Veteran Service Officer Steven Wells, an employee of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Kane County, is the recipient of the inaugural Steve Barrett Veteran Service Officer of the Year Award, presented by the Illinois Association of County Veterans Assistance Commissions.
“On behalf of Kane County, we would like to thank Mr. Wells for his outstanding service since 2007 to the more than 20,000 Kane County veterans and their families,” said Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog. “This inaugural state award serves as evidence of the high standards he sets for himself, and thereby for all other Veterans Assistance Commissions throughout the state of Illinois.”
Wells was nominated for the inaugural state award based on his record of success in serving veterans in comparison to his peers statewide and nationally.
Among his achievements include the following:
- He is one of three Certified Veteran Advocates in the state of Illinois.
- His current claims portfolio is averaging 13 days faster for a decision than the average claimant in the state of Illinois.
- His claimant’s received higher average monthly benefits compared to the average claimant nationally ($310 per month higher for survivor pension benefits and $551 per month higher pension
- He has continually researched and implemented best practices to make pension and survivor benefits
applications more efficient and effective.
Wells said he is “humbled and grateful” to have received this statewide honor, but was quick to point out that the award was a team effort.
“This is in no way an individual award but a team award that includes the Veteran Service Officers I work with on a daily basis including Jesus Arteaga and Nate Johnson, the Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission Jake Zimmerman, the delegates of the Veterans Assistance Commission and the Kane County Board, to include various departments within,” Wells said.
“This award is a reflection of what occurs when you put a great team together, and provide them with the resources and continued training to effectively serve.”
Zimmerman said he is proud to have someone like Wells on his team who is setting an example for others in the state of Illinois to emulate.
“We are so proud of Steve and all of the hard work he does on behalf of the 20,422 veterans who call Kane County home,” he said.
“This award exemplifies the passion and attention to detail that our staff employs every single day in maximizing the benefits for veterans and their survivors.”
SOURCE: Kane County government news release