Bomberger set to retire, second time around

Custer County Veterans Service Officer Linda Bomberger formally announced Tuesday at the Custer County Board of Supervisors that she is fixing to retire - for a second time - from a job she loves. Her first career was the Navy, her second career has been focused on those who served. Bomberger was one of those who served. She spent 20 years in her first career retiring in 1995 as Master Chief Yeoman. She is retiring, effective June 21, from her job as a county official. It’s time, she says, to spend some quality time with her husband Gary. Their plan is to hit the open road, and travel. Her victories in the Veterans Office, have been significant. When she took over 12 years ago, an estimated $1 million was coming into the county in claims each year. This past year the moneys coming in surpassed $7 million. “I had a veteran who was paying $1,200 each month for a shot for prostrate cancer. We were able to get him into the VA Medical facility to receive that same shot for $8.” Bomberger said one of the big issues is hearing loss because they didn’t use hearing protection back then. She once refiled a five year old claim for a veteran who had suffered hearing loss (the claim had been started in another county and then lost) and the veteran was awarded $100,000 in back compensation. This was one of the many success stories she gets to carry with her. There are those who don’t realize they qualify. “Anyone who has served ... active duty, National guard, Reservists ... a lot of women don’t realize they are vets or assume they aren’t eligible because they didn’t see combat. “The worst that can happen is for the application to be turned down ... but it definitely will be a no if they don’t apply.” She emphasized that is not her job to make the decisions, it is her job to get the paperwork to the people who do. Examples of the types of assistance available include emergency help, medical challenges, widows pensions and burial assistance including headstones. She says what she will miss the most are the hugs. “Marian Fedderson (VA administrative assistant) and I are an exceptional team. She’ll be a great asset to whomever comes in here,” she said. According to state regulations, County Veterans Service Officers must have served on active duty in the armed forces, honorably discharged and have been a resident of Nebraska for at least five years immediately prior to assuming the position. Applications are being accepted at the Veteran Services Office until the close of the business day March 1. “It’s been a wonderful job, I’ve met so many people,” said Bomberger, fighting the tears sneaking up in her eyes, “I love what I do. I’ve been very blessed to make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.” Bomberger said she spent 20 years in the Navy traveling, also doing something she loves, and now ... she isn’t really leaving something, she’s moving on to something else, she and her husband plan to travel, once again.