Nichole Coleman, director of the Hancock County Veterans Service Office and president of the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, attended the Memorial Day breakfast at the White House.
Coleman is pictured above with Major General (retired) Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Matt Quinn, and Under Secretary for Health at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Shereef Elnahal, MD.
After graduating from Findlay High School in 1990, Coleman served in the U.S. Air Force from 1991 to 1998 and was in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.
After experiencing military trauma, she retrained into public affairs, and moved to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois where she was the sports editor for the base newspaper, helped coordinate the annual airshow and provided tours of the base.
While with the Air Mobility Command, she deployed to the Joint Information Bureau in support of efforts in Bosnia for Operation Joint Endeavor. Her final assignment was with the 89th Airlift Wing, the home of Air Force One, where she was the editor of the base newspaper.
Coleman was hired as a county veterans service officer and the director of the Hancock County Veterans Service Office in 2011. Under her leadership, the office has served more than eight times the number of veterans annually, and the amount of VA benefits received by county veterans and family members has increased by more than $16.8 million. Additionally, five innovative veteran resiliency programs were created to provide mental health support, recovery tools, and better quality of life.
Coleman says her hope and goal is to use her lived experience with mental illness combined with research, community partners and education to raise awareness and improve lives. She believes in the power of recovery when a community supports individuals with mental illness by equipping and empowering them with the tools and hope they need to thrive. Identifying barriers to seeking treatment and then building bridges with collaborative partnerships has been her key to success. Coleman’s desire is to add value to people by meeting them where they are, creating genuine connections with them, and then resourcing them to live their best life.
Veterans and family members can contact the Hancock County Veterans Service Office to learn more about their benefits at 419-424-7036 or visit them online at hancockveterans.com.