Dear Editor,

I can't believe our Director of Benton Co. Veterans Affairs only needs 20 hrs, a week to take care of our Blenton Co. Veterans. This is a giant step backward. Not long ago our Director was in the

basement of the courthouse in a small office the size of a closet. The Veterans of this county deserve better. If she does not want to work 40 hours, resign and replace with someone who will put forth the effort. She can do some of the jobs volunteers do, (drive veterans to Iowa City and other medical appointments) We need a Director who is pro-active and not sit around waiting for someone to walk in the door. How many Veteran meetings has she attended??

I call on this person to resign and be replaced with a dedicated full-time Director. The commission who approved this should also resign. They need to provide guidance. Helping Veterans in need, helping Veterans recognize their benefits available to them and file the necessary paperwork to receive the same. If she only wants to work 20hr a week, I hear Mcdonald's is looking for employees.

Roger Uthoff US Navy veteran. Roger Uthoff


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JM June 18, 2023, 7:16 pm Message for the Benton County Veteran Affairs Director,

Thank you for the services you continue to provide to for our Veterans and their families.

Sergeant First Class, Retired, 20 years U.S. Army

P.s. most salty sailors do it with a shot of tequila and a slice of lemon
JO June 18, 2023, 7:40 pm Mrs Martin is an extremely talented, and dedicated veteran service officer. She has assisted many veterans, to include other CVSOs throughout the state, in reference to complicated cases. She is an asset to the veterans, and the community, regardless of how many hours she works. Although I understand the frustration that some may have with a situation, there was no need for such unprofessional remarks by Mr. Uthoff. I’d want Cara working on veteran claims any day, all day. She’s amazing at what she does.
CM June 18, 2023, 7:54 pm
Good Day Roger,
I apologize that you feel this way but I will not be resigning my position.

When I started as the Benton County VA Director in May of 2021, we had 384 county Veterans receiving federal VA benefits, in the form of either disability compensation or live pension. The combined monthly revenue for those Veterans was $509,972.00. To date, we have 405 county Veterans receiving federal benefits and the combined monthly income is now $656,842.00, which represents both an increase in Veterans qualified for such, as well as the countless number of cases I have worked to increase the compensation amount for Veterans already receiving those benefits.

In my first year I worked hard to update software and systems in the office, became cross-accredited with numerous National Service Organizations and got my PIV card with VA access so I had the ability to live track all VA claims filed. Through hard work and determination I had 10 Veterans receive a 100% permanent and total disability rating. I am closing out my second fiscal year which I attacked with the same tenacity and am happy to report we received 14 new 100% ratings this year.

I have attended numerous service organization meetings, participated in the annual Benton County Standown events, collaborated with the VFW to provide a Veteran’s Benefits Day, set up a booth at the county fair, and started a new Veteran of the Month program. I do not feel as though our office is lacking in the outreach events.

I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished thus far and look forward to continuing to keep up the good work because that is what Benton County Veterans deserve.

I take pride in the fact that I’m able to reduce costs to the taxpayers and still put forth my best effort for every Veteran I serve. The new, revised job description reads a “minimum of 20 hours per week”, which means I will continue to work the necessary hours (between 20 and 40) to accomplish the task at hand; serving our Veterans while continuing to be fiscally responsible.

Thank you for your service to our great Nation Roger. If there is ever anything I can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to call or pay my office a visit.

Cara Martin
Benton County VA Director
DH June 18, 2023, 8:35 pm I am the VA Commission chairman.
Cara is a very conservative county employee when it comes to money. The only thing that will change is the hours she will be in the office. Therefore, she is saving the county taxpayers money. I assure you that the Veterans of Benton County will not be denied help, all they need to do is ask.
Cara is available by calling 319-472-3150 or stopping by the office between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, Monday-Friday.
Dale Henry
TB June 20, 2023, 10:55 am Most county SOs in my area receive around 12000 annually. Most take on the position because no one else will step up. Like anything else, good ones and bad ones. I typically work anywhere from 40 to 65 hours a week for free. I used to be a complainer as well. Then, I did something about it instead of bit--ing about how every veteran is getting screwed over by the va or some service officer. Maybe you can step up as well. Educate yourself, get training through your national vso, do the best you can. Complaints don't help much, sailor
TS June 20, 2023, 2:49 pm I wish we had had the good fortune of working with Cara when my stepdad was still alive. After serving 2 tours in Vietnam, we were never successful in getting him any VA assistance in any form. I wish we'd have had the assistance then(10 years ago) that she is providing for our Veterans now.
CM June 20, 2023, 4:22 pm This message is for TS-
If your mom is still alive it’s quite possible that I can still get your stepdad’s death service connected and her eligible for benefits!
Please call me so we can look into that!!
Cara Martin
SS June 20, 2023, 8:11 pm I think it's safe to say that government officials trying to save money, especially at one's own expense, are few and far between. I find it refreshing! From what I've seen, Cara seems to be doing a really great job and seems to really care. I don't think this is a step backward at all. If anything, it shows how efficient she's been.
LS June 20, 2023, 10:43 pm The Benton Co Recorder's Office has worked very closely with Benton Co. VA Director Cara since May of 2021. Our office works with many veterans. They are a very important part of my job and I know how important they are to Cara. When they need to get military exemption on their taxes or the veterans symbol on their driver's license, they have to file their DD214(Honorable Discharge) in our office first. I've had several veterans who are unable to find their DD214 and I send them to Cara for assistance. She is able to help them get it in a timely matter. I also file death certificates in my office and have had first hand experience with Cara in getting these death certificates amended so that the spouse qualifies for VA benefits. Cara presents her medical research and literature to the certifying physicians in an effort to get them amended. Obviously these are only a few of the things that Cara does, but I can clearly state she goes above & beyond for the Veterans!
Keep up the good work Cara!
Lexa S. Speidel / Benton Co. Recorder