Hargis named veterans service officer
Readers of the Sullivan Daily Times sports page should be familiar with the name of the newly hired Sullivan County Veterans Service Officer — Times sports editor B.J. Hargis.
The Sullivan County Commissioners tabbed Hargis during its Monday meeting to fill the vacancy left by Kevin Hinton, who announced his resignation during an Aug. 7 meeting.
“I think both candidates are well qualified,” Hinton, who helped the commissioners in their search to replace him, said when forwarding two individuals for consideration during Monday’s meeting.
On Thursday, Hinton noted six candidates applied for the position with the commissioners in executive session narrowing that to two for interviews prior to the final decision.
“I make a motion for B.J. Hargis,” commissioner Ray McCammon. “He’s local.”
Commissioner president Bob Davis seconded the motion, with commissioner John Waterman abstaining as he did not participate in the interviews.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the veterans of Sullivan County,” Hargis said after being informed of the hiring. “I look forward to the chance to learn and grow in the role of veterans service officer.
“I would like to thank the Sullivan County Commissioners and veterans service officer Kevin Hinton, who is leaving big shoes to fill.”
In August, an emotional Hinton notified the commissioners that he was leaving the position after nearly 10 years of service in the county due to taking a job with the state.
Hinton began his duties as Central West District Veterans Service Officer on Aug. 28. In that capacity, he travels 15 counties, including Sullivan, helping county veterans officers.
“My primary job is to help and train all new county service officers and help the other community service officers in doing community outreach,” Hinton said Thursday. “They expect me to be in my car every day.”
He noted that he believed both candidates considered during Monday’s meeting would have done a good job.
“Out of the six that applied, they had the strongest applications and resumes,” Hinton said. “They were the only two that supplied cover letters.”
Initially, he noted that he will continue to regularly be present in Sullivan County.
“I will be working fairly closely with him, providing training,” Hinton said, noting “a couple of other counties” including Morgan that are in the same situation with new service officers.
“I think he’ll do a good job, like I said in the meeting both candidates were excellent candidates,” he added.
Hargis served four years in the U.S. Air Force from 1976 to 1980, attaining a highest rank of Sergeant. He received a Commendation Medal and had top secret security clearance prior to being honorably discharged.
In a Sept. 21 column written by Hargis in the Times, he noted some new found skills in cutting through bureaucratic red tape to aid a fellow veteran — his father James Harold Hargis.
The column dealt with how Hargis worked with government officials to replace documentation through the National Personnel Records Center — that possibly were destroyed in a 1973 fire there — to prove that his father received a Purple Heart during his service in the Korean War.
Such proof enabled Hargis to get a bronze military placard for his father’s headstone at the West Newton Cemetery near Indianapolis.
Hargis currently plans to remain covering sports for the Times, with most games in the evening and not conflicting with his new position. He will begin in his position on Oct. 23.