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Pierce County hires new veterans officer

A UW-River Falls student and veteran of Iraq is Pierce County's new veterans service officer.

David R. Till, 31, a sergeant first class in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, started work in Ellsworth Monday.

He has been working on a business/engineering degree at UW-RF and has been the university's VSO since 2006. Till said he is working with his professors to complete the classes he's enrolled in now and finish his last credits online during the summer.

Till, a member of Delta Company 1-128 based in River Falls, was deployed from June 2004 to November 2005.

He is president of the UW-RF Veterans Club and has been working part-time as the university's veterans service officer, helping other veterans obtain education benefits.

Till graduated from Hill-Murray High School in 1995, studied manufacturing engineering at UW-Stout from 1996 to 1998 and completed a primary leadership development course at Ft. McCoy in 2001.

From 2002 to 2006 Till worked as a government account manager for a software company. Before that he was a sales associate for All-American Recreation and worked as a security officer before that.

State law requires that county veterans service officers, who are elected by the county board, must be state residents who have served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces or in forces incorporated as part of the U.S. armed forces.

The duties of county veterans service officers include advising veterans regarding any benefits to which they may be entitled and helping them resolve complaints or problems.

Till's 2008 annual salary will be $49,546.

He replaces Merlin Blaisdell, who was Pierce County veterans service officer from 2003 until he took a similar position in St. Croix County early this year.