Field representative here to help veterans

ERIC WALKER/The Mayfield Messenger

New veterans benefit field representative Larrissa Roach stands near the Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic sign here in Mayfield. Roach is a Iraq veteran.

For local veterans with disability claims and their families, Larrissa Roach is here.

The new veterans benefit field representative with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs has set up shop at the VA Clinic in Mayfield, located at 1253 Paris Rd.

Roach's work is assisting veterans, surviving spouses and their children who are 23 years of age or younger with certain Veterans Affairs needs. She serves veterans in the Graves, Hickman, Fulton and Calloway county areas.

"If (a veterans was) injured and still having issues; if they broke their leg and have arthritis 50 years later, we're looking for a way to connect the two and show this arthritis came from a leg injury 50 years ago while they were serving in Vietnam," she said.

The process, Roach said, involves simply scheduling an appointment by contacting her at 270-705-6656 or via email at Larrissa.Roach@ky.gov.

"They'll tell me what they're having problems with and then I'll tell them what they need to bring to their appointment," she said. An appointment, she said, could last from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the issue.

If someone has utilized the VA Clinic for health care, medical documents will be available through the clinic. Roach said if someone who is filing a new claim has not used VA health care, that veteran would need to bring any medical records from outside providers as well as discharge papers (DD214) to show where they have been stationed.

"It's good to know if they say they were injured while in Iraq, I need a DD214 to show you were in Iraq," she said.

Roach added that her services are free.

"A lot of people don't know what we do. A lot of people go to lawyers and they'll do it for them and they'll charge them," she said. "I don't get paid anything but the state provides my funding, so it's free to them."

Originally from Carlisle County, Roach served in the Army National Guard of Paducah's 2113 Transportation Unit. She transferred to an engineer unit in Gulfport, Mississippi, and also served in Iraq for four months as a semi-truck driver.

Prior to accepting this role as field representative, she worked as a network director for a regional health coalition.

"So I'm able to understand some of the medical lingo," she said. "It makes it a lot easier for this job.

"It is very rewarding," Roach added.

Eric Walker is the sports editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.