Darryl McDowell as the new Veterans Duty Officer for the county. He takes office on Tuesday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

A fourth generation army veteran who wants to give back is the new Kosciusko County Veterans Duty Officer.

County commissioners unanimously approved Darryl McDowell for the job at their Tuesday meeting. He takes office on October 5, succeeding Rich Maron, who resigned on September 23 after about 13 years as a duty officer and has moved to Florida.

Introducing McDowell, Southern District Commissioner Bob Conley said they’ve been interviewing for the job and “if you were to make a list of 50 things you’d want an employee to have, this guy has 51. “.

After the board meeting, McDowell, 61, said he decided to apply for the job because, “It’s about giving back. It is about continuing to provide the opportunity to serve the people who have contributed to my success and to others by honoring them by offering them the benefits they have earned, but don’t know how to ask, for them. help them get what they are entitled to.

McDowell said both of his parents were in the service.

He was himself a combat engineer, having served in a combination of enlisted and officer for 30 years. From 1983 to 1985, he was drafted, then served as an officer from 1988 until his retirement in November 2015.

As for his career before Tuesday, McDowell said, “Well, that’s an interesting piece. The gist of it all, the upbringing I got, didn’t know it was a youngster, my dad was medically retired from the military, and so the struggles he had to try getting his benefits and being 100% disabled – which is clear on a lot of things – he still had challenges. And then, as I moved forward and retired, I’m still taking on some of those same little challenges. So when you look at it from a holistic perspective, if there’s anything I can do to close the loop and shorten the time it takes to process this paperwork – which means you have to have a good organization, you have to have the papers, you have to have the correct facts – if there is anything I can do to shorten that, it takes a lot of stress from the veteran and that is what I want to accomplish.

McDowell didn’t grow up in the Kosciusko County area. His wife, Kathy, has parents here.

“When we went into this active duty trip, there was a clause in there, if you can, it chooses where we retire. So she chose to be here to retire. It is not for me to look for a job. I’ll find one where I am needed. And, again, this is the only kind of thing I was looking for, namely VA, emergency management area. I am blessed to be able to do this. I am happy to be able to have the opportunity.

He holds an associate’s degree in surveying technology and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology. He is preparing his master’s degree in project and operational management.

He has two children. Her daughter has moved to another state and her son has been working in Georgia for some time.

McDowell said he plans to continue the Veteran of the Month recognitions at Commissioners Meetings as it is a good opportunity to “recognize the people of our county.” He will need to be trained for the duty officer position for three to four weeks by Veterans Affairs before he can take the “solo” position.

“I am just happy to have the opportunity to serve and then I will grow as I face each situation, trying to find the best way to get the benefits they are looking for, provided that we have all the facts, and we can work together to take some of the anxiety and stress out of going in alone to try and get some benefit, ”he said.