EAST TAWAS — Area veterans will have a chance to make connections, get information and learn about potential benefits and services that are offered to them during the first ever Veterans Benefit Fair.

The event will be held Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rushman Hall (the former Knights of Columbus Hall) located at 821 Newman St. in East Tawas, according to Iosco Veterans Affairs Officer Ronald Whitney.

He said the event is not only open to Iosco County veterans, but all veterans and those who may be interested in learning about veterans’ benefits to pass on to friends or family who have served in the military.

Whitney said the event is being put on in conjunction with the Northern Michigan Veterans Coalition.

“The main reason we’re doing this is we’re trying to reach out to all the veterans, not just Iosco county, but veterans from northern Michigan,” he said. “And it’s a free service to all the veterans and their families. Veterans from all wars, active duty, or National Guard service members.”

Whitney said attendees can learn about benefits that they earn while they are in uniform, get help filling out forms, and take advantage of accredited veterans services.

He said that veterans who do attend and need help should be their DD214 form to the event, along with identification.

“We just want to see if we can get as many participants as possible, so they know what benefits are available to them,” he said, adding that there has also been a huge response from organizations that are coming to East Tawas to take part in the fair.

“I was surprised at the number that we have, and actually we had to put some on a wait list in case someone backed out, we had an overwhelming amount of people that volunteered to come to this and provide services,” he said.

Vendors planning to attend the event include, among other groups: Alcona County Veteran Service Officer, Alpena Community College, American Legion Post #211 East Tawas, American Legion Veteran Service Officer, Buddy to Buddy Program, Camp Grayling Family Service Center, DAV Veteran Service Officer, US Department of Health and Human Services, Fish Inc of Oscoda, Heartland Hospice Services, Hope Shores Alliance, I support the 1% - Food Pantry for Veterans, Iosco County Commission on Aging, Iosco County Veteran Service Officer, Lakeview Manor Healthcare Center,  Lincoln Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation, Medilodge, MI Talent Invest Agency - Veteran Career Advisor, Mid-Michigan Medical Center, Military One Source, NEMSCA- Foster Grandparent and Senior, Companion Programs, NEMSCA- Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, Northern MI Veterans Coalition, , as well as many other Veterans Administration services.

Whitney said he hopes to make the event a yearly one. He said anyone with  questions can contact him by calling 362-6571. More information about the event can be found by visiting www.IoscoCountyvbf2019.eventbrite.com.