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Arizona Veterans Services Department still open during shutdown

PHOENIX -- The federal government is shutdown, but it's business as usual at the Arizona Department of Veteran's Services.

Spokesman Dave Hampton says there will be a problem at the federal veteran's office at 5 p.m. this afternoon, however.

"Their regional office in Phoenix is going to be shutting their doors to the public," Hampton said.

That is going to affect Arizona's Veteran's Services Department.

"We have a number of veterans benefits counselors in the federal office," said Hampton. "What we're going to do is move those counselors to the Arizona State Veteran Home in Phoenix."

The counselors help veterans apply for federal benefits. Hampton says they'll be able to do their job despite being in temporary quarters.

"We have the computers, we have all of the technology, we can do everything we need to do in our temporary offices in the Veteran home in Phoenix, so that won't be a problem," Hampton said.

But things could get dicey later on.

"The problem is going to be down the road, if this continues for awhile with the feds, in that the VA may be shutting down more services as far as claims and benefits go," Hampton said.

Meanwhile, all Veterans Medical Centers are open and unaffected by the shutdown.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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