‘Here to serve’: Former Air Force security guard gives back to other Siouxland vets

Veterans Voices

DECATUR, Neb. (KCAU) — For one Decatur, Nebraska veteran, the saying “here to serve” is one she takes seriously. That’s true, even years after her time in the military.

When Penny Warren accepted a job at the Burt County Veterans Office, she didn’t quite know what to expect. Years later, Warren said what she does couldn’t be more rewarding.

For the first woman veterans service officer in Burt County, “Here to Serve” is a motto to live buy.

“When I get a favorable adjudication, you can’t tell me nothing. I’m sitting on the world,” said Warren.

For the past eight and a half years, Warren has helped hundreds of veterans injured in combat.

“They bring me the medical evidence, and then I put in for a service-connected disability,” said Warren.

Warren said serving those who served us is personal. Warren served as an Air Force security guard during the Gulf War.

“We had to rucksack our 20-mile march to get out of Air Base Ground Defense,” said Warren.

Warren said her experience helps her form deep connections with those she serves.

“We compare the stories,” Warren said.

One encounter with a Vietnam War veteran and his wife is one Warren said she will never forget.

“He was telling me about going on patrol, and they were out in the bush, and so on and so forth, and his wife looked at him and she says, ‘You’ve never told me this.’ And he says, ‘That’s ‘cuz you didn’t wear the same boots as I did. You didn’t wear the uniform. She did,” said Warren.

Warren said that connection could make all the difference when it comes to receiving compensation.

“I get ’em talking, and maybe they don’t think they’re eligible, and then I’m like ‘Well, this happened in the service, and you’re still suffering with the injury.'” Ultimately, that’s my goal, to help eligible veterans,” Warren said.

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