Veterans Affairs

Our Mission

The Mission of the Oceana County Department of Veterans’ Affairs is to remember the admonition of General George Washington to the Continental Congress, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” With due regard, the Department will care for our county veterans, widows, and orphans by vigorously and contentiously pursuing all avenues of veteran’s benefits and community services that provide just compensation and or pension that provides relief of the burdens of war and service to this nation and to the people of Oceana County. We will represent the veteran, widow, or orphan before all tribunals and government agencies with professionalism, dedication, and due care inculcating a sense of security and trust on the part of the veteran.

Our Vision

All Oceana County veterans, their widows, and orphans will not suffer economic destitution, nor shall the veterans go medically unattended as a result of their or their husband’s military service. All veterans are fully represented and made whole as practicable and as possible within the means of the Department.


If you would like to make an appointment, please call the office at (231) 873-6834.

Veterans Forms

Various veterans forms are available through the Oceana County Clerk’s office including the DD214 (Report of Separation) and Veterans Burial Claim forms. Learn More

Find Oceana County Veterans Affairs on Facebook

Meetings & Events

See upcoming meetings and events.

Meeting Minutes

View our meeting minutes.


Contact Veterans Affairs


Jodi Slinkard Veteran Service Officer

Danielle Shilton Administrative Assistant

Main Phone: (231) 873-6834

Address Veterans Affairs
844 S. Griswold Street, Suite 100
Hart, MI 49420

Hours Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Contact Us

Staff & Committee Members

  • Jodi Slinkard, Verteran Service Officer


    Jodi is a life-long resident of Oceana County and graduate of Hesperia High School. She served 9 years in the Air Force as a medic including 1 deployment during the Gulf War and 4 humanitarian missions to Saudi Arabia. Since her honorable discharge, Jodi has devoted her professional life to the service of others in the medical and social work fields.

    Jodi has previously served as VSO for Newaygo County and Service Officer (SO) for the Hesperia American Legion. Jodi is a member of both the Newaygo and Hart VFW and currently serves on the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Trustees where she has been active for over 5 years.

  • Danielle "Dani" Shilton, Administrative Assistant


    Dani has recently relocated to Oceana County, having spent summers vacationing in the area while growing up. Originally from the Grand Ledge area, Dani married her high school sweetheart and spent 24 years as a military wife following her husband’s tours of duty across the country and the world. Dani’s husband Randall, a FCSC (SW) (ret.) recently separated from the Navy, and they are excited to return to Oceana County which they consider to be “home.” Serving in the Department of Veterans Affairs office is an honor to Dani who describes her new role as “giving back to a community that gave so much to me, you can separate from the military, but you can never separate from your military family.”

  • Dr. Derik Van Baale, Committee Chairperson / Personnel Chair


    Dr. Derik Van Baale is currently working as a Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. He has worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs for the past 18 years, serving mainly as a clinical therapist working with Veteran who have PTSD.  Dr. Van Baale also owns a private practice. Dr. Van Baale enlisted into the military in 1995 earning the rank of Sergeant. He went through ROTC and became a commissioned officer in 2000. Derik was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer and went on active duty.  He was deployed to Iraq during the invasion in 2003, earning the Combat Action Badge and the Bronze Star. After a 8 year break in service, Dr. Van Baale decided to enter the Michigan Army National Guard as a Behavior Health Officer. Dr. Van Baale is currently a Major and is the State Behavioral Health Officer for Michigan providing clinical and policy guidance for the State Surgeon and the Adjutant General for the State of Michigan. Dr. Van Baale earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa and has earned a Master’s of Public of Administration from Drake University and a Master’s of Social Work from Grand Valley State University. Dr. Van Baale earned his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in Public Administration. Derik is married to Sarah and they have six children. He is involved in church and his children’s sports activities.

  • Paul Dees, Committee Secretary / Vice Chairperson


    Paul served in the Marine Corps. For 20 years before retiring. Currently Paul serves as reserve Deputy with the Oceana County Sherriff’s Department. Paul and his wife Heather have 3 children and reside in Oceana County.

  • Gina Mead, Committee Community Relations Chair


    Gina was in the Navy for 6 years including a year and half in Iceland. Oceana County Native who since returning from service has immersed herself in the committee buy serving in the honor guard association, NAF board, Miss Veteran second runner up 2014. Member of Shelby American Legion where she serves various roles and is committed to veteran outreach in our county and beyond.

  • Tracy Blamer, Committee Finance / Policy and Procedures Chair


    Tracy Blamer is a boomerang resident of Oceana County who joined the armed forces directly after graduating from Hesperia High School. While in the military, Tracy was deployed twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom serving onboard the USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) in the Supply Corps. Having found her passion for Supply Chain early on, Tracy went on to work in the defense industry across the country for over a decade after her honorable discharge from the Navy before returning to Oceana County in 2016.

  • Bob Cramblit


    Bob is a graduate of Shelby High School who joined the military after completing his schooling. Bob Spent 4 years on active duty stationed on the USS Momsen and 4 years in the reserves with NMCB 26. Bob lives and works in Oceana County with his 2 children.

  • Ed Dodds


    Ed is a Senior Master Sargent, United States Air Force, (Ret.) who was born and raised in Hart. Graduating from Hart High School in 1982, Ed began a career in the USAF that would take him across the world including deployments to Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Columbia and Iraq. In addition to Ed’s deployments he served in humanitarian missions in response to hurricanes Hugo, Katrina, and Rita as well as responding to the Oklahoma City Bombings. Ed retired from the USAF with 26 years served and began a career with the National Park Service which would send him to the Gateway Arches National Park for 8 years and Indiana Dunes National Park for 3. Today, Ed resides in Hart after retiring from the National Park Service in 2020.

  • Kim Tate


    Kim is a US Marine Vietnam veteran and lifelong VFW and American Legion member. Kim is retired from the insurance industry after owning his own firm, West Michigan Insurance, for 35 years. Kim and his wife Julie have been married 46 years and have 2 grown daughters and great sons-in laws as well as 3 fabulous grandchildren.  Kim enjoys being outside and traveling.