Serving in the US Navy from 1986 to 1993, Steve Botello found a higher calling once he finished his military service. A disabled veteran himself, you might say that it motivated him to assist fellow veterans in accessing the benefits under the Veterans Administration. “I love to help people,” says Steve, “and so many veterans are not aware of the services they are entitled to due to their time in the military.”
Steve volunteers as a Veteran Service Officer for the American Legion Department of Virginia and as the Commander of the Disabled Veterans’ Chapter. This involves helping veterans complete paperwork accurately and helping them understand the big picture of their disability and what is available to them.
Steve doesn’t just help them with their initial application, but also assists with follow-up services and appeals. He has scores of veterans at any one time and works with them for years while they go through the lengthy process. “I’m currently booked out for 3 months,” says Steve. “That’s how much of a demand there is.”
Additionally, Steve sees a need to provide even more personal service for his fellow veterans. He offers to drive them to medical appointments at the VA hospitals which are several hours away. While there, he advocates on their behalf to ensure that they receive proper, timely treatment. This is often a full day’s activity for him. Steve also offers further aid by helping veterans access emergency funds for car repairs or rent payments. He will even personally drive them to job interviews, auto mechanics, etc.
Steve’s work regularly has him tirelessly putting in 50-70 hours a week. He understands, however, the sense of urgency for each veteran and their current situation. Steve says, “I help veterans during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives while also helping their families cope.”
Branch Manager Steve Myers from the ALCOVA Branch in Oakton, VA was honored to meet Steve and present him with his Hometown Hero award.
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