Veterans’ assistant position filled

A five-person hiring board chose Scott Buck as the new contact for veterans needing help in Clallam County.

Buck, 57, was the standout applicant from the 17 that applied. Only 10 were interviewed, however, because seven were not veterans, something county veterans were looking for in an assistant.

“He was very much the right candidate for the job,” said Bill Minor, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1024. “His qualifications are impeccable for the position and he has a very mature, approachable demeanor that I think will serve him well with both older and younger veterans.”

Buck spent 25 years with the Navy as an enlisted officer and in the reserves. He served as a sonar technician on a destroyer off the Vietnamese coast in the early 1970s and later went on to work for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a federal organization helping reservists and National Guard members retain work when they return from active duty.

Buck brings a wealth of experience to the assistant position, both from his 17 years with the employer support group and from four years with the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission in Illinois, which he chaired.

“As he is proctored into his new position at the courthouse, I’m sure he will catch on quickly with his experience in veterans’ aid in Illinois,” Minor said.

Minor was one of the five who made the decision to hire Buck. The other four were Marjorie Upham, county personnel director, Mike McEvoy, with WorkSource, Tammy Davidson, county veterans coordinator, and County Commissioner Mike Doherty.

As for Buck, he is excited to get to work. His first day of orientation was May 19, after which he began manning his post in the county commissioners’ office, ready to help veterans in need. After about a month, possibly by the end of June, Buck will move his office to the county Veterans Center, 261 S. Francis St.

“I’ve sat down with both Tammy (Davidson) at the county and Dick Stumbaugh and we’ve discussed the position and that the vets wanted the responsibility to go to another vet,” Buck said. “So I’m here and ready to take on the challenge.”

Buck said he knows the history of the position, both former assistant Stumbaugh’s tireless work and his efforts to expand the number of hours the assistant would be available by coupling the position with offender re-entry responsibilities with Serenity House. Some local veterans disliked having the veterans’ assistant and released prisoners’ programs connected, so the plan was dropped and the decision made to hire Buck for 16 hours a week.

Buck said he will keep close ties with Serenity House and will use the organization as a referral point for veterans. Kathy Wahto, executive director of Serenity House, said the agency provides about $300,000 in services to indigent veterans annually in addition to coordinating the offender re-entry program.

The veterans’ assistant position mainly deals with administering Clallam County’s Veterans Relief Fund dollars, which are provided through taxes on timber and sales. The assistant reviews applications for distribution of funds, refers veterans in need to appropriate channels as well as doing other administrative work.

Buck moved to his home between Sequim and Port Angeles in 2001 with his wife, Mary. Together they own and operate Eagle’s Flight Bed, Breakfast and Barn. The Bucks also are members of the Peninsula Water Sports Association.

“I grew up in Illinois and I went to school at the University of Washington,” Buck said. “I’ve always known I would come back to the area so when we were able, my wife and I came to the peninsula to pursue new hopes and dreams.”

Veterans seeking aid through veterans’ assistant Scott Buck can find him at the Clallam County Commissioners Office, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The phone number is 417-2233.
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