Community Heroes: Carter County Army veteran becomes voice for fellow veterans in need

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CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) Described as “the perfect veteran” for the Carter County community, 20-year Army veteran David Batchelder has been the voice for many veterans in the county.

Coast Guard veteran, Paul Nixon said he has struggled with the Veterans Affairs office for years.

“You have to keep sending your forms in. If you get denials, you have to not let it stop you,” Nixon said. “He’s giving me the right information that I’m looking for. It’s nice to get a yes sometimes But, he is very helpful in the navigation of the VA.”

The veteran who is 100% disabled finally received the assistance he needed, thanks to a man named David Batchelder.

Batchelder is the Carter County Veterans Service Officer, committed to ensuring veterans in the county get the benefits they are eligible for.

Batchelder said, “As much as I enjoy helping the veterans, being able to help those surviving spouses, especially right after the passing of the veterans, is a very fulfilling part of the job.”

A veteran himself, batchelder understands the challenges vets face when returning home.

“There’s a lot of different health benefits, disability benefits. For veterans that are a little lower income, there’s a non-service connective pension benefit.

Batchelder followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Army in 1982.

Batchelder explained, “My father, specifically, he was in the Korean conflict. Jumped into North Korea twice during the Korean conflict with the 100 First Airborne Division. [He] retired as a Sergeant Major.”

He spent a majority of his time in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“The battalion commander that was there for the last two years before I retired from was Lieutenant Colonal Fogerty,” Batchelder recalled. “Pushed everybody to do their best. He would take us out. We would do a lot of, he called it Green Tab PT, but we would go out and do mini triathlons and do bikes, mountain bikes and then a run and go out in the ocean and do a two-man kayaking.”

He spent 20 years working in military intelligence and retired as first sergeant, in 2002.

The community hero said, “Just always do your best at everything that you do. Something my father taught me that was really instilled in me in the Army. Things like, jumping out of an airplane, it’s best if you get it right the first time.”

Twenty-four-year Air Force veteran, Gary Smith said Carter County is fortunate to have someone committed to being the voice for veterans and their families.

“Definitely someone that we’re proud of,” Smith said. “I had some issues and he was able to help me work through those and I got fantastic results. I think that’s pretty much the norm with David.”

There is no charge for service at the Carter County Veterans Service Office.

Veterans who need help obtaining federal and state benefits they have earned through military service, can contact the office and ask for David Batchelder.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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